Port Hardy council voted to cancel their Canada Day celebrations after receiving a letter from the Chamber of Commerce, halting the current event planning.
The decision comes after the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops residential school.
“Considering this tragic discovery we believe that holding the even is not appropriate or respectful,” wrote Elizabeth Aman-Hume, Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce executive director to Port Hardy Council. “For this reason, we are withdrawing from hosting and participating in the 2021 event.”
Aman-Hume continued to say the Chamber suggests the District of Port Hardy use the funds allocated towards Canada Day to support their local Indigenous community.
During a council meeting on June 8, Councillor Fred Robertson said making decisions like these is important for city councils and leadership groups across the country.
“What’s happened in Kamloops at the site of the residential school is the beginning of or the continuation of a very painful part of our history,” said Councillor Robertson.
“I think it’s important from groups like local councils like ours, leadership in communities to acknowledge what has happened and to look deeper into it. So that we can understand what happened.”
While some councillors were concerned that cancelling Canada Day meant they were ashamed to be Canadian, Robertson said cancelling the celebrations would be more about looking into the issues of the past.
“I was born and brought up in Canada and I’m happy and always will be a good Canadian,” said Robertson. “But let’s not forget that also within our country that some things have happened that are something that needs to have light shone on it.”
The Council also agreed to lower its Canadian flag to half-mast for one week beginning May 31, 2021.