Document of Learning #2

How Tina Fontaine’s murder sparked change for the country.

Thousands of people gather at Toronto Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto for the Justice for Tina rally. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

Tina Fontaine is among the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women that have affected Canada in a severely negative way over the years. She was only 15 years old when she was murdered on August 10th, 2014. This event, as well as many other similar cases, have changed Canada in a lot of ways. For one, it’s biggest impact was that on Canada’s social aspect within itself. On February 27th, 2016, thousand gathered in Toronto at the Justice for Tina rally to call for justice upon the Canadian government. It was a massive gathering with many passionate people participating. This social outcry sparked a political change within the Canadian Government as “her death was a key factor in convincing the Trudeau government to set up a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” (Poisson). This resulted in a social organization that started from a political change due to a social outcry. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) ( has aimed to shed light on, and give help to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, as well as the LGBTQ2S community. The MMIWG has also impacted the economy by requiring money from the federal government. So far, they have poured $53.8 million dollars into the program and will reevaluate its budget on November 1st, 2018. The total cost to run this program isn’t small, but is a worthy price to pay in the eyes of those at the rally in Toronto. This foundation and cause of the MMIWG links social, political and economical change all into one timeline. As for the environmental changes and impacts, this whole issue affects it very little. This is because when the social relly was first initiated, it was targeting social issues. These issues led to a political/social change that led to an economic change, however nothing was there to initiate an environmental change. If the initial social rally was targeted towards an environmental issue, then the political change would affect it. Likewise, if the social change had a required environmental change (such as that of creating a bridge or wall) then it would have also affected it. However, neither of these were the case so this issue only affected the social, political and economical change.

This trio of changes has worked towards creating a more coherent Canadian identity. When the Toronto rally first started, it brought together a group of people from many different backgrounds to fight for one cause. This one cause ultimately ended up as the MMIWG. The MMIWG is a federal program and would not be possible if Canada was in a postnational state. If Canada was truly a postnational state, there would be multiple programs that all do similar things to the MMIWG, albeit in slightly different ways, each of which catering to the needs of the different nations. However this is not the case, as we have one unified program that aims to help people from many different supposed “nations”. Because of this, these nations do not truly exist, and the fact that there is only one MMIWG proves that Canada is not yet a postnational state.

In my opinion, there is a great value to define a specific Canadian identity for all of us. In the event described above, it was only through a united Canada that the MMIWG was able to form and protect Canadians. If we had multiple nations, it would be harder for something like this to form due to not having one thing to stand behind. Currently, Canada is trending to a more postnational state as we accept more immigrants and develop more diversity, but this will only happen to a point. As this happens, Canada’s identity will trend to that of one diverse unified population rather than a lot of divided ones due to everyone accepting this change rather than dividing up because of it. This is clearly evident in a place like Gleneagle where there are people of all backgrounds, yet we are able to come together to form one broad identity. This identity of Canada is important as it retains a sense of patriotism in it’s citizens, keeping them invested in the government and its social, political, economical and environmental views. By keeping citizens invested, they are more aware of these issues and more likely to care.




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