Schools in Ontario are burning or destroying books deemed offensive to First Nations, and Justin Trudeau has refused to condemn the actions.
The book burning, labelled an act of “flame purification”, was first undertaken in 2019 by the Providence Catholic School Board, a French-language school board in southwestern Ontario that manages 23 primary schools and seven secondary schools.
The first incident saw books ceremonially burned, with the ashes then used as fertilizer to plant a tree. Other burnings were planned but halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Suzy Kies, who is co-chair of the Liberal Party’s Aboriginal Commission, defended the burning of the books:
“People panic over burning books, but we are talking about millions of books that have negative images of Indigenous people, that perpetuate stereotypes, that are really damaging and dangerous.”
BOOK BURNING was “led by the co-chair of the Indigenous peoples' commission of the #LiberalParty of Canada.”
— Mark Towhey (@towhey) September 12, 2021
When asked to give an opinion about the book burning ceremonies, which were common practice in the 20th century by totalitarian regimes, Trudeau commented:
“It is not for non-Indigenous people to tell Indigenous people how they should feel or act to advance reconciliation”.
Trudeau relayed a similar message over the summer as dozens of Canadian churches were vandalised or set on fire in reaction to the discovery of unmarked graves in Canadian residential schools.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was less ambiguous in his comments, saying: “A Conservative government will be committed to reconciliation. But the road to reconciliation does not mean tearing down Canada. I strongly condemn the burning of books.”
It is remarkable how Trudeau proudly flies the flag of liberalism, yet supports the most un-liberal ideas and acts.
Book burning was common-place with regimes such as the Nazis, the Russian communists and the Italian fascists in World War II, and has absolutely no place in Canada today.
The fact that Trudeau refuses to condemn these actions shows that he either has no spine, or no understanding of how book burning leads to the slippery slope of authoritarianism like we saw in the 20th century.
It is crucial that we work with Indigenous communities across Canada to rectify the wrongs of the past, but book burning by school boards is certainly not the way to do this. It does nothing except to indoctrinate Canadian children into practices that generate hate and disrespect for democratic values.
(Photo credit: The Post Millennial)