Parliament Hill, in the heart of Canada’s capitol of Ottawa, is a scene of chaos Friday as the nation prepares for July 1 Canada Day celebrations.
As a group of natives protests on Parliament Hill the day before the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refuses to do anything to move the group’s teepee that they have placed right beside the seat of Canada’s government. The only person arrested was a man who allegedly “assaulted” one of the protesters.
RCMP and Ottawa police initially tried to disperse the protest but they were overruled — apparently by Trudeau, although his office won’t confirm that the prime minister personally intervened.
It’s clear whose side that Trudeau is on. He told a crowd in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island that he agrees with the natives, who call themselves the Bawaating Water Protectors and who arrived Wednesday from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Despite a multi-million dollar campaign to promote “Canada 150,” Trudeau is not celebrating Canada’s heritage or history.
“We recognize that over the past decades, generations, indeed centuries Canada has failed Indigenous Peoples,” Trudeau said.
Saturday is the 150th anniversary of Confederation and up to 500,000 people are expected to be in attendance on Parliament Hill to cheer but Trudeau has no intention of clearing out the protesters, instead talking of “compromise” as he told Canadians to “respect” the demonstration.
“That’s what I expect of our security services and that’s what I am expecting to see,” he said.
Trudeau has admitted ISIS issued a warning that Canada is a prime target of terrorist operations but says there is nothing to worry about.
Moreover, Trudeau’s indigenous affairs minister, Carolyn Bennett, outraged many Canadians yesterday when she marginalized Canadian history as “racist.”
In an invitation to a Thursday afternoon picnic, Bennet wrote: “While many Canadians will be celebrating on Canada Day, for far too many it is a reminder of our colonialist, racist past. As we mark 150 years since Confederation, it’s important for us to remember and reflect all aspects of our collective history. We need to remember that we are all #treatypeople and that Reconciliation isn’t an Indigenous issue – it is a Canadian imperative.”
The protesters are calling their stunt a “reoccupation” of Canada. “We’re here to make people aware of the genocide that went on, the assimilations that went on,” said organizer Brendon Nahwegezhiche.
“That is a part of the history and that is the truth of Canada, unfortunately.”