Cancel Canada Day
On Thursday, May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found buried in an unmarked mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School. Following this announcement, and subsequent announcements of unmarked mass graves of Indigenous children, multiple municipalities across Canada have announced the cancellation of Canada Day events. This includes at least 14 municipalities in 6 provinces and territories.
This decision has been made out of respect for Indigenous families and communities who have had loved ones stolen from them as well as survivors of these ‘schools.’ It has also been made in recognition of the historic and ongoing colonial violence and injustices enacted against Indigenous peoples by the Canadian state.
Barrie City Council should follow the lead of other municipalities by doing the same: cancelling plans, and working with local nations and peoples to find alternatives this year and in years to come.
To that effect, Council should pass the following motion, similar to one passed in Victoria, British Columbia:
That Council direct staff to put on hold any announced plans for Canada Day 2021 and do nothing further with respect to July 1st events this year; and
That the City work with partners as Beausoleil First Nation, Rama First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation, and other local First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and organizations to explore and implement alternatives to the July 1st ‘celebrations’ to be held virtually and/or in-person, as public health measures allow, by September 30 (Orange Shirt Day); and
That the City engage in ongoing work with these nations, communities, and organizations to explore and implement alternatives on an annual basis, including but not limited to: local oral histories and cultural celebrations; the history of Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and Millennial Scoop; and any other alternatives recommended.
This is by no means the end of the work that must be done, the truths that must be learned, understood, and shared. It is, however, a start.
As previously outlined, this suggestion has remained classified as Under Review due to the referral of the June 28 memo for discussion at the August 9 General Committee meeting.
At the August 9 City Council meeting, the following motion passed:
1. That staff in the Recreation and Culture Services Department be directed to engage on an annual basis with partners such as Beausoleil First Nation, Rama First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation, and other local First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and organizations, including the Barrie Native Friendship Centre and Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle, to explore and implement July 1st activities that include local oral histories, cultural celebrations and any other educational elements as recommended by the Indigenous community.
2. That the General Manager of Community and Corporate Services and staff in the Human Resources Department engage with local Indigenous Nations, peoples, and organizations on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action that fall under Municipal responsibility, namely Calls to Action #43, #47, and #57, and report back to General Committee by the end of 2021.
3. That staff in the Recreation and Culture Services Department be requested to ask the Downtown Barrie Business Improvement Association (BIA) to include indigenous history and acknowledgement education for future Canada Day applications for funding.
Because this suggestion has been adopted in some capacity, as outlined within the suggestion details, the status of this suggestion has been updated to Completed. Full information about the meaning of forum statuses: http://bit.ly/1Qg9qm8
• Council & Committees: https://www.barrie.ca/committees
• Communicating with Council: https://www.barrie.ca/CommunicatingWithCouncil
• Legislative Information Portal: https://barrie.legistar.com
29 commentsComments are closed
Lindsay Godon commented
People whining about the possibility of Canada Day celebrations being cancelled this year to honour the indigenous children being found in mass graves across this country. Before you scream cancel culture, and throw a hissy fit, remember this, the country you love and want to celebrate was the originator of the cancel culture. Your country tried to erase and cancel an entire culture by targeting children, right here in your own back yard. Before I ever celebrate this country again, the government along with the Catholic church, better do the right thing and admit to this atrocity and acknowledge it for what it is, a genocide!
Wayne Halyn commented
A wider, more all-encompassing perspective should be kept during this tumultuous time... it's the only way to keep balance and things from going seriously off the rails and as unbalanced as the US is currently suffering.
For instance, if you photographically zoom in tightly on a dying tree somewhere, you see a sick tree, and you might assume there is carnage everywhere. However, if you zoom way, way out, from a perspective high in the air, you see an entire forest, thriving... even though there may be a few dead trees and problems littered at intervals throughout.
I fully support cancelling a celebration of Canada Day right now, in these circumstances, given the ugly news that is erupting lately over the horrid conditions so many innocent lives were lost under, and only recently begun to be discovered.
But Canada, like a forest, is massive... it has heroes and villains, it has people striving to restore true equality and a few who are not.
It has geniuses inventing life-saving devices for hospitals, and has idiots who drive drunk and kill people.
It has entertainers who brighten peoples' days with their skills, and thieves who will take your property in a moment's opportunity.
We have emergency-care and frontline workers straining to exhaustion to deal with Covid, and we have fools who refuse to wear a mask in enclosed buildings where viruses can circulate continuously.
We have truck drivers working full time to bring the hard-working farmers' produce to market to make food available to all, and we have homeless people struggling to find a way back to some sort of safe lifestyle.
And so on and on and on...... step outside, and look around you. Every single person you see is playing SOME part of the massive story that makes up the fabric of Canada.... mostly GOOD people, who strive, day to day, to create a livable, just and fair country that millions elsewhere envy.
And you also have the minority, the bad or outright evil who are out to only take from others as much as they can, without remorse. Fortunately, they are in the small minority; else, the nation would collapse in on itself from corruption, greed and obscene crime.
So... keep balance.
Balance allows you to walk upright.
Balance is the mantra of justice.
And we must keep balance in our minds, to avoid getting thrown into mental states of endless, lingering despair. Or worse, hate.
Recognize and acknowledge that a very small part of Canada was involved in a very massive crime and cover-up, and set retribution accordingly and everyone work to ensure this kind of horror never, EVER happens again. Do what is necessary to get this fixed.
Ignore the detractors and those who have a vested interest in suppressing the original crimes and the reparations necessary to move forward with healing.
Drop the "celebrations" for this year to make a point.
Ensure that EVERYTHING related to these incidents makes it into the news and overall education of the social fabric.
Make everyone aware of how easily such horrors can happen and ensure awareness is in place to recognize and prevent any future occurrences.
And gently, carefully, look outward to all the good people who ARE concerned, those who care, those working to make things better across the nation, and become aware of the balance, of the necessity of keeping aware of ALL the good promoted and the bad arrested.
Like simply walking, if we lose balance, we fall. We fall victim to hateful thinking, we fall victim to despair and angst, and we fall from our moral awareness.
Please... keep balance.
Wayne Halyn commented
The original fault appears to be tied to, once again, religion and its horrendous stranglehold on rational thought. Once people start down paths of magical thinking and believing in invisible beings controlling their lives, you can manipulate them however you like.
This is a trait that those "Christian" schools used to train and terrify helpless young children.
And those children not strong enough to resist or survive the mind-altering brainwashing techniques, as well as the appalling and sometimes concentration-camp-like living conditions, simply died and were disposed of with less care and consideration than someone's pet...... thrown into unmarked graves, like garbage, in the dead of night, buried, and left with no record that they ever existed, save for their families' memories of them.
What sick, twisted "religious behaviour" brings this kind of distorted horrors into innocent peoples' lives? Though the original perpetrators are long dead, their organizations (and their culture, lifestyles, "teachings" and behaviours) still exist and continue to be promoted.
Even as they continue to try and erase the cultures and lifestyles of the people they so monstrously suppressed.
It is sickening. Sickening to listen to them present themselves as virtuous models of how to live, while the ugly, sordid, bitter and crushing effects are still present today across our nation.
Gail Winter commented
Why blame all of Canada for the horrible acts of the Catholic Priests in charge of those schools. They are the ones who killed these students. There have been many horrible people/events etc., over the past years and we haven't (and shouldn't) blame ALL OF CANADA for those events.
I will celebrate Canada Day.
brian fraser commented
I personally can only echo the intelligent , thoughtful comments of those already signing here. I will not be celebrating any patriotism nor flying the Canadian Flag. We must look to the Aboriginal societies for guidance and reflection.
Stolen land. Stolen children. Genocide. Missing and murdered indigenous women. Indigenous communities without water. THIS is Canada.
Anyone suggesting that this is part of the past has more learning to do.
Anyone indignant about having the right to celebrate and have fireworks during this mourning period lacks empathy and respect. Colonialism/Nationalism is alive and well and serves to harm.
I will not celebrate Canada Day.
Lexi Gillespie commented
I really need people like Samaroo Family and Paul Dixon to educate themselves. This isn't just something that happened "a long time ago". The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996!
The Indigenous peoples of this land are STILL being harmed in a very real way. The government, the church, the RCMP, they're all responsible for forcibly snuffing out our lives and our culture and allow the land to be destroyed. It's not "just" residential schools, it's the 60's scoop, it's MMIWG, it's the unclean drinking water and lack of support for Indigenous communities, it's disproportionate representation in prisons and children forced into foster care (where CHILDREN as young as TEN are forced to have IUDs inserted into them to prevent pregnancy instead of, you know, stopping the abusers), it's the stolen land and building oil pipelines and mines, and more. This is an ongoing systemic issue, it started from the moment we were colonized and it continues today.
Also, no one is trying to "punish" Canadians. It's about respecting the people of this land and not pushing further into our faces "hey, it's ours now, and we're going to celebrate on top of your bodies" while we're mourning what we've lost, what we've known we have lost and what people have denied.
I fully support the suggestion of cancelling Canada Day.
Megan Pottage commented
Day of mourning. No fireworks
Samaroo Family commented
The Canadian People and Canada Today as a whole should not be punished for the actions of evil people in the past. I'm proud to be Canadian and happy to celebrate it. Canada Day is a needed boost as well for businesses. Do you want to **** people off or do you want to help in positive ways? You start denying people Canada Day and start bashing Canada as a Country you're just asking for a negative response.
DO NOT BLAME CANADA !! Take positive steps to educate on the past, work with government to help, not just by throwing cash at the problem.
Bring awareness, but not in a way to anger people of today. Do it somehow in a positive manner.
Edward Moll commented
Our country was formed on the bodies bones and blood of indigenous children.
I refuse to celebrate this.
Alina Akiba commented
I fully support this suggestion. Celebrating Canada Day has made me feel uncomfortable for the last several years as I try my best to stand in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. This is something concrete that could be done to make reparations, bring greater awareness and get us closer to reconciliation.
Christy Skelly commented
The date we have celebrated Canada in the past could become the Day of Mutual Learning. It would be a dedicated 24 hrs where our focus is on educating ourselves (the Settlers) on the life of the Indigenous before we arrived, the effects of our oblivious take over had during that time and how our actions continue to destroy innocent people. We can't change the past but is our responsibility to learn how we hurt, why we hurt and to change our thoughts / behaviours.
I believe the greatest show of respect and solidarity would be to do without any form of celebration this Canada Day and, in its place, I would welcome the opportunity to come together respectfully in any arranged gathering that our Indigenous brothers and sisters deem fitting.
Paul Dixon commented
I am very sad that indigenous children have been found in unmarked graves. We need to grieve with the indigenous people of Canada.
But to cancel Canada day would be in appropriate. Canada day celebrates Canada. All canadians will celebrate our country.
All countries have something bad in it's history, this is one of Canada's.
So let's remember this sad past and while celebrating Canada have a time to remember and reflect, with the Canadian Flag at half mast.
Pray for the lost indigenous children.
Let this never be repeated.
Marianne De Bretan-Berg commented
I used to be a proud Canadian. Today I am embarrassed that this genocide was on-going, even up to 1996!
I implore Barrie council to cancel any Canada Day celebrations as a show of respect for all those indigenous people who knew this was going on and who lived it!
Sharron Carson commented
It would be offensive and beyond insensitive to celebrate Canada Day this year. Celebrations should be cancelled!
Jennifer Ayliffe commented
It should be cancelled this year for sure!
Dorothy Mckeown commented
A candlelight (or smartphone flashlight) vigil I meant, as lighting the way home or to the spirit world of the children lost at the residential schools..
Dorothy Mckeown commented
This year a candlelight (or smartphone flashlight) vigil along the waterfront instead of celebratory fireworks. Kids events still though, they need some fun.
In future I think a June 21st Harvest celebration would be more appropriate, with indegenous activities, and thanksgivings from us settlers, for educating and feeding us in past harvests..