Efforts to acknowledge the devastating impacts colonization has had on Indigenous peoples needs to happen, but not on Canada Day – that’s the consensus of Vernon council, which has agreed to maintain July 1 as a celebration.
Coun. Kelly Fehr had made a motion for the acknowledgement, but later rescinded it following a discussion on the topic.
”It is time for Vernon council and residents to explore new possibilities of celebrating events such as Canada Day…,” Fehr said. “If we do not acknowledge our past we will never move forward collectively. It’s a matter of acknowledging and being accountable.”
But several councillors said Canada Day is not the day to do it.
“It is not a time to dwell on our failures – we have another 364 days of the year to do that,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.
Victoria and other communities have opted to cancel Canada Day celebrations.
“To those city councils in B.C. who have chosen to cancel Canada Day this year, I say, shame on you,” Anderson stated.
Coun. Akbal Mund agreed that July 1 is not the time to mourn.
“The federal government needs to look at having a day of mourning, maybe in June. But Canada Day is not the day,” Mund said.
Part of a family who came to Canada to escape war, Coun. Kari Gares also acknowledged that Canada Day means something special to many who found freedom here.
Vernon council agreed to requesting that Canada Day events include land territory acknowledgement and an invitation for Indigenous representation.
Canada Day celebrations are planned for O’Keefe Ranch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but there will be no fireworks.
Activities are also wrapping up earlier than planned due to the heat wave.