The prime minister has been facing mounting pressure from communities across Canada to call off Canada Day festivities since the findings were first reported
Prime Minister Trudeau has ordered the Canadian flag flown on Peace Tower on Parliament Hill lowered at half-mast for Canada Day after the remains of over 1,000 Indigenous children were found at two residential school sites.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Trudeau said the move comes “as people across the country continue to honour the Indigenous children whose lives were taken far too soon.”
The prime minister has been facing mounting pressure from communities across Canada to call off Canada Day festivities since the findings were first reported.
On Wednesday, the Lower Kootenay First Nation in British Columbia said a search using ground-penetrating radar has found 182 human remains in unmarked graves at a site close to a former residential school.
The news follows an announcement made by the Cowessess First Nation, east of Regina last week, in which 751 unmarked graves were uncovered at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
In May, the remains of 215 children were also discovered at another former site in Kamloops, B.C.
Victoria, B.C. became the first city to cancel this year’s events, followed by other Kelowna, B.C., Belleville, Ont. and several communities across Saskatchewan.
The most recent include the northern Manitoba town of Churchill as well as the Saskatchewan cities of Melville and Meadow Lake, which announced the fireworks and parade planned for that day wouldn’t go ahead.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also on Monday asked “Ontarians to reflect over CanadaDay on what has taken place.”
On Friday, June 25, Trudeau told reporters that Canada Day should be a time of ‘reflection’ for Canadians in light of the recent discoveries.
“Many, many Canadians will be reflecting on reconciliation, on our relationship with Indigenous Peoples and how it has evolved and how it needs to continue to evolve rapidly,” Trudeau said.
“I think this Canada Day, it will be a time of reflection on what we’ve achieved as a country, but on what more we have to do.”
Last month, the prime minister ordered all flags flown on all federal buildings and Parliament Hill to be flown at half-mast.
“There is so much grief and trauma from the horrific news of the 215 children’s bodies being found,” opposition New Democratic Party parliament member Charlie Angus said on Twitter, following Trudeau’s order last month. “I am pleased that the Prime Minister has agreed to lower the flags. But this just the beginning. We need answers. We need accountability.”
With files from the Canadian Press