Thursday, October 28

Chiefs respond to destruction of 5,000 books deemed harmful to locals

The decision of a French-speaking Catholic school board in Ontario to destroy 5,000 books deemed harmful to native people was part of the election campaign. In unison the leaders of the three national parties presented a different vision from that of the Bloc Quebecois.

” Personally “, Justin trudeau “Never agree to burning books”. As a non-native, the Liberal leader believes, however, that he has a duty of reserve with regard to the debate.

“It’s not up to me, it’s not up to non-natives, to tell natives how they should feel or how they should act to advance reconciliation. We need to demonstrate an understanding of the sadness, perhaps anger, that many of them feel about the reconciliation and the work we still have to do. “

The Providence Catholic School Board, which brings together 30 French-language schools across southwestern Ontario, burned books deemed harmful to natives in a “flame purification” ceremony in 2019, Radio-Canada has learned. The idea of ​​burning the 5,000 or so books removed from libraries circulated, but was scrapped in favor of recycling. Among the titles withdrawn are albums from the series Tintin and Lucky Luke.


The School Board presented this initiative as a gesture of reconciliation towards Indigenous peoples. Suzy Kies, who describes herself as an “Indigenous Knowledge Keeper,” is one of the stakeholders who advised the school board on this issue. Ms. Kies is also co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples Commission of Liberal Party of Canada since 2016. She mentioned that “millions of pounds” convey prejudices about indigenous people and that these stereotypes are damaging.

These prejudices, Jagmeet Singh said he observed them when he was on the school benches. “I saw negative images, caricatures, a representation that did not respect the dignity of indigenous communities,” says the head of the New Democratic Party (NPD). I think we need to change our approach to teaching our children. “

Erin O’Toole opposes burning books, but understands the decision to ban works that hurt native people. “It’s possible to remove books and comics without burning them, but we have to have a respectful approach to issues related to reconciliation and our history. “

In the Bloc Québécois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, which “devotes a cult to books”, is opposed to the banning of literary works. “There have been millions of books written in history. I would say that almost all of them, depending on the time, surely convey ideas that today we no longer endorse, it’s okay that the Earth would be flat where there are hardly any conservatives left to believe in that, until ‘to notions that are extremely discriminatory against many people, including a hell of a lot against Quebeckers. We’re not going to burn them all. “

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