Rain, royalty and reconciliation

Visitors to Parliament Hill waited for up to four hours.

BY WAYNE STETSKI

Visitors to Parliament Hill waited for up to four hours in sometimes torrential rain storms to be part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations July 1, 2017. For many people the main attractions were performances by Alessia Cara, Dean Brody (who is from Jaffray!), Bono and Edge, Gordon Lightfoot, Serena Ryder, Marie Mai, Walk Off the Earth, Cirque du Soleil, and many more. At times the flooded lawns reminded those of us with a rock and roll past of the mud scenes from Woodstock, but hey, we’re Canadian eh, so everyone stayed respectfully attired!

There is much to celebrate about Canada. We are a country that welcomes diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity. We are a country that encourages everyone to be who they are, so long as it doesn’t involve hate or oppression. We celebrate peace and yes, we are extremely polite and proud of it! You can make new friends standing in line for four hours and many people who were interviewed after the event talked about strengthening family bonds and meeting new people. That is so Canadian – making the best of every moment and looking for the up side of potentially trying times.

While there is much to celebrate there is much more work ahead of us in truly focussing on reconciliation with Indigenous people. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General David Johnston and even Prince Charles, who attended the opening ceremony with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, all spoke to the need for Canada to work towards building a new nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people in a true spirit of reconciliation.

When I started school I lived in Chesterfield Inlet located about 500 km north of Churchill on Hudson’s Bay. My older brother Greg and I attended the residential school – all of our classmates were Inuit. We got to go home every night to be with our mom and dad. My classmates only got to see their families at Christmas and in the summer time. Even as a young child I knew that not being able to go home to your family when you are five years old was wrong, the concept of residential schools was wrong. So I understood why a teepee was erected in protest on parliament hill for the Canada Day celebrations and I felt blessed when a First Nation’s woman walked directly past me burning sweet grass and sending some of the cleansing smoke in my direction waving an eagle feather.

On June 30 I attended a reception for 150 Youth from across Canada who were sponsored to come to Ottawa for a week to learn from one another, listen to motivational speakers and to be part of the Canada Day celebrations. What a delight it was to spend two hours talking with and encouraging these young leaders that they can make a difference in Canada’s future. It was an experience of a lifetime for them, culminating in being centre stage during the opening ceremonies, dancing, waving Canadian Flags and releasing coloured smoke bombs! We all need to encourage our youth to care about the kind of country we want to be in the future.

There is something unique about being in our nation’s capital for Canada Day celebrating July 1 with an estimated half a million Canadians, including constituents from Kootenay-Columbia. I hope you took the opportunity to participate in the 150th birthday celebrations this last weekend – there is much to be thankful for in being a Canadian and living in the best country in the world!

Just Posted

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Creston police kept busy with unwanted guest complaints

Creston RCMP responded to 59 calls for assistance

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Rural residents could face higher fire protection costs

Erickson and Arrow Creek property owners will pay more for fire protection

Brewery workers claim more job losses

Interior Brewery Workers Local 308 says that Labatt Breweries of Canada is manipulating data to justify the loss of jobs at Creston’s 50-year-old brewery.

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Most Read