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Vancouver mayor Ken SimCBC News / YouTube

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (LifeSiteNews) — After Calgary canceled and then reinstated its Canada Day celebrations following public backlash, Vancouver has now announced it is canceling its annual city-wide firework show to celebrate the nation’s founding, crediting their decision to “tragic findings at residential schools.” 

As cities across the nation prepare to celebrate Canada Day, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is determined to permanently cancel the annual firework show that historically marked the national holiday, reported Global News. 

“We also decided last year to take our July 1 event at Canada Place in a new direction, following national conversations about how to best celebrate Canada Day in light of the tragic findings at residential schools,” reported Port of Vancouver spokesman Alex Munro.

“The event was re-named Canada Together and has been planned collaboratively with representatives from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations under the theme of ‘weaving together the fabric of a nation,'” he continued.  

Vancouver is not alone in cancelling Canada Day celebrations. Last week, Calgary announced it planned to cancel the city’s annual firework show as well.  

“We’re always trying to change the show, improve the show so that it’s more reflective and inclusive of Calgarians,” said Ben Brackett, team lead for festival and event planning at the City of Calgary. 

However, Canadians are resisting the push to cancel their national holiday celebrations. In Calgary, the city was forced to reinstate the show following public backlash. 

Calgary politicians, including Ward 13 Councilor Dan McLean and Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner, fought the decision. Furthermore, ten councilors signed a motion to reinstate the show.  

Additionally, an online petition, created by Common Sense Calgary, reached over 12,000 signatures in just a few days.  

In Vancouver, while the cancellation is still in place, Vancouver mayor Ken Sim tweeted, promising to work to restore the show for Canadians. “Fireworks have long been a part of Canada Day in Vancouver and we’re incredibly disappointed to see them cancelled this year,” he wrote. 

“We will be reaching out to the Port Authority to discuss this further and hope to see a return of Canada Day fireworks in the coming years,” he added. 

The push to cancel Canada Day celebrations began in 2021 when media began to report the discovery of “mass graves” at residential schools, sparking outrage among Indigenous communities, despite evidence that these graves were neither unmarked nor hidden. 

There have also been numerous reports showing that media accounts, which tend to blame the Catholic Church for the graves, are grossly overexaggerated.

Additionally, most mainstream media reports have neglected to mention the excessively high rates of tuberculosis among Indigenous children and the substantial lack of proper financial support from the Canadian government, which forced Indigenous children into those schools in the first place. Some Indigenous people have come forward to reveal that they benefited from and are grateful for the residential schools.  

Although the residential school system was founded by the secular government in the 19th century, and then woefully underfunded by the same government, and although different religious groups were asked to run the schools, the Catholic Church has borne the brunt of recent criticism. 

Once the government mandated attendance at the schools in the 1920s, children were forcibly removed from their families and parents threatened with prison if they did not comply. Upon arrival at the school, children rarely saw their families, with many disappearing or never seeing their families again. 

Catholic author Michael O’Brien, who attended residential schools gave testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has previously told LifeSiteNews that the chief underlying issue in the residential school saga was the institutional abuse of children being removed from their families by the state authorities, and then taken to the schools, noting the “long-term psychological and social effects of this.” 

Other elements to the residential school narrative often ignored by mainstream media are that, citing cost reasons, the Department of Indian Affairs refused to ship home the bodies of children who died at the government-mandated schools, meaning they had to buried on site; high death rates and child mortality rates during the early 1900s; and that the Canadian government ignored an inspector’s warning in 1907 that residential schools provided “prime conditions” for an “outbreak of epidemics.” (The inspector described the schools as being in a “defective sanitary condition” that included irregular exercise, insufficient ventilation – which was often closed during the winter for budget savings – and the admittance of students “already infected with contagious diseases.”) 

Mortality rates for children under the age of five record 296.75 deaths per 1,000 births in 1900. That figure only dropped beneath 100 deaths per 1,000 births in 1935, with high rates of child mortality consistently seen from 1910 through 1920. 

“Any discussion of death in childhood and the experience of children and families living with life-threatening medical problems has to be put in the context of child health as it has improved during the last century,” wrote the National Center for Biotechnology Information. As an example of this change in demographic mortality, in 1900, 30% of all deaths in the U.S were in children aged less than five years old, compared to just 1.9% in 1999. 

In fact, such was the concern about Canada’s national infant mortality that Ontario politician Newton Rowell raised the matter before the House of Commons in 1919. Indeed, the First Nations people themselves have historically been noted to be less resilient against infectious diseases, such as influenza epidemics, measles, and smallpox.