Ian Mosby (2017) has written his essay “Canada 150 and the Truth about Reconciliation” as an appeal to the audience to start implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (RTC) Calls to Action today. The author argues that although everyone agrees that Canada’s residential school policies were genocidal, a lack of actions was taken to make amends to the Indigenous peoples. Mosby’s (2017) thesis is that Canada is only beginning to implement the recommendations of the TRC, and the residents must take action to hold the authorities and demand substantive changes outlined in the Calls to Action (p. 45). At the beginning of the essay, the author cites the first paragraph of the TRC, mentions genocide scholars, and sets rhetorical questions, thus creating interest in the topic.
The main point of the essay is that it is up to non-Indigenous citizens to establish new relationships with Indigenous citizens. The author also claims that although there is no doubt that Canadian residents experienced cultural genocide, Canadian history and politics should be reconsidered (Mosby, 2017, p. 43). One more important point of the essay is that the TRC is more about truth than reconciliation. Reconciliation can be achieved only when non-Indigenous people in Canada begin to work on the transformational changes within the country. Each of these points supports the author’s thesis, emphasizing the role of the target audience in these changes.
An appeal to ethos, pathos, and logos
The author uses different rhetorical strategies to support his argument. Mosby (2017) cites experts and authorities, such as genocide scholars Woolford and MacDonald and Minister Trudeau, to appeal to ethos and logos. He uses statistics to make his essay sound more credible and reasonable. Thus, he states that although Indigenous people make up only 3 percent of all Canadian adults, they “make up an astonishing 26 percent of all people in federal custody” (Mosby, 2017, p. 45). This statistic demonstrates that cultural discrimination still exists in the country. Moreover, the author quotes Trudeau’s promise to “fully implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to appeal to pathos (Mosby, 2017, p. 44). Here, he tries to demonstrate that he was “deeply moved,” believing that the Minister will do everything to fulfill these recommendations (Mosby, 2017, p. 44). An appeal to readers’ emotions is the story about a five-year-old child who died in a hospital while the governments argued about who should pay for his medical bills (p. 45). All these strategies help the author make his article credible and reasonable and appeal to the audience’s feelings.
Language and tone
The author uses conversational language and an invocatory tone in his essay. This style is appropriate because it attracts the readers and makes them comprehend the author’s perspective. For example, Mosby (2017) writes, “I mean political insofar as our nation has yet to come to terms with genocide” (p. 45). Here, he tries to explain his opinion about the subject. Various literary devices make the essay more vivid and expressive. Thus, the metaphor “like a new coat of paint on the old settler-colonial ship of state” helps readers understand Canada’s response to the TRC recommendations (Mosby, 2017, p. 45). It makes the text more evocative and understandable for the audience. Moreover, the author uses a dynamic and invocatory tone, calling the readers to action. Such a tone helps convey the author’s message and stimulates the audience to think about their role in Canada’s 150th-anniversary celebration. For example, Mosby (2017) writes, “Until we begin to take meaningful and concrete action in this direction, Canada doesn’t have much to celebrate” (p. 45). With these words, he invites the readers to act, making them feel that nothing will change until they move toward changes.
The concluding paragraphs of the essay reinforce the thesis and offer solutions to the analyzed problem. The author uses a direct quote from Dene scholar Glen Coulthard to summarize his main points, appealing to credibility. At the same time, he does not give any definite advice on what the citizens of Canada should do to change the situation in the country. In general, however, the author achieves his main purpose – a call for action. Thus, one can conclude that Mosby effectively used different rhetorical strategies that helped him appeal to the audience and support his claims.
Mosby, I. (2017). Canada 150 and the truth about reconciliation. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor, 23(7), 43-45.