Victoria cancels Canada Day celebrations as Mayor says they would be damaging to reconciliation efforts
British Columbia’s capital city has cancelled Canada Day celebrations after the Mayor and council concluded marking the day would be damaging to Victoria’s efforts at reconciliation.
Mayor Lisa Helps presented city council with a motion earlier this week noting that longstanding Lekwungen participants had said they would not take part as usual after the announcement by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. The chiefs of the Songhees and Esquimalt supported that direction, she said.
“The history of our country’s genocidal relationship with First Nations has been once again revealed in a way that is painful for the Lekwungen people as well as First Nations across the country,” the mayor wrote in the motion presented to council…
“The more we reflect, the more we understand that holding the usual Canada Day celebrations could be damaging to the city’s and the community’s reconciliation efforts,” Mayor Helps wrote in the motion.
Instead, councillors voted to produce an hour-long broadcast that would be an educational tool to share the Indigenous history and stories from Victoria area along with the history of residential schools and of Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald.