Earlier this week, the Vancouver Quadra candidate for the People’s Party of Canada, Renate Siekmann, distributed flyers that compare BC’s vaccine mandates with the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
The flyer, which was distributed to 52,000 homes, shows an image of Indigenous children outside of an Indian residential school with the words “Discrimination is wrong” and “No vaccine passport” overtop of the image.
Musqueam Indian Band stands firmly opposed to this egregious comparison, and calls for the immediate removal of Siekmann as a candidate for the People’s Party of Canada.
“Indian Residential Schools are a dark period in Canada’s history, which only ended with the last school closing in 1996,” said Chief Wayne Sparrow. “Generations of Musqueam children were taken from their families and community, stripped of their culture and abused in countless ways. To compare a public health mandate that will protect thousands to the violence of genocide is not only offensive to all Indigenous Peoples, but is damaging to the ongoing work of truth and reconciliation, which this country desperately needs.”
In a tweet from Wednesday, Siekmann said “The Native Passport is a dark chapter in BC history. It’s sad to see British Columbia instituting another passport system today.”
The federal ‘pass system’ forced status Indians to present travel documents to an Indian agent in order to leave and return to their reserves. It was a system that restricted and controlled the movement of First Nations and, along with residential schools, was another tool for assimilation.
Out of respect for all Indigenous peoples who are survivors of this genocide, and those who we lost, Musqueam calls on the leader of People’s Party of Canada, Maxine Bernier, to apologize, denounce the message of this flyer and publicly state that state-mandated genocide is not equivalent to vaccine mandates.
“It is ignorant and downright despicable that a candidate for a federal party believes protecting citizens from a deadly virus is equal to the atrocities Indigenous peoples have faced,” added Chief Wayne Sparrow. “To demonstrate the Peoples Party’s support of long-term healing as a nation, Renate Siekmann must be removed as a candidate in Vancouver Quadra.”