Remember that time in 2008, when (then Conservative MP and now his party’s leader) Pierre Poilievre made a statement during a radio interview that “aboriginals need to learn the value of hard work more than they need compensation for abuse suffered in residential schools?”
Yes, he said that. His remarks were criticized as “racist” and “redneck” by Opposition MPs (The Conservatives were in power at the time). Poilievre was quick to correct himself the following day, saying “I made remarks that were hurtful and wrong," and said "I accept responsibility for them and I apologize.”
That was obviously a “non-apology” however. On Oct. 11 of this year, just a little over a week after Truth and Reconciliation Day, Poilievre was at Summerhill Pyramid Winery giving a campaign speech. He ungraciously did not give a land acknowledgement to the Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation or pay any respect to the stolen lands he had been welcomed to speak onthat day.
Students at Okanagan College studying the Indigenous History of Canada found Poilievre’s decision to skip a land acknowledgment unacceptable and offensive. Our class respectfully hopes any political guest in the future (who is) welcomed into this community will make an effort to give a land acknowledgement, which is standard practise now today.
His actions, or non-actions, speak louder than words. Pollievre couldn’t be bothered to do it, however students at Okanagan College feel compelled to speak up and correct his mistake.
We sincerely hope other members of this community agree. These are the smallest efforts towards the reconciliation of stolen lands, stolen children and the failed genocide of a people whose land we occupy. Canadians can no longer turn away from the truth.
Britta Elm, Alejandra Garcia, Niharita Gharti
Okanagan College’s Indigenous Studies class students