Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a highly equivocal denunciation of the wave of church arsons and statue-smashing sweeping Canada, calling the attacks “unacceptable” but defending the anger fueling them as “fully understandable”.
Trudeau, who leads the Liberal Party of Canada, told reporters it is “unacceptable and wrong that acts of vandalism and arson are being seen across the country including against Catholic churches” — but immediately added that “One of my reflections is I understand the anger that’s out there against the federal government, against institutions like the Catholic church; it is real and it is fully understandable given the shameful history that we are all becoming more and more aware of, and engaging ourselves to do better as Canadians.”
The Canadian leftist did go on to say that he could not “help but think that burning down churches is actually depriving people who are in need of grieving and healing and mourning from places where they can actually grieve and reflect and look for support.”
“We shouldn’t be lashing out at buildings that can provide solace to some of our fellow citizens, but we should be every day committing ourselves, each and every one of us, to the hard work we need to do to actually rebuild a path forward that reflects the terrible intergenerational trauma and present-day realities of suffering that we are all collectively responsible for,” he added.
“A typical Trudeau ‘condemnation’, where he briefly says this behaviour is not really on, but then goes on at length to explain why it’s understandable and to sympathise with those who did it,” remarked Robert Poll, of the Save Our Statues campaign.
— 660 NEWS Calgary (@660NEWS) June 30, 2021
Canadian churches, mostly Roman Catholic and Anglican and often historic, have been burned down or vandalised in remarkable numbers in recent days, as anger has been whipped up over the discovery of unmarked graved — often wrongly described as “mass graves” by the mainstream media — at the sites of former Indian Residential Schools; institutions typically run by churches which the government used to require First Nations children to attend, in what is now seen as a misguided effort to integrate them into the cultural mainstream.
The schools date back to the 1800s, and at least some of the graves were marked at one time, with the BBC noting that “Burial plots used to be marked with wooden crosses that crumbled over the years” at the former St Eugene’s Mission School near Cranbrook, British Columbia, for example.
Mobs have also targeted historic statues, with monuments to Queen Elizabeth II, who is head of state in Canada as in Britain and several other Commonwealth realms, and her ancestor Queen Victoria being ripped down in dramatic fashion in front of the Manitoba Legislature, which little apparent intervention by the authorities.
The head of the statue of Victoria was removed and extensively vandalised before being thrown in a river, with a statue of the storied British explorer Captain James Cook which was violently torn down in British Columbia also being symbolically “drowned”.
The head of Queen Victoria's statue, Winnipeg. Barbarism, plain and simple. pic.twitter.com/lfTmLDAS7X
— Save Our Statues – Robert Poll (@_SaveOurStatues) July 3, 2021