Several N.B. communities cancel Canada Day festivities, opting for a 'quiet day of reflection'
HALIFAX -- On Monday, the village of Cap-Pelé said it was cancelling its Canada Day festivities, acknowledging the need to “pause, educate ourselves and reflect on darker times in the history of our country.”
The village of New Maryland, N.B. decided to do the same on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Bathurst, Saint John, Fredericton and Rogersville followed.
In a statement, Fredericton’s mayor Kate Rogers said, “We are having to confront some very dark moments in Canadians history.”
“Although there is much that we can take pride in as a Canadian, a quiet time of reflection is exactly what is needed this Canada Day to pause, acknowledge our past and think about what it really means to be a Canadian and an ally to Indigenous peoples,” she said.
Fredericton will be lighting up its city hall in orange in the days before July 1.
“There’s nothing to celebrate, I can tell you,” said St. Mary's First Nation Chief Allan Polchies.
The Wolastoqey Nation will be holding a healing ceremony on July 1, calling it “Resiliency Day.” They’re inviting all allies to join that morning at St. Anne’s Point.
It’s a plan that came together just as the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near a former residential school in Saskatchewan came to light.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we hold the government responsible for their failed policies that failed our children,” Chief Polchies said. “It’s very, very sad that we have to wake up to news like this coming out of Saskatchewan. It just makes my heartbreak that we have to continue to mourn and go through the trauma that we do on a daily basis.”
In Saint John, flags will be lowered on June 25.
The mayor of New Maryland said cancelling celebrations was the right decision.
“We realize this is very challenging times, it’s a challenging time in history,” said Judy Wilson-Shee. “I’m proud of that decision and I stand by it 100 per cent.”
Halifax Regional Municipality said it didn’t have Canada Day festivities planned because of the pandemic.
Other communities tell CTV Atlantic they are still finalizing plans, but it won’t be business as usual.