O'Toole leaves teddy bear at the Centennial Flame for indigenous child victims
Conservative leader Erin O'Toole deposited a teddy bear at the Centennial Flame to honour the 215 Indigenous children found in a grave in Kamloops.
"I am mourning alongside Canadians across the country, and thinking of the surviving communities and families," he wrote on Twitter.
This is part of a greater Canadian movement encouraging people to show their support to those who are grieving by putting teddy bears on their porch and leaving the light on tonight, Monday, May 31, at 5 p.m.
Kelsie Kilawna, a reporter with IndigiNews, had this to say:
“A lot of our families are grieving these losses right now. Many of our living aunts, uncles, and grandparents went here and so even us as kids we grew up with knowing the stories of these bodies,” Kilawna said. “To have it so publicly all over means that we have to grieve in public, something we aren’t familiar with doing.”
She has posted the event on Facebook and is asking as many people as possible to show their support.
“A lot of our stories went so long with people not believing us, and even us as kids I remember defending these stories to teachers, or other adults, so now to have this validated has been a hit to the heart. We need your support now more than ever, and if you’re wondering how to help, this is how you can help right now.”
Clayton Bell, the man who created the event via Facebook, has more than 1,000 people signed up as going and nearly 800 interested.
“It is important that we acknowledge the pain and trauma this has caused past and present generations,” Bell said in his event.
In Fort McMurray, 215 pairs of shoes were placed at the provincial building downtown by residents coming together to mourn and stand in solidarity after the heart breaking news broke.
Churches as far as Saint Anne's in Membertou, Nova Scotia took to issue support as well:
Everyone from premiers to local officials took to commenting. Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta wrote: "Another terrible reminder of the legacy of Canada’s system of aboriginal residential schools. These children were torn away from their families, never to return. We grieve with the First Nations who remember these innocent lives lost." In response to a memorial at the Saskatchewan Legislature, Premier Moe also commented, writing: "A powerful display at the Legislature, to honour Indigenous children who never made it home from residential schools. Now is a time to listen, educate ourselves and commit to meaningful reconciliation. Thank you to all of the folks who have set up memorials across the country."
Jon Dziadyk, Edmonton's city councillor for Ward 3, issued the following statement to TBT: "While I am a proud Canadian, it is obvious that there are dark spots in our history. Residential schools are a blight on Canada's achievements. I was heartbroken to learn of the discovery of the children who perished in this misguided colonial experiment. As a father, I am disgusted and commit to educating my daughter of the unvarnished truth. I am pleased that Edmonton City Hall will be lowering our flags for an extended period of time."