Port McNeill’s Canada Day plans have been cancelled almost as quickly as they were made.
Town council for the North Island communnity had originally voted 3-2 at a June 22 meeting in favour of holding a community barbecue on July 1 to celebrate Canada Day (Ann-Marie Baron, Ryan Mitchell and Shelley Downey were in favour, Derek Koel and Gaby Wickstrom were against it), but after receiving massive backlash on social media over the decision, it was quickly reversed Friday afternoon (June 25).
“On behalf of the Town of Port McNeill we would like to apologize for the pain our original decision caused,” said a statement from mayor and council that was sent to the media. “We hope this gesture shows we have heard your voices, that we stand with you in your grief and are sincerely wanting to work together towards reconciliation. We are deeply sorry to those who were offended by our actions.”
Port McNeill now joins Port Hardy, Port Alice, Alert Bay and Sointula in deciding to cancel Canada Day celebrations in the wake of mass unmarked graves being found at former residential schools across Canada.
The B.C. Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available at 1-800-588-8717 or at kuu-uscrisisline.com.