Happy July Long Weekend Canada!
Whether in Canada or the US, this weekend is all about celebrating. And politics aside, there are many reasons to celebrate. Besides the fireworks, this weekend is also a time for reflection.
I have been doing some research and want to share where we Canadians are these days. For my American readers, the statistics here are not dissimilar to yours. In the main, both of our countries are tracking similarly. Interestingly, much of these statistics show up in Europe as well.
The statistics part
50.36% of the country is female; 49.34% is male. (The .3% difference is non-binary.) About 97% of us fall in the heterosexual category. And 3% don’t. (Forgive me for not using the usual long alphabet string.)
In the 50.36% category of women, 25% are of Chinese descent, and 25% are of Asian descent.
Just one-third of Canada’s population is white and male.
84% of the population is defined as ‘able-bodied.’ In the disabled strata of 16%, the most common disability is pain.
About 80% of us are neurotypical, and 15 to 20% are neurodiverse. Autism affects less than 1%.
In the middle of the pandemic, at least 20% of us were diagnosed and living with depression. Another 20% had been diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
73% of the country’s population is of European descent, 18% Asian, 5% indigenous, and 1% African.
While 63% of Canadians are Christian, Catholics comprise just 38% of the population.
58% of Canadians are native English speakers, yet less than 21% are native French speakers. However, 86% of all Canadians can conduct a conversation in English. The 20% of the population that speaks other languages is comprised (in descending order) of Mandarin and Cantonese, Punjabi and Tagalog. And then Spanish, Arabic, Italian, German, and Urdu.
Very few majorities exist anymore in Canada. We can say that women outnumber men; most of us can speak some level of English and a considerable contingent of us are able-bodied and neurotypical. There is a declining number of Christians and a shrinking majority of Europeans. And it seems conceivable that right now, as we get back to some kind of new normal post-pandemic, more of us are anxious and depressed.
Here is the most important takeaway from all this data. Regardless of where we sit in any of the rest of the categories, absolutely none of us is with a majority position. None of us are part of the 50% plus one anymore. Our country is a nation of competing minorities.
The country we were born into or adopted as our own has drastically changed. And it will continue to do so. While most of us never had a say in the changes, in the main, I believe we have learned to adapt pretty well.
These days, there is a lot of talk about how we Canadians can remain competitive, successful, prosperous, and abundant.
Here’s a thought
When the world we live in is made up of so many minorities, doesn’t it make sense that our business leaders and board members represent what our society looks like? When so many minority pieces are vying for attention and acceptance, isn’t it time we recognize that maybe, just maybe, we stop demanding they conform and acknowledge and include them? With so many different voices now vying for a piece of the action, isn’t it finally the right time to listen?
I say this because the first battlefield was one based on gender. And despite more than 100 years of fighting, we women aren’t even close to winning that war. (Yeah, women still make less than the guys, get hassled and harassed even in the boardroom, and still have to fight for equivalency against a shrinking white male metric.) The latest statistics say it will take a further nearly 300 years for women to reach that goal of parity!
Frankly, such gloom does not bode well for the other minority groups to gain equity and traction. And speaking of those other minority groups, here’s an exciting thing. I don’t see a lot of ‘we want special this and that because we are special.’ Instead, I see a lot of, ‘we too are worthy of respect.’ And honestly, can anyone disagree that a human being is NOT worthy of respect?
I think it’s time for a relook and reboot for Canada. Let’s redefine the scales of ‘worthiness of respect.’ And have constructive discussions around the reasons why not. Because those discussions will be much shorter and WILL give rise to way more action. After all, when we know and understand why NOT, it is much easier to articulate the way forward with why FOR.
I do not have all the answers. What I do know is our systems have been broken my entire life. It’s time to come up with something better. And better means as much about fairness for the whole person as it does adequately represent our society. Nobody is special. Everyone is unique. Let’s celebrate BOTH the uniqueness and differences we all have and make this next twelve months a time for positive change.
Canada is something like 155 years young this weekend. So here’s to setting the stage right for another 155.