We've all seen the posts online about the frustration of many Americans with the presidential election and the plans to move to Canada if a certain angry Republican wins the election. Canada, the true North strong and free, really is a great place (that may be biased, coming from a Canadian) with universal health care, reduced street and public violence due to stricter gun laws, and a rad new Prime Minister pushing for reforms to support people of colour and making sure that gender equality, the LGBTQ+ community, and religious discrimination are being taken seriously.
But it isn't all sunshine and pride rainbows in Canada either. In a national study done in 2009 by the University of Winnipeg, almost two-thirds of LGBTQ+ students felt that school was an unsafe space due to their sexual orientation. Although an increasing number of schools now have Gay-Straight Alliances and various other support networks that are reducing the homophobia that used to thrive in high schools, homophobic and transphobic phrases still circulate the halls every day.
In Canadian jails, there is a staggering overrepresentation of aboriginal peoples and blacks, not so different from that seen in blacks in American jails. In Ontario, aboriginal boys make about 2.9% of the young male population yet they make up nearly 15% of young male admissions to jail. For aboriginal girls, their population is overrepresented by a factor of 10. Black boys see overrepresentation by a factor of four. And interestingly enough, since the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003, there has been a decline in youth incarceration rates. However, that statistic seems to be largely enjoyed by white youth and doesn't seem to have affected black and aboriginal youth.
And Canada's oldest problem still persists stronger than ever today. Canada's indigenous populations still suffer from gross mistreatment from the government. A study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that aboriginal children are twice as likely to live in poverty than non-aboriginal children. Conditions on reserves are awful with constant infrastructure crises and serious overcrowding. The quality of life on reserves parallels that of many developing countries, despite Canada's access to plentiful resources and a high average HDI for non-reserve life.