Another First Nations leader is calling for the removal of the Canadian People’s Party candidate who distributed campaign materials similar to vaccine passports to residential schools.
Wayne Sparrow is the head of the Musqueum First Nation, which is located within the confines of the Vancouver-Quadra Riding, where candidate Renate Seekman sent passengers to about 52,000 homes.
Among the mailouts is a photo of Indigenous children in front of a residential school, with “discrimination is wrong” and “no vaccine is a passport.”
“All I would ask her is why she would comment and what her teachings are,” he said.
“You cannot compare a vaccine to the children that were taken. Their language was beaten up, they were sexually abused, they were physically abused in those schools.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that tens of thousands of more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families to attend institutions, sexually or physically abused.
At least 3,200 children died in institutions according to the TRC, and in recent months more than 1,300 suspected grave sites are located at former sites.
Sparrow said he wants Seekman to gather passersby to go out of business, to step down, and to publicly apologize.
He said the comparison was particularly troubling because indigenous people are at greater risk from COVID-19, and 98 percent of his country had already been fully immunized.
“It is very disturbing that this is even being discussed, and in that case someone running for a position in the federal party – it shows ignorance.”
“Our aunts and elders, most members of our community, are trying to hold it back, and then when they keep bringing it up, and comparing, it’s more hurtful to them and that’s okay.”
Neither Seekman nor the PPC responded to a request for comment, but on Twitter, Seekman defended the analogy, saying “it may be somewhat uncomfortable or angry but this is a difficult and important conversation.”
Sparrow said that he had received an invitation to meet Seekman, but he declined.
On Wednesday, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations also called for Seikman to be ousted.