Here are the results of our #Cancel Canada Day? poll
If you’re not feeling like celebrating very much this Canada Day weekend, you are not alone.
Last week we asked PeaceQuest readers this question: Should official Canada Day celebrations be cancelled this year in light of recent discoveries of unmarked Indigenous children’s graves? And now we are sharing the results.
As you may have noticed, this has been a pretty hot topic, recently. Pollsters have been asking the Canadian public the same question, but the results could not be more different. A Leger poll commissioned by the National Post found only 14% wanted to abolish Canada Day (an extreme response, to be sure, which may gave helped generate this response).
But for PeaceQuest supporters, 64% said yes, Canada Day celebrations should be cancelled this year. A large number of people, 28%, wanted to see the day go forward, and 8% were unsure. The informal poll was answered by 85 people.
Many people wrote an explanation for their vote, and you can read the comments below.
Q: Should official Canada Day celebrations be cancelled this year in light of recent discoveries of unmarked Indigenous children’s graves?
Yes – The current horrors must also be addressed: ongoing theft of Indigenous land, failure to recognize treaty rights, lack of basic services systemic racism in our institutions, mass incarceration, etc. etc. etc. Shining the light of blame/responsibility on the Pope is ridiculous, cynical, unconscionable. Action Now!!!!
Yes – If communities feel a need for a gathering, it should take place in collaboration with Indigenous communities with a focus on how Canadians can address Indigenous issues (eg. MMIWG, inequality in health care and education, etc.) to make Canada a country that we can proudly say supports our values.
Yes – If anything significant is to be made of this day, then ‘celebration’ is definitely the wrong attribute. There are likely to be thousands of additional unmarked graves yet to be uncovered, so many Canadians are only at the beginning stages of national grief over the evils committed during the residential schools era. Perhaps, for the next 100 years, it could be renamed our Day of Sorrow.
Yes – I would really rather see it changed from a celebration to an OBSERVANCE OF REGRET AND SOLIDARITY WITH FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE in their grief and pain.
Yes – No one should feel like celebrating. I would prefer to hear what actual measures the government is taking to address the systemic racism that persists in our country. This should be directly tied to indigenous leaders’ and groups’ calls for action.
Yes – “I would cancel the Canada Day Celebration and change it into a day of reflection culminating into a personal and official resolve (with concrete markers such as land back) to make reparation. This has at least two prongs:
-We, as settlers, as a country need healing from our sense of rightness, of superiority and acquire deep humility;
-We need to learn and learn to live the 7 Indigenous (Anishnawbe) grand-mother grand-father teachings of humility, respect, honesty, truth, courage, love and wisdom;
We can then ask permission to join with them to offer thanks and maybe ask for Indigenous guidance in using the Haudenosaune Thanksgiving or similar ceremonies depending on the territory we are living in.
Yes – Yes, out of respect for the children who died at residential schools, and their families. We can resume next year with special ceremonies for them. But the main reason to cancel this year is to limit the spread of covid. Many people are still vulnerable. If we do celebrate this year, we could honour them and make the commitment to eliminate the poor conditions in Native communities and educate everyone.
Yes – I believe that nationalism is a form of mental illness.
Yes – Liberal guilt is tiresome. This is systemic in origin, not personal.
Yes – No Celebration.Big Confession.Reconciliation.
Yes – Having spent many decades traveling around the world, I love and appreciate my country more vocally than anyone else I’ve ever met, but it is hard for me to celebrate how wonderful we are when the genocide we’ve been ignoring for a century is now in our faces. I have felt terrible shame each time the United Nations has castigated Canada as the worst industrialized country in the world for its treatment of its indigenous, and then more shame as successive governments have pretended not to hear. It will not hurt us in any way to take one day off from celebrating ourselves in order to be honest and acknowledge our awful actions. We need a South Africa style of reconciliation that takes years and involves everyone being heard and having a chance to face the rest of us. Maybe then I can stop crying every time I think about those we’ve hurt so badly.
Yes, out of respect for the children who died at residential schools, and their families. We can resume next year with special ceremonies for them.
Yes – It would be hypocritical to celebrate colonization of our Indigenous people.
Yes – It would be disrespectful to hold a party in the wake of the discovery of the graves of so many kidnapped aboriginal children. The grief of the families and communities who lost loved ones must be unbearable. Non-aboriginal Canadians are also grieving. We have nothing to celebrate. A day of reflection on how to make amends and find a path forward would be more appropriate.
Yes – Cindy Blackstock had an idea to use the day to find out more about the impacts of colonialism on indigenous people and think of ways we can implement recommendations from the TRC. I will also march with Algonquin people here in Ottawa that morning. This is a time for mourning and action in support of First Nations, Not a time to celebrate the disrespect for their rights and the plundering of their lands and water.
Yes – Until the First Nations give sanction to such an event I believe we must honour their wishes.
Yes – I think this is a day to pause and reflect as individual settler Canadians on the awful legacy we live with. Canadians could have engaged with the T&R reports or even attended the hearings. So the denial that Canadians did not know is hollow. Canadians chose not to know.
Yes – Canada Day should have been cancelled years before now and during 150 anniversary celebrations, there should have been recognition of the harm the founding of this country did to indigenous people. We absolutely should not have fireworks and parties on “Canada” Day.
Yes – “My soul is shattered by these discoveries. And the knowledge that are so many more graves to be found is ……
There is absolutely no way that Canada should be celebrated on the bodies of these stolen and murdered children. We do not celebrate Genocide. Or the Holocaust. That’s what the churches and British/Cdn govts perpetrated on the Indigenous population. I have no pride in being a Canadian anymore. “
Yes – “we all have a part to play in recognizing the atrocities inflicted on these innocent, young indigenous Canadian children. July 1st should be a day where we pay homage to those whose lives have been taken from them through our dispicable actions…whether we were personally involved or not.”
Yes – “Canada is still a great country. UNDRIP and the report of the TRC are being acted upon. We need to acknowledge our mistakes, but not make new ones by trying to unwind history.”
Yes – “By Not celebrating Canada Day we will be showing respect for all the little souls who were taken taken away in a cruel and untimely manner, by a colonial force who never had any Respect for Native Culture and Customs. Native History must be taught in Canadian schools from Kindergarten to Post Secondary level.”
Yes – Actually, the whole notion of ‘Canada Day’ should be carefully thought about and debated. Whose Canada Day is it? As a celebration of the act of confederation, it’s obvious that was engineered by politicians descended from settlers. ‘Discovery’ is an insult to the Indigenous peoples who were already here for thousands of years and whose land, culture and lives were confiscated, destroyed and murdered in a wholesale and ongoing genocide. The idea that settlers could better utilize the land and resources in North America than the ‘savages’, constituting the process of ‘civilization’, is only representative of white privilege which has proved to be a scourge around the world in every colonized area. It’s not a new historical tragedy, it’s the negative aspect of the human condition, which is to be in competition and conflict with others. Now that we are facing climate catastrophe which affects all of us, it is time for collaboration, not conflict. I don’t have any real hope of this in my lifetime, but I hope it comes to pass in the future.
Yes – i have never celebrated canada day by waving flags at parades, or picnicking, or any of the other things that “patriotic” canadians do. at a very young age, i became aware of the many things done by canada that were sickening and shameful. i’ve never understood flag culture. waving a piece of cloth that somehow says,” we are better than anyone else” always seems childishly boastful and divisive. instead of celebrating on canada day, we should have a day of quiet reflection on who we are as a collection of flawed human beings on a fragile, dying planet. we should understand how we got to this state of things, and how we can make things better. waving flags and shooting off fireworks that terrify animals is not going to help anything. 🕊
Yes – “Canada has much to celebrate, but it’s relationship with its indigenous people is not one of them. Acknowledging that fact this year, in this symbolic way, is appropriate.”
Yes – There is absolutely no way that we should be celebrating anything this July 1. Instead, we should take the day to reflect *and* to take action to advance reconciliation.
Yes – “Besides the evidence of the deadly consequences of this country’s settler colonialist project which is still ongoing, there are many other government actions that make be ashamed to call myself Canadian. Behind on climate change, buying fighter jets and war ships, Haïti, supporting apartheid and human rights violations in Israel…Let’s cancel Canada day and reflect on how we can di better. Invest in peacemaking perhaps?
Yes – I’m trading my red maple leaf T-shirt for my orange T. And cancelling Canada Day.
Yes – It is hard to be proud and joyous at this particular time in our history.
Yes – I have lived in Canada for over 40 years and have never celebrated Canada day. Until the long awaited time all my fellow Canadians are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve I will never celebrate July 1st. Things have to change quickly as I’m not going to be here on earth for much longer.
Yes – How can we celebrate Canada Day when we mourn for all the Indigenous children who died at Canada’s hands?
It is hard to be proud and joyous at this particular time in our history.
Yes – Time to contemplate. No celebration when 215 + 751 children lie in unmarked graves.
Yes – This is no time to celebrate, it’s a time to mourn. Cancelling Canada Day would be a gesture to show our sympathy and our outrage.
Yes – How can you celebrate in light of these discoveries. And the most our fearless leader can say is “I’m sorry”. If you were truly sorry you would have kept your campaign promises in regard to the indigenous communities. How many years now have their been communities without potable water? This is Canada, a rich country, lots of resources. There’s no excuse. And these discoveries are out and out genocide. Sure the Catholic church is complicit, but our government is involved too.
Yes – The racist crimes against our indigenous populations are on a par with the racist and nationalist crimes against other nations. Propaganda has been used to obscure the bitter truths behind colonialism, wars, resource extraction (theft), slavery, The lies inciting the world wars, the Korean war, and all the wars since, seem to be untouchable despite scholarly works written at the time and in the years since. The belief that old lies are irrelevant to the evaluation of the present, is both anti-intellectual, and irresponsible.
Yes – “You ask about Canada Day. For the last four years I have been making a donation to the Canadian Friends Service Committee Reconciliation Fund as my way of “”celebrating”” Canada Day.
Yes – I think we need to re-think how we mark Canada Day going forward, with a more critical eye and in a way that is self-reflective and nuanced
Yes – Perhaps next year it could be called First Nations Day with their permission and we could listen to their advice on moving ahead.
No – There’s still much to celebrate in Canada, despite our appalling colonial history, especially of residential schools. Gung-ho celebrations should be muted and replaced with encouragement to some reflection and recognition of the mixed bag that is any country’s history. At present, deaths in residential schools are, rightly, top-of-mind but we could also consider why we still supply arms to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, or why we don’t move much faster to combat climate change.
No – Uncovering and commemorating the deaths of children at or near residential schools (predicted in the TRC Report) is a worthy task but this necessary process should not undermine celebration of the positive aspects of the country.
No – “Of course we aren’t perfect – no one is – and we have a lot of work to do. But I refuse to give up on Canada. Let’s use the day to note the steps we have been taking towards Truth and Reconciliation and pledge to do better, all of us. It can also be a day of taking responsibility – not blaming everything on our parents, or long-dead statespersons, or the churches. Then the task is to remember the dead, but walk and work with the living.
No – Despite the dark spots in our nation’s history there have been some remarkable and laudable achievements in Canada’s development. To dwell only on the imperfections in our human behavior is invite collective depression and despair. Ultimately it serves no one well. An optimist approach to a better future is preferable.
No – Chief Cadmus Delorme profoundly stated that we all have inherited our past, not created it. But, we all have the duty and ability to correct past wrongs by working together as we should have done in the beginning. A reconciled future should be celebrated.
Despite the dark spots in our nation’s history there have been some remarkable and laudable achievements in Canada’s development
No – Greetings! An important poll on peacequest.ca! I think we should celebrate Canada Day modestly, I personally strive to show strength in times of struggle, I separate racist beliefs and war from the celebration of Canada Day. Because racism and war are what the residential “school” system represents to me,
No – The celebrations should acknowledge that this country is and has been far from perfect,and that we need to atone as much as possible for past failures.
No – Official Canada celebrations should include recognition of the white supremacy and genocide that have permeated Canadian history. Native people should be involved in this. To just ignore it cancel celebrations smacks of just sweeping it under the rug.
No – I would like to know how aboriginal communities feel about this. One aboriginal person on CBC radio was quoted as saying that she was still proud of our country and preferred that it not be cancelled.
No – “While being horrified about the past and awful recent discoveries, we must avoid white self-hatred. We must celebrate what is good about Canada and there are so many very good things for which most of us feel grateful.
This past year and 4 months have been difficult for everyone. Celebration brings joy. Togetherness is overdue. Let’s allow happiness amidst the sadness. Life is complex. We can allow for both.
Official Canada celebrations should include recognition of the white supremacy and genocide that have permeated Canadian history.
No – “Cancelling official Canada Day celebrations will contribute nothing positive or constructive to the unending work of becoming a good society, a better society.
In some communities though, people just won’t be in the mood to plan and carry out celebrations. In other communities, people who are angry at Canada will call for cancellation as an expression of their anger. I think federal, provincial and municipal governments will need to be responsive to the needs and preferences of their constituents, not be intimidated by the loudest voices, and decide what is best. If I were involved, I would expect the celebrations to be somewhat subdued this year, because most people are feeling shocked and saddened at this moment. I would include a moment of silence for the missing children, and a group reflection activity that honours the positive contribution of Indigenous people to Canada. “
No – I don’t believe any Canadian today would have allowed such evil to continue. I don’t think we as Canadians can take direct responsibility for it. Even in my parents’ day, there would be no support for this egregious and deadly activity. Let us use this historical event to learn about racism and how good intentions can lead straight to H***!
We cannot love others until we love ourselves. We should show the kind of affection for Canada that we would show a friend or relative who has made mistakes, accept the mistakes, do as much as we can about them, and believe that they will not be repeated. “
No – “Canada Day may be a day of pain for many people this year, but cancelling the celebration might just tempt them to bury the pain. And pain buried without being processed does not lead to healing.
I’d suggest that Canada Day celebrations become more inclusive this year; we need to remember the good things about Canada, without bragging about how great we are; we also need to remember the wickedness Canada and Canadians have wrought on the Indigenous and other people in our world and in our country. We need to be aware of our own racism, and speak about that problem in our country.
Include the brown and the black Canadians and the Muslims and other non-Christian peoples in some meaningful way in our Canada Day celebrations to make it celebratory for all Canadians, not just the whites.
No – Official Canada Day should be turned into a day given over entirely to Indigenous People to observe in whatever way they wish to do so.
No – I do not believe Canada Day should be ignored, that is, cancelled. All Canadians, including Native Peoples, Inuit and Metis have some reason or other for celebrating this great country, if only that it is still quite a decent place to live on this planet. Instead of cancelling Canada Day, it would be better spent everywhere mourning the loss caused by Residential Schools, lost or murdered Native women, unjust treatment of minorities (hopefully all evils of the past) all the while remembering our worth today and how every one of us can do her or his part to make Canada an even better place!
No – The news is horrendous and is being recognized and treated as such. Will the examination of the historical record include situating decisions and actions/inactions of the past in the reasoning then prevalent, also taking into account communication, transportation as well as geographical and medical realities in order to give a complete picture; or will it be limited to an examination of these matters through a modern — and one would like to think — better-informed lens?
Canada Day activities should provide the opportunity to explore Canada’s successes and deficiencies in advancing the human condition.
No – Instead of cancelling Canada Day, we should make it a “Day of Reflection” and a “Day to raise Awareness” a Day to let the people know what was done to the Hosts of this land. How it was invaded and how they were made out as savages and how in the name of The LORD they were tortured and discriminated till THIS DAY. Cancelling is not enough
No – “there are other ways to show our support, our horror about the discovery of the children’s bodies, and our compassion for the indigenous people.
Unsure – “We always knew about the children, but we are also, to this day, adamantly ignoring missing and murdered native boys and men, who are twice an numerous as the girls and women we hear about frequently.
Unsure – Maybe instead of canceling we should make sure that any official ceremony recognize the indigenous people Maybe even 2 minutes of silence
Unsure – My son who lives in the Yukon where more than half the population is Northern Tchochone and who has helped organizing Canada day celebrations in the past was agonizing over this question. People were looking forward to a party after the long separation through the pandemic. A gathering is important and leave it open to retelling the history with an orange maple leaf.
Unsure – “The public should be made aware of the atrocities committed by the unholy alliance of churches and state. To date the government and churches involved have only produced some half-hearted attempts to make the population believe it was all just a big mistake, instead of the genocide, designed to eliminate aboriginal cultures. Meaningless apologies are only adding insult to injury.
Unsure – Let Mr Trudeau figure this one out!
Unsure – While Canada definitely has some things to celebrate I am not in a celebratory mood and if I were Indigenous I am not sure I could bring myself to celebrate much about Canadian history or institutions. However, I remain unsure about whether the celebrations need be cancelled.
Unsure – Canada Day should be focussed on mourning the children and facing up to our past. Then we should begin the reforms needed to make reparations.