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Coming clean about the crimes of colonialism, at home and abroad

When we look at wars and poverty in the world, we need to remember that the wounds of colonialism are hindering the growth and advancement of humanity. If we can demonstrate that healing is possible, we establish a powerful precedent, a protocol that can promote global peace and development.

In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada for the crimes committed in the residential schools. In 2015, a government-appointed Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared that this was indeed cultural genocide. There is no more denial. There is no more whitewashing of history.

Since 2008, we have established educational programs which teach our children the truth. We are now seeing these efforts begin to bear fruit. Aboriginal graduation rates, for example, are on the rise in many school districts.

We still have a long way to go. There is still tremendous disparity in Canada.

When we are truly honest with ourselves, we can find ways to heal our society. This is the lesson that we must live, and this is the lesson that we must share on a global level.

If we want to see world peace, if we want to see the end of conflict and the beginning of prosperity in war-torn countries, we need to be honest regarding the crimes of colonialism. We need to speak the truth, and we need to make reparations.

By healing Canada we demonstrate that progress is possible. Others can then adapt and improve what we have done to fit their own cultural contexts. In doing so, we not only make our country better, we bring lasting peace to the world.

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