Skip to content

Cancel Canada Day protest urged, but two Tri-City mayors disagree

Protest planned to cancel Canada Day in Port Coquitlam on July 1, but Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam mayors say ceremonies should go ahead and give residents a chance to reflect on abuses against Indigenous communities

Cancelling Canada Day doesn’t seem to be in the cards as several Tri-City communities have planned small events for July 1.

But one local group is organizing a protest in Port Coquitlam on July 1 at 2 p.m.

BLM Tri-Cities is providing more information about the locations upon request from interested participants.

"We will not celebrate stolen Indigenous land and stolen Indigenous lives," stated a post on the group's Facebook page, adding that "TriCities stand in solidarity on unceded land in Port Coquitlam and march to #CancelCanadaDay."

But two city mayors whose communities are going ahead with Canada Day events are urging everyone to “reflect” on what it means to be Canadian given the history of residential schools in the community.

“Instead of cancelling our ceremony, we are encouraging our residents to use this Canada Day to reflect and commit to reconciliation,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West.

Noting that Canada has “much work to do to address and repair the intergenerational trauma caused by the treatment of Indigenous peoples, including but not limited to, the residential school system,” West urged the federal government to implement the recommendations of the truth and reconciliation commission.

Meanwhile, Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart made a similar remark on social media in a post that also talked about Canada’s legacy of residential schools.

“The leadership at kʷikʷəƛ̓əm [Kwikwetlem First Nation] is participating in Coquitlam's Canada Day ceremonies, and they specifically didn't ask us to cancel those ceremonies. Out of respect for them, I will support the continuation of Coquitlam's Canada Day, though with modifications to demonstrate our respect, to expand our understanding, and to build toward reconciliation,” Stewart wrote.

kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Chief Ed Hall is also participating in PoCo’s Canada Day with recorded video that can be watched online on July 1.

PoCo is also providing Indigenous educational Resources, including resources from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and the history of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm.

BLM Tri-Cities has been involved in peaceful anti-racism protests since last summer.