In Personally Cruel and Totalitarian Fashion, the City Council of Quesnel, B.C. and Neighbouring First Nations Suppress a Book and Attack and Defame Those of Their Citizens Who Would Read It.

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 The moral courage required to hold a different view and to press it upon irritated readers or unsympathetic listeners remains everywhere in short supply…But the disposition to disagree, to reject and to dissent- however irritating it may be when taken to extremes- is the very lifeblood of an open society. We need people who make a virtue of opposing mainstream opinion. A democracy of permanent consensus will not long remain a democracy. -Tony Judt – Ill Fares the Land.

2 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; – Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In a totalitarian state it can be a crime to be the son or wife of a criminal. – Leszek Kolakowski – Is God Happy? Selected Essays

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Mrs. Pat Morton, a long-time resident of Quesnel, British Columbia, recently read the book, Grave Error- How the Media Misled Us (And the Truth About Residential Schools). Her husband, Ron Paull, is the mayor of Quesnel. Her son Kevin Christieson owns and operates a tax and accounting business in Quesnel.

Pat thought that Grave Error, a good and timely book, raised some interesting and valid points about the stories that politicians, the mainstream media and Indigenous elites are telling Canadians about the 2021 Kamloops residential school murder and “mass graves” allegations, and about residential schools in general. The main theme of those stories is the alleged murder and “genocide” of Indigenous peoples at the hands of malign “settler colonialists” of various types.

She thought that Grave Error credibly and cogently called the truth of these stories into question.

She talked to an acquaintance, Connie Goulet, about the book. She had known Connie for 30 years. Connie’s husband has some kind of Indigenous heritage and may have attended a residential school. Pat knew that and wanted some input on the subject of Grave Error from Connie, and maybe from her husband. The result of the conversation was that she offered a copy of the book to Connie and Connie accepted it and said she would look at it.

Connie has a son, Tony Goulet, who identifies as Metis and who sits on the Quesnel City Council. Mr. Goulet is also executive director of the Quesnel Tillicum Society and is a Board Trustee on the Quesnel Board of Education.

The next thing that happened was that, to Pat’s shock and surprise, Tony Goulet was publicly denouncing the book at the March 19th Quesnel City Council meeting, and, in his capacity as a public servant, publicly denouncing Pat for giving a copy of the book to Connie, and calling the book “very, very, very traumatizing” for him to read.

Before that Tony Goulet had told the nearby Lhtako Dene Nation of the fact of Pat’s supposedly wrongful act of giving a copy of Grave Error to Connie.

This “Nation” (comprising 191 members) wrote a letter of protest to the Quesnel City Council. Part of the letter, referring to Grave Error, said:

“The calling into question of what our Nation went through is a slap in our people’s collective faces and is very hurtful to them. The Nation has a significant number of members who suffered through attendance at a Residential School and today suffer through the long-term trauma of what they went through. The book adds to that hurt.”

The letter also said that statements in Grave Error like “the truth has been turned into a casualty” denied the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by “implying that cultural genocide did not occur” in the residential school system.

Councillor Goulet gave his full-throated support to this letter denouncing Grave Error.

Mayor Ron Paull, when pressed by another Councillor on it, said that he had not read the book and that he did not support his wife’s actions.

Mayor Paull voted with the rest of the Council to denounce Grave Error, and to accept the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (TRC), thereby, as official acts of an elected government, firstly, denouncing and attempting to suppress a legal book, and secondly, officially decreeing that the highly biased and flawed findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission constitute objective truth –official TRC orthodoxy–  which, for any person to challenge, constitutes a hate crime and, in effect, TRC apostasy.

Pat’s son Kevin, in a dutiful, loyal and loving attempt to defend his mother against the illiberal, Kafkaesque calumnies and denunciations that were, no doubt to her shock and disbelief, out of the blue innocent sky, suddenly being levelled against her by people she had known and got along with as friends and neighbours for years, posted the following on social media:

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This sincere plea of a son for his mother fell on deaf ears, closed minds and hard hearts.

Denunciations continued of Grave Error, of Pat for her TRC apostasy, her husband Mayor Ron Paull (basically for being married to Pat and, it seems, failing to “control” her), and even of Kevin, for, as a son, daring to defend his mother.

Mrs. Morton wrote the City, in substance asking for an explanation as to why it was involving itself in her legitimate reading choices, and for a public apology, but got no response.

The B.C. Assembly of First Nations publicly endorsed the denunciation and attempted suppression of Grave Error and the public condemnation of Mrs. Morton.

Said Regional Chief Terry Teegee:

“Residential school denialism needs to be called out when we see it. This is not a matter of opinion or free speech; it is hateful, harmful, and cannot be tolerated by Canadian society… It is incumbent on our allies among non-Indigenous Canadians to speak up when they are confronted by this poison. The BCAFN applauds the work of the Lhtako Dene Nation and the city of Quesnel in stamping out denialism when confronted by it.” (italics added)

The local First Nations Health Authority weighed in, throwing their own stones at Mrs. Morton, and condemning the book and “its impact on the mental wellbeing of the Indigenous community.”

Their statement said in part:

“Racism in health care, and all facets of life, continues to be a daily lived experience for many Indigenous peoples in B.C. and around the country. The FNHA is aware of and saddened by the situation in Quesnel and applauds the City of Quesnel for its resolution to denounce the book titled Grave Error – How the Media Misled Us (And the Truth About Residential Schools), and officially state the City of Quesnel’s formal acceptance of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

“Truth is vital in the provincial and nationwide effort to achieve meaningful reconciliation, and harmful discourse like the contents of the book in question can delay progress and re-traumatize survivors of Indian Residential Schools and their families.”

Academia, in the form of Sean Carleton, an ambitious junior academic in “Indigenous Studies” from the University of Manitoba, weighed in.

He personifies the decline of scholarship standards in academia, now governed, at least in the field of “Indigenous Studies”, by ideologues rather than scholars. As such, as the sole means of professional advancement, they are compelled to conceal and distort truth. His doctoral dissertation was on graphic novels -advanced comic books.

 In neo-Stalinist fashion he regularly accuses (but, fearing a genuine battle of ideas, is afraid to debate) the authors of Grave Error and anyone else who questions the official TRC orthodoxy that the Quesnel City Council so improperly and cravenly decreed mandatory fealty to, of engaging in residential school “denialism”- to Mr. Carleton and all his ilk, a form of TRC apostasy.

In a serious of tweets, set out immediately below, clearly exposing himself and his employer to a civil lawsuit, and evidencing the cruel indifference of ideologues to the human suffering caused by their lies and innuendoes,he defamed both Pat Morton and her loyal, dutiful son, Kevin, in terms that he would have to know would constitute a threat to Kevin’s economic livelihood.

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A  march to promote the further denunciation and suppression of Grave Error and of any rational, civil, public discussion of its ideas, was planned for April 2nd, the day of the next Council meeting. Frances Widdowson, one of the authors in Grave Error, bravely attended in Quesnel on that day to defend Grave Error and free speech and enquiry generally.

According to a local media report, the march, which was held and which involved 350-400 citizens and burghers of Quesnel and local First Nations, was in response to the “revelation” that Pat Morton had “distributed” to her 30 year acquaintance, Connie Goulet, a copy of Grave Error.

At the April 2nd Council meeting Mayor Paull resisted demands from fellow Councillors to resign as Mayor because of the supposedly hateful conduct of his wife, which again, was conduct essentially comprised of talking favourably about some of the contents of Grave Error to an acquaintance and then offering a copy of it to that acquaintance who, then knowing of its general contents, accepted it.

Mayor Paull correctly said that his detractors were attempting to make him “guilty by association.”

Also, at the Council meeting, the Lhtako Dene  Nation and another nearby First Nation, the Nazko First Nation, said they would not work with the City of Quesnel on their numerous economic development files if Mayor Paull were involved. They said they were upset at Mayor Paull’s involvement and follow-up response, saying “anything less than utter repudiation of the book’s themes was tantamount to broken trust” between them and Quesnel City Hall.

Chiefs Clifford Lebrun of Lhtako and Leah Stump of Nazko said they would only work with the remaining Councillors, thus revealing a situation where these two First Nations are deliberately  interfering with the democratic wishes of the voters of Quesnel, who elected Ron Paull as their Mayor, by way of indicating their intention to stall joint projects and “ghost” him because of his wife’s act of giving a book to an acquaintance, and because of his unwillingness to totally betray and sacrifice her for doing that.

In Appendix 1 below is a partial transcript (with italics and emboldening added) of the Council meeting, provided by the inestimable Nina Green, one of the principals behind the Indian Residential Research Group.  (All the articles on this website cogently and coherently support the facts and arguments put forth in Grave Error).

The transcript reveals the unctuousness of Tony Goulet, the Quesnel City Council cloyingly letting the non-ratepayer Indigenous speakers incoherently ramble on with their babyish, crocodile tears, emotional bribery rubbish, and the mean-spirited and disrespectful Councillors Elliot and Roodenburg with their rude, abusive, (more public condemnation of Mrs. Morton), censoring, constantly-interrupting, Stalinist show trial treatment of this innocent citizen, neighbour and ratepayer and her husband.

It also records the brave Professor Widdowson’s futile attempt, in the face of equally rude, censoring and dismissive treatment, to attempt to have the Councillors actually address some of the substance of Grave Error.

What it doesn’t record is any of these upstanding Quesnel and First Nations leaders saying:

“Is it really our place? – is this the proper function of municipal government or First Nations government? – to be talking about suppressing a legal book we don’t happen to agree with? Is it our place – is it a proper function of municipal government or First Nations government? – to be attacking and insulting a person who read a book we don’t like, and attacking another person who is simply married to that person?  Isn’t it a tad creepy? Do we live in a police state? Is there not something unCanadian about this?”

 What to make of such personally cruel and abusive, freedom of speech and thought- attacking, neo-totalitarian behavior on the part of the Quesnel City Council and the First Nations?

The supposedly modern, liberated, female Councillor Roodenburg acted like this is 1824, not 2024, treating Mrs. Morton as if she is the property of her husband who should bear responsibility, including being forced out of public office, for everything she does “outside the home.”

Completely denying Mrs. Morton her human agency, Councillor Roodenburg treated her as a chattel owned by her husband.

 The liberal mind reels.

Clearly, mandatory adherence to the official TRC orthodoxy trounces female solidarity and showing good public manners.

The late American playwright Arthur Miller, in his autobiography, Timebends- A Life, describes asimilar irrational mindset and a similarly cruel and degenerate public discourse driving the McCarthy era of the early 1950’s, which Miller was personally affected by.  

He wrote a play about it, The Crucible, which metaphorically compared the cynical, power-seeking, personally cruel, hysterical and destructive (of people’s lives and careers) anti-communist “witch hunts” of the McCarthy era to the time of the 17th century witch burnings in Salem, Massachusetts.

Underlying McCarthyism he wrote, reflecting another reality of the degenerate discourse on Indigenous matters in Quesnel today, and indeed in all of Canada, was the idea that:

 “…the country was intending to become a philosophical monolith where no real differences about anything important would be tolerated.”

Thinking of the essence of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings, which were intended to solidify this monolith, he wrote:

“The main point of the hearings, precisely as in seventeenth century Salem, was that the accused make public confession, damn his confederates as well as his Devil master, and guarantee his sterling new allegiance by breaking disgusting old vows- whereupon he was let loose to rejoin the society of extremely decent people. In other words, the same spiritual nugget lay folded within both procedures- an act of contrition done not in solemn privacy but out in the public air.

The offender against HUDAC could be accused only of a spiritual crime, subservience to a political enemy’s desires and ideology.

In effect, it came down to a governmental decree of moral guilt that could easily be made to disappear by ritual speech: intoning names of fellow sinners and recanting former beliefs…Rituals of guilt and confession followed all the forms of a religious persecution.

I found my anger rising…against the Committee, which by now I regarded as a band of political operators with as much moral conviction as (the gangster) Tony Anastasia, and as a matter of fact, probably somewhat less.”

In Quesnel today, as happened regularly during McCarthyism, and in Leszak Kolakowski’s (headnote above) totalitarian, Soviet East Bloc Poland, Mayor Ron Paull is accused and being found guilty by the First Nations and the Quesnel City Council  of simply being in possession of an ideological impure book and of  being married to the ideological and moral criminal -the “witch”- Mrs. Pat Morton, whose “crime” is being  open to the factual assertions and ideas contained in the book -a book that, if it were a person, would be, as Grave Error itself was, denounced and in substance declared an Enemy of the People.

The First Nations bands and the Quesnel Town Council are freedom of speech and thought attackers. They are neo-totalitarian accusers who, as the price of Ron Paull’s possible redemption, are insisting that he publicly confess his guilt and publicly damn and renounce his own wife for her TRC apostasy. – her mild dissent from the monolith of the official TRC orthodoxy.

Only then might Ron Paull be possibly “let loose to rejoin the society of the extremely decent people” who make up the Quesnel City Council, the shouters and dividers at the April 2nd Council meeting, and the First Nations Band elites who are denouncing his apostate wife, and him, for his guilt by mere marital association.

Only then, with her sacrifice, might his sin be forgiven and this quasi-Marxist/totalitarian persecution of him end.

How illiberal, low and uncivil on the part of the Quesnel City Council and the First Nations elites to treat decent people like this!

It really is classic, neo-totalitarian, Stalin show trial stuff.

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To some degree the provincial, low-brow, McCarthyist, mob-like behavior of the Quesnel City Council and the First Nations elites and their supporters is not entirely their fault.

They have been conditioned and stoked into this kind of reflexive, bullying, illiberal mindset and behaviour by Canada’s elite classes, which, as Conrad Black writes in his Preface to Grave Error, for the last 25 years have been telling Canadians variations on the falsestory that the European settlers of Canada and their descendants are illegitimate in Canada and are “guilty of some form of genocide.”

Leszek Kolakowski described the intellects of the elite classes of East Bloc Communist Poland as “servile instruments of Marxist orthodoxy”.

Just so, in relation to all matters Indigenous, are the intellects of Canada’s elite classes quiescent, incurious and servile instruments of the official TRC orthodoxy, having shamefully abandoned all independence of mind to groupthink.

Canada’s courts are consistently telling Canadians that they are “systematically racist” towards Indigenous peoples, who they “colonized”, whose lands they “violently” took, and whose cultures they “targeted” and “sought to destroy”.

Our sheep-like members of Parliament gave unanimous consent to a baseless motion calling on the federal government to recognize Canada’s residential schools as a form of genocide.

Regarding our relations with Indigenous peoples, the rest of Canada’s intellectual classes have exhibited similar shameful, blood libelous, “herd behaviour” regard and treatment of Canadians, past and present,

Journalist Jonathan Kay, in his Grave Error chapter entitled A Media-Fueled Panic Over Unmarked Graves wrote:

“Rather than it being a story about graves it turned out to be a story of the herd behavior of Canada’s intellectual class. Thousands of politicians, writers, broadcasters and activists spent months crowd-sourcing the creation of a completely unsupported national narrative, and then failed to correct the record once their rush to judgement had rung headlong into reality.” (italics added)

Even a very recent open letter from a number of  Canada’s elites, justly calling for increasing civility amongst the populace, (perhaps they should send a copy to Quesnel City Council and their neighbouring First Nations), had to include a false, superfluous, rote confession of collective national guilt for our ancestors all supposedly having been land thieves and racists. It read in part:

“Some tensions are homegrown and result from stains on our shared history, including the violent dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their land and the dehumanizing racism targeting Black communities since before Confederation.” (italics added)

Such context-free, simplistic, empty rhetorical moralizing.

(Elites, enough already! Stop slagging your own citizenry!

Canada is and always was a decent country!

Migration is a constant, normal human activity. The way our ancestors did it was, relative to historical norms, peaceful and conscientious!

Indigenous Canadians, be grateful that the inevitable European migration to and domination of what is now the Canadian land mass happened the way it did!

Would you rather the Americans controlled what is now the Canadian land mass? Because that’s the way it would be but for the actions of our British-French ancestors, especially the now elites-reviled Sir John A. MacDonald.)

The fact is that, in relation to all matters Indigenous, our elites have turned against the liberal values and traditions of ordinary Canadians.

They have jettisoned the old, positive, 150-year-old Canadian nation-building narrative and, in the last 50 years, replaced it with a false, apologetic, guilt-soaked narrative of “settler”, racist land theft and genocide, cultural and physical.

Our courts have turned section 35 of our Constitution into a vehicle for the creation of a new, illiberal, race-based, “separate but equal”, quasi-apartheid Canadian state – a state unrecognizable, and which could never have been dreamed of, by our fundamentally liberal ancestors- a state where Indigenous peoples have become a de facto third order of government with an increasingly conditional and rent-seeking connection with their fellow non-Indigenous citizens.

Very recently, in the Vuntut Gwitchen case, the Supreme Court ruled that Indigenous “governments” can legally declare that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to any of their laws of their choosing, if the purpose of the law is purportedly to preserve “Indigenous difference”, thus turning First Nations reserves into Charter-free zones.  

So, if the Lhtake Dene Nation wants to ban Grave Error from their “Nation” and make it illegal for any of their 191 “citizens” to read it, or even to speak about it, as long as they tout the reason for doing so as promoting “Indigenous difference”, they have the Supreme Court’s blessing to do so.

(“Indigenous difference” is a ridiculous concept in 21st century Canada, where most people have a car and an iPhone. In reality, there are no essential human or cultural differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Certainly, there are none worth sacrificing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for.)

Our politicians have built on this new, illiberal, race-based constitutional foundation, with equally illiberal laws and programs, like the state-weakening UNDRIP Action Plan, that instead of bringing about the much vaunted but never defined “reconciliation”, causes nothing but severe economic harm and, as so recently on full display in Quesnel, British Columbia, causes the  opposite of reconciliation: racial division and conflict.

The whole national situation in this regard is so against the grain of the Canadian experience and the Canadian psyche- so mad and shameful- that a guilty, silent, national consensus has been arrived at amongst our elites.  

Politicians are not to talk about it. Journalists are not to talk or write about it. Courts are supposed to write their judgments endorsing racially divisive laws without ever mentioning or properly explaining how and why their judgements violate the most fundamental Enlightenment principle of equality under the law.

Respectful non-conformists and dissidents, as in Leszek Kolakowski’s Poland, are to be ignored at best, and, like Mrs. Pat Morton, actively silenced at worst.

So, ex-Senator Lynn Beyak gets kicked out of the Senate for saying that some good came from residential schools, and not one politician or journalist speaks out in her defence and in defence of free speech.

Professor Frances Widdowson gets fired by Mount Royal University for publicly questioning the official TRC orthodoxy, and not one politician, journalist or academic speaks out in her defence and in defence of free speech and free academic enquiry.

Not one prominent journalist or mainstream media outlet ever challenges or criticizes these attacks on freedom of speech and thought, even though their existence and proper functioning depend on these freedoms being constantly defended.

The CBC’s treatment of the “revelation” that Mrs. Morton gave a copy of Grave Error to a friend exemplifies this.

It says on its website that it seeks to provide balance in its coverage of controversial issues, yet on an April 4th radio show dealing with the events in Quesnel it gave about 20 seconds of air time to Frances Widdowson, and 15 minutes of air time to associate professor Sean Carleton during which, without objection from the host, he accused the authors of Grave Error of being right wing extremists promoting hate and residential school “denialism”. Almost every journalistic principle touted by the CBC on its website has been ignored in its coverage of this story.

No question was directed to Mr. Carleton by the CBC host about the civil liberties aspects and consequences of him, on behalf of a University, the Quesnel City Council and the neighbouring First Nations all demanding that Grave Error be suppressed and that those who read it, or even possess it, be denounced. No such concerns have been raised by the CBC in any of their reporting on this matter since then.

Canadians in general see all this and learn by the example of our “betters”, that we are not to publicly talk about it, or if we do, we are only to parrot the official TRC orthodoxy.

We are definitely not to talk about the illiberal reality that it really signifies. We are not to talk about the racist, quasi-apartheid, anti-Enlightenment assumptions and ideas that underly it.

We are not to care about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it applies to Indigenous-related issues. Our elites don’t, so why should we?

It’s all just too inexplicable in Enlightenment terms, and just too embarrassing to talk about because of what it says about what we as a nation have allowed to happen here.

In fact, in accordance with this national, enforced elite consensus, Canadians, in Orwellian, chanting-in-unison fashion, are supposed to all publicly affirm the opposite: that this unprecedented, new, race-based Canadian constitutional order is progressive and enlightened, and that anyone, like Mrs. Pat Morton of Quesnel, B.C. or like Lynn Beyak, or like any of the authors of Grave Error, who dare says that the emperor has no clothes- that perhaps it is not progressive and not enlightened- perhaps it is in fact retrograde and racist- well, they are racist, they are illiberal, and they and their views should be suppressed  by all right thinking, decent people, like the good, “correct” associate professor Sean Carleton, the good City Councillors of Quesnel and the good First Nations Chiefs and their followers.

The Indigenous and non-Indigenous establishments, for their own sometimes selfish purposes, contrary to the causes of truth and our national civic welfare, and contrary to two of the most fundamental values of democracy – equality under the law and free and open debate on important public issues – have in effect declared a ban on free speech around all Indigenous political, economic, constitutional and human rights issues – effectively erecting “no trespassing” signs around them.

 For ordinary Canadians, only those who “dare to be a Daniel” go past those signs.

So small municipalities like Quesnel B.C., properly conditioned by all this, or fearful of it all, consciously or not, go along with it, and attempt to suppress a perfectly good book, and, in all the hysteria, find themselves participating in the vulgar and indecent public shaming and condemnation of two of their own.

And of course, Indigenous elites, already turning their neighbours into strangers by the use of their economic veto over resource projects, see themselves so profiting from this fear and guilt-based consensus and conspiracy of silence, that, to keep their good fortunes continuing, they stay at the vocal forefront of this suppression of dissent- of this neo-totalitarian public shaming and condemnation of even the mildest and most respectful of dissenters- like Mrs. Pat Morton of Quesnel, B.C.

In such ways and by such means, in relation to all matters Indigenous, have our elites degraded our public norms and civic discourse, and turned Canadians against one another.

Peter Best

Sudbury

April 8, 2024

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                                                      APPENDIX 1 

Mitch Vik. First time speaker, Councillor Goulet.

Councillor Tony Goulet. Thank you, Acting Mayor, and thank you all for being here. Fantastic turnout. This has been emotionally charged from the last meeting for March 19th, excuse me, and you know I’m looking at it as the position of the Mayor.

I’m not looking at it as individuals. I’m not looking at it as a book. I’m looking at it as to what the Mayor’s responsibility is and what the Mayor needs to understand.

I’ve done empathy. Empathy is also within the community charter. You know that a Mayor’s ability to understand another person’s position and how they are feeling.

It is critical skill for interacting with residents to understand their needs and why they’re addressing particular issues. The Mayor should also demonstrate empathy with fellow politicians in order to find common ground when discussing the political matters at hand. An empathetic Mayor may be more capable of serving all of their constituents, not just those who are directly related to, allowing them to be more effective in their role.

So I just wanted to read that because that is from the charter. It’s not my words. It was done in the charter in, I believe, 1991.

So there’s a piece on the empathy and what the Mayor duties is. I caused controversy, I guess, in my comments from the last meeting, you know. I wasn’t meaning to, but I thought it was important that I share how my family received the book.

Ever since then, you know, it’s been a wild ride. The last two weeks have been just crazy, incredible. You know, I’ve been called out.

I’ve been asked to, and I’m getting emotional, to tell what our family is, where we came from, what residential school people went to, which is totally not right. It’s something that shouldn’t be here at this table or even be put into emails to us for somebody for saying, hey, I read the book. And yes, I did read the book.

I’ll be quite honest, from cover to cover. And I gave my opinion on the book and I said it at that meeting, but apparently my speech means nothing. I have no free speech.

I can’t tell you that the book was not good. It’s not a good read. I’ll be quite honest with you from an Indigenous perspective, but people have their opinions.

But I got blasted, just blasted in this entire way of doing things, right? So it’s not about the book. I think we have to come back to the position of the Mayor and how we fix as a council, how we move forward. Lhtako today has said at a CKPG interview that the mayor’s office, they cannot work with.

They’re looking at working with the council, but not the mayor’s office, which brings us to, you know, how do we move forward and how do we do that reconciliation piece? But I just wanted to put that out there. I am also, you know, I think it’s appropriate to ask for the mayor to resign. I know we can’t, we can’t, we can’t force you, but it’s an ask.

Mitch Vik: So thank you. Councillor Roodenburg for a second time.

Councillor Roodenburg. Thank you. So Councillor Goulet is quite right. We’re not debating the merits of the book. That’s long gone.

This is now a discussion about how the mayor decided to act once we talked about what his wife was doing with this book. I think when we go back to this whole responsible conduct of elected officials, I think the mayor has forgotten his oath of office that clearly states that he performs his duties respectfully, faithfully, and with integrity.

Mitch Vik. Any more comments on the minutes? I’m not sure if what Councillor Elliott brought up constitutes an omission in the minutes.

So I’ll call the question on as to accept the minutes as submitted. Councillor Runge, you’ll move that. You’ll move that motion, Councillor? Seconder? Okay, I’ll call the question. All those in favour? One in favour? Opposed? All in favour? I need a show of hands, please. Thank you. That motion passes.

Okay, we’ll move on to our new business, which is we have four letters submitted to City Council. And I’d ask that for the first letter, which is from Nazko First Nation, if Rhea, you could kindly read that into our record.

Rhea: Letter dated March 20th, 2024 from Nazko First Nation, residential school denial misinformation.

We write to you further to the letter Council received from Lhtako Dene Nation dated March 19th. It should go without saying that Nazko Council and community are extremely disturbed that a book is being distributed in the city that is spreading misinformation and supporting the denial of the negative impacts of residential school system on our elders and community members. We would hope that such behavior would be strongly unequivocally and unanimously condemned by Council in an effort to reduce the harm, pain, and re-traumatization that denialism claims cause for our people.

We are in full support of Lhtako Dene and all the First Nations in seeking transparency and appropriate accountability on this issue. It is critically important to the healing of our communities and this country that the truth about residential schools be understood and that these harms cease to be perpetuated or otherwise repeated. As such, we appreciate the various motions Quesnel Council passed in response to Lhtako’s prompting and we hope that Mayor and Council will show strong proactive leadership on this matter at every opportunity.

In order to further Nazko’s relationship with Quesnel City Council, we request a meeting with the city leadership at the earliest opportunity in order to discuss how we can further the relationship between the city and Nazko First Nation. Please advise of your earliest availability available opportunity in coming weeks to meet with our Council and senior staff.

Mitch Vik. Thank you very much. So there is a request embedded in the letter which begs some action on our part. I would entertain a motion to request our Indigenous liaison, Councillor Roodenburg, to work with staff to coordinate an earliest opportunity to have a meeting with the Nazko Nation. Seconder? Any comments on the motion on the floor? I’ll call the question.

All those in favor? Opposed? That’s carried.

We have a second letter which is number two which is a press release from the Quesnel Board of Education. Again, Rhea, would you kindly read that into the record?

Rhea: Press release dated March 21st. Quesnel Board of Education reaffirmed commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. The Quesnel Board of Education and Superintendent confirm receipt of the book titled, Grave Error, How Media Misled Us, and the Truth about Residential Schools, and the district denounces this book. The written and oral stories of those who have lived through the experience of residential schools are factual and have impacted generations of families in Canada and specifically in our region.

The truth of residential schools impacts all of us, especially those who lived and still live these atrocities, which includes generational impacts. We live with the responsibility to show care and compassion, and most importantly, to ensure a better future for all our students. The Quesnel School District is tasked with the responsibility of teaching children, along with the rest of us, about the atrocities of the past in order to grow and heal.

We do this with resources that are vetted for accuracy and integrity by partners such as First Nations Education Steering Committee and our local Aboriginal Education Council. The Board of Education and District respect and honour the stance of the Lhtako Dene in denouncing this book. The district stands with Lhtako Dene Nation, Nazko First Nation, Kluskus Dene Nation, Estila First Nation, Métis Nation, and all Indigenous partners in reaffirming our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

Mitch Vik. Thank you. And our third letter is from the North Cariboo Métis Association.

Rhea. Dated March 22nd, 2024, this letter is from the North Cariboo Métis Association in support of the letter written by Lhtako Dene Nation regarding the local distribution of a book written about residential schools entitled Grave Error.

This book is written solely to dispel the truth about residential school abuse and traumas affecting the lives of residential school survivors and their families. As Métis people, we had some of our elders residing in residential schools. It is important for all Indigenous people to take a stand so that these misconceptions stated in this book are not going to be taught to our children in schools.

We’ve all worked so hard with truth and reconciliation, and to lose all this progress would be devastating. The truth is that this abuse happened, and whether we like it or not, it has shaped our entire country. We are just beginning to heal.

It is said it will take at least seven generations. Let’s not make it longer by promoting books such as this one. There are books with facts that confirm the abuse suffered, and there are documents from some of these schools.

We are responsible to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. We urge people who don’t believe or understand to engage and talk to survivors and hear their stories. Check out the facts and documents from the National Archives of Canada, visit the local bands, the North Cariboo Métis office, the Friendship Centre, and make yourself aware of residential school history.

Mitch Vik. Thank you. Our last letter from new business is from the BCAFN.

Rhea. Dated March 22nd, 2024, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations congratulates City of Quesnel and Lhtako Dene Nation for leading the way on reconciliation.

(Lheidli T’enneh). The BC Assembly of First Nations is congratulating the Lhtako Dene Nation and the City of Quesnel for their work fighting against residential school denialism in Canada. When it came to light that the wife of Quesnel’s mayor was distributing denialist literature, the Council unanimously denounced the denialist book and supported the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Residential schools killed thousands of Indigenous children, which is a hard pill to swallow for many non-Indigenous Canadians who continue to believe in national myths of fairness and justice, said Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

But the Church’s own records confirm thousands of children never went home from these so-called schools. This is part of the history of this country, and denying these facts is extremely harmful to the progress we are making toward reconciliation, he continued. Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc first brought forward evidence of unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in 2021.

Since then, First Nations across Canada have found evidence of approximately 1,900 unmarked graves at 16 other former residential schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission found evidence of 3,213 deaths of children in residential school records, which they admit is unlikely to be a full accounting due to poor record-keeping and many records not surviving. Residential school denialism needs to be called out when we see it.

This is not a matter of opinion or free speech. It is hateful, harmful, and cannot be tolerated by Canadian society, said Regional Chief Teegee. It is incumbent on our allies among non-Indigenous Canadians to speak up when they are confronted by this poison.

The BCAFN applauds the work of the Lhtako Dene Nation and the City of Quesnel in stamping out denialism when confronted by it, he concluded. Denialists often focus on errors in reporting or claim that students benefited from residential schools in an attempt to sow doubt about the reality of the extreme harms committed against Indigenous peoples by the residential school system. Survivors’ stories, historical records, and the reports of staff at Indian Affairs, such as Peter Bryce, all confirm the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The residential school system was an attempt at cultural genocide. That this attempt was not successful is a testament to the resilience of Indigenous peoples and the strength of those who are forced to attend these institutions.

Mitch Vik. So with those four submissions, are there any questions from Council or comments? I see no questions or comments from Council.

We’re now going to move the correspondence from March 26, 2024, Prospectors’ Car Club. We will move that to our next Council meeting as well. So we move to, we’ll move right to gallery questions.

I’d first like to invite the leaders from, if they choose to, they may come and speak on behalf of their communities first. So Estella Nation, Nazko Nation, Kluskus Nation, Lhtako Dene, and Ndale Nation. I apologize if I’ve mispronounced any of that. You have the opportunity to come forward as you are representing multiple members of your community. If you’d like to come ask a question or make a comment, you may do that first.

Hold on. Hold on.

Someone from gallery. We look to the elders of this traditional territory first.

Mitch Vik. If I could kindly ask when you come to the mic, if you could tell us your name and the community you’re coming from.

Chief Clifford Lebrun. I take it this is on. Thank you. I’d just like to thank the Council for allowing us this opportunity to speak.

We’ve been kind of waiting for this chance to speak to what’s been going on. A lot of talk as Councillor Tony’s been a little crazy around the office and there’s a lot of questions that have come up and like we’re not really interested in answering them. When it comes to the content of that book, there’s no point.

As you guys mentioned, that’s for a separate meeting. Our issue is with the leadership of this town sending this book out into the public with little notes on the inside. The one that went to the school board said this is what the kids should learn to know the truth.

There’s something to that effect and it was a big hint that they wanted it added to the curriculum, which I think is just ridiculous. As a leader in my community, we’re very sensitive to what goes on in the community. What things can hurt our people and this definitely hurts our people.

Not only just the survivors that have to relive it again and wounds that have just been healed just a little bit from the findings into T’kemlups and Williams Lake First Nation and the other residential schools across Canada. This is not some ploy to get money. This is to get the truth out there and not the suffering that they did and now they’re reliving that pain because of this.

We can’t have a community that hands out hate literature and expect people to listen to us and take us seriously. We’re not going to support that and as a result that’s why Lhtako Dene Nation has taken the step of stepping away from working with City Council until this issue is resolved in some fashion or another. To deny what has happened, we have a whole room full of elders and survivors here.

They could go on all night and tell you what they went through. It hurts them that much that they would relive that just to let you know so you’d have a better understanding of what happened and to see that being denied and disgraced by people that just don’t believe in the facts. We’ve all seen the end results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.

This happened. It’s not going away and we have to learn from this and we got to learn that we can’t have hate spread through the community and when it hurts, not only hurts the elders, it hurts their grandchildren because the grandchildren see the pain on their grandma’s face and like why are you sad grandma? Well the truth is it’s a really sad story. We can’t forget it but we can’t exploit it and we cannot deny that it happened.

So we only see one step moving forward is that we can no longer work with despair and we will not work with the City of Quesnel until that issue has been resolved at some level and it’s unfortunate because we’ve done a lot of great works. We just co-hosted the Winter Games. That was a big pat on the back for all of us.

We did a great thing there working together. We brought this province together. There’s kids up there that didn’t even know what bannock was. Now they have a little idea of what our life is like and that one small little victory that just kind of says it all. But working together and working towards something that is good, how it can benefit everyone. Them kids are never going to forget that and the parents and stuff, the older ones are going to know that.

It was the First Nation and the City working together that made this happen. Even though some events weren’t held, it was a really great Games and we really enjoyed it. We enjoy working with the City.

The Lhtako Dene Park was a big achievement for us and one we’re very proud of. We have a lot of other projects that we want to advance too but we need to know that we’re working with respectful people and respect in a relationship comes with trust and when that trust is gone it’s really hard to get it back and that is the sad part here. So we urge that we all work together and denounce racism and denialism as a collective.

And that’s my hope for tonight is that we start towards that healing journey and not put up with this sort of denialism. We will not, just as you guys in your own homes, will not allow racism or hate to exist there and it shouldn’t exist in this floor either. It doesn’t exist in our office and we probably more than you guys have a lot more reasons to hate people than most people.

So we don’t do that. That’s not a solution. Working together and building a relationship is the solution here and that is impossible to do when there’s denialism and racism at the table.

Thank you very much.

Mitch Vik. Thank you Chief. Council would like to respond to the comment. Councillor Roodenburg.

Councillor Rooddenburg. Thank you. So Chief Lebrun, I know that this is an extremely hard evening for yourself and for your community as well as our surrounding communities. So thank you for having that strength to be able to come forward and speak tonight. I really do hope that we can meet, make something happen here that brings that trust back to our working relationship with the Council and with your community. What that looks like, I don’t know yet, but I hope that we can get to that point because we do have a, we have had a very good relationship on so many different fronts and we need to get back to that.

So thank you very much to you and to all of the elders who have come here who are willing to share their stories. That’s not an easy thing to even say that they want to do and we recognize that. So thank you very much for that.

Mitch Vik. Sorry Scott, I missed you.

Councillor Elliot. It’s okay Mr. Chair. Thank you.

I too would like to thank you Chief for coming forward and then speaking to us today. Words of wisdom and we have done great things. We had a chat earlier, and I don’t want to lose that. It’s so important. You’re our biggest partners and I’m going to try and do everything we can to repair this situation and keep us moving forward.

Thank you to everyone for coming out tonight. I’m sorry that you have to relive the pain. It’s unimaginable to me and I just, I don’t understand where the hate comes from, but I’m hoping we can get over this.

Mitch Vik. Thank you. You’re up. Thanks.

Chief Leah Stump. I just wanted to comment. I’m very disappointed that we’re still having to deal with this in 2024. I’m a second generation survivor. My mother, my aunties, all of my community members in that generation attended residential school and some of them have died without healing, without talking about it.

And in the last three years, we’ve started that healing journey and some of them are actually starting to heal. And every time something like this comes up, it just brings us back down again and having to start over. And that’s what people don’t understand, is that when we’re in our communities and we’re trying to heal with our people and then having something like this happen, it breaks the trust.

So the relationship between the city and Nazko, like all relationships, is based on trust. We don’t trust very often. We haven’t had a good history to trust anybody.

And the mayor has broken the trust with all First Nations, I believe. We should not be having to prove that residential schools hurt our people. We should be working together on reconciliation and healing.

While we as a Nazko First Nation, we don’t have the confidence in the mayor, we hope that the Council will commit to continue working with us on reconciliation and the partnerships that we were working on together. And I just believe that our community deserves better. Us as people, our elders, we deserve better than having to come here to prove that our people went to residential schools, to prove that we were hurt, that we were broken.

We deserve better.

Mitch Vik. Thank you. Chief Stump.

Are there any other chiefs who would like to come forward?

Push the button.

Charlene Belleu. [Indigenous words] I just said my traditional name in my Chilcotin language, Eagle Star Woman.

I attended St. Joseph’s Mission for four years. I attended St. Joseph’s Mission during the time that Bishop O’Connor was sexually abusing girls and forcing our children to be given away. My family attended residential school. My uncle [sic] committed suicide there in 1920.

I should have brought the book, so if you want to read the truth, Victims of Benevolence, authored by Dr. Elizabeth Furness, researched what happened to our children and documented in detail how they died. There was a nun that was looking after the children that gave a detailed account of how my uncle [sic] died because he was not considered Catholic, suicide is not Catholic, they buried him somewhere on St. Joseph’s Mission grounds. So I’m part of an investigative team at St. Joseph’s Mission trying to find not only my uncle [sic], but several other children that were at times taken by other children to bury.

 The documents that we’ve recovered about my uncle’s [sic] suicide and burial come from your provincial archives. They come from your federal offices that have withheld these records for years. The stories are being told and shared by our elders in what they remember about grandpa, uncle, and so many others.

I am grateful to be working with the Williams Lake First Nation where the mayor and the council embrace reconciliation to the full extent. They stand with us at funerals. They stand with us when there are ceremonies that are happening at the St. Joseph’s Mission grounds. And they hold our elders, and they feed our elders, and they take care of our elders. We’re very proud of that relationship, and we need to continue that

 I also do work with the other 21 institutions across the province, 18 residential schools, and three Indian hospitals that are doing the same work looking for these missing children that never came home. Each and every one of those projects are strong.

Natle is here today. They’re very strong in their commitment to find their missing children. We have the province standing with us and have provided some level of funding for the work that needs to be done.

We have the support, limited support of the federal government. On the weekend, we heard from the Archbishop willing to open Catholic records. We now need them to stand up with us in the denialism.

They need to be able to stand up and say, yes, we ran those institutions. Yes, we lost your children. Yes, they never went home, and this is where we buried them.

I look forward to them finding my uncle [sic], bringing him home, to be able to bury him with a level of respect that he should have had as a child. He committed suicide because they were hanging them on wooden poles and lashing them until they passed out. Who wants to live like that as a child? Our people have hurt for generations.

I’ve been doing this work for 30 years. I’m grateful for the guidance of our ancestors that told us we would go through this deep, dark period in our lives and that our people will be stronger for what we’ve been through. Damn rights I’m strong, and I want you to be strong too.

I want you to be able to listen and understand. I want you to be out there when we’re looking for our children. I want you to be there to pray for forgiveness that this is what has happened to our children.

I admire all of the elders, the survivors that are here, many of them I went to school with. It’s good to see them when I see them, but I don’t want you to say that this didn’t happen because I’m living proof. My uncle [sic] was there. He committed suicide. I look forward to finding him and bringing him home.

So again, thank you for for allowing me to say a few words, and if there is learning in all of this for you, reach out to other mayors, reach out to other councils, reach out to other regional districts, what it is they’re doing to be able to know and understand.

Take time to go out to Nazko, Kluskus, and to the communities. Have a sweat lodge with them. Dance with them. Have coffee. Have bannock. Listen, learn, and understand.

Embrace what could be and needs to be a stronger relationship between all of us. Again, so thank you for allowing me time. Thank you. [Indigenous word]

Mitch Vik. Thank you.

Judy Baptiste. [Indigenous wordd]. It’s a pleasure to be sitting here and to be able to speak on behalf of some of my community members. I’m really in support of my my nations here and what we’re doing in trying to educate and trying to understand why, why are we still here? Why are we still doing this? It’s such a painful thing, as you heard.

Thank you, Chief Charlene, for sharing everything with us today. I just want to ask you the questions, when you sit down today or sometime tonight, you sit at the kitchen table and you’re talking to your families. What are you talking about? All those things that you speak about and you live in your life day to day, it is heard by the children, it’s heard by your families, and it’s filtered out. So whether you support or don’t support your wife in giving out the books, you still sit at those same tables. You’re still sitting there with your families.

And you’re still educating each other in a negative way. It still goes out to our children, still goes out to the schools. We have a hard enough time as it is dealing with all the traumas that we had and now having tried to heal through our traumas for our children and having to keep doing this over and over again.

I pray for some reconciliation and that we’ll be able to understand and to come out and like what Chief Charlene said, come out to our communities. Come and see how beautiful our people are. Come and see how generous we are. Come and see how much fun we have and that we are so strong and that we are not going anywhere. We’ll always be here. As long as the rivers flow, we will be here. And we’re not going anywhere. Our ancestors, their blood has been on this land for thousands and thousands of years. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

I really have this, really appreciate the time to be able to educate a little bit. And I hope that our children never have to go through this again. And I hope that our children will be able to take this time to know and to be proud, to be proud of who they are.

The struggle to find, you know, to find the equality nowadays is, you know, it shouldn’t have to happen that way. So on behalf of my elders and all of our survivors here and of our nations, we are here supporting.

We do ask that you step down. You know, we ask that we step down and so that we can, so we can move on. Or at least educate more.

So with that, I just want to say [Indigenous word] I hope everybody is okay and that our elders will be okay today and everybody takes care of each other as we always have And we always will. [Indigenous words]

Mitch Vik. Thank you.

Unidentified Speaker. And lay afraid. She junior. Betty Squinas. Those are my parents. My dad was a chief for 25 years. He was also hereditary chief. He went to residential school and so did my mother. My aunts and uncles.

Because of the residential school, I didn’t learn my language. I didn’t know my culture until they got older. It’s very tough to hear this book being passed out to everyone or being published.

Things like that, like the elected chiefs here spoke about is, it’s wrecking our community, stuff like that. It ruined a perfectly good relationship between two nations. Whether you like it or not, these are many nations coming together and that one book ruined the relationship.

It makes me very angry. It made a lot of my elders angry. A lot of the ones that went to residential school are angry.

I grew up in the city of Quesnel. I know the history of city of Quesnel. Many of you, or a few of you, aren’t originally from Quesnel and probably don’t even know the history.

My dad made sure that I knew the history and that’s what he carried out to all of my siblings and myself, is that we know the history. Lhtako Dene used to be the biggest tribe in the area, the biggest village. We had over 30,000 people in our village, pre-contact.

We had pit houses in the villages downtown Quesnel, along the riverbank. All up in Johnson Sub, Carson Sub, there’s pit houses. Those were all plowed into the river so that the city of Quesnel can exist as a stopping place to Barkerville. That is our history we have together. Out of that 30,000 people in the village, there was less than 200 left. And those 200 barely survived till now. That is our history between Quesnel and Lhtako Dene. That’s a tough history.

And we were working together with the city on many projects, trying to mend that relationship between the two nations. And this one act ruined it all. It hurt a lot of people. It hurt my children. It hurt a lot of people.

So I stand behind the elected leadership, and not working with the city of Quesnel.

Before this, I was elected chief as well. I’ve tried to work projects with the city. And it was very tough. There were a lot of council members on the city of Quesnel that wouldn’t work with us when I was elected chief. There was a lot of city councils that wouldn’t work with my father when he was chief of Lhtako. And that was all pure racism.

I’m glad to see that we have Indigenous representation at your table, and you hold on to that. Because our people went through a lot.

And we hold a lot of knowledge, and we hold a lot of wisdom. So it’s up to you guys to prove yourselves to our nations, to prove that you’re worthy to come back to the table. I know some of you. I know some of you since I was young. And I know that our nations may be able to work together again. But that’s going to take a long time. Because it took that long for us to work together now. 150 years.

So you guys have a lot of work to do. It’s not up to us anymore. We reached out. Our people has always reached out to other nations to help them. We helped out the Chinese miners. Our people, the Lhtako Dene people, helped out the Chinese miners. They couldn’t survive through the winters here. We showed them how to live through the winters here, out in Barkerville. That’s what our people did. That’s our history. We helped. We helped the first settlers survive.

We helped. Lhtako Dene, every year when the salmon came up the river, all the other nations came. Because they wanted that salmon. And we gave them spots along the riverbank there. Designated spots for each nation to set up camp and fish as much as they can so they can feed their families. We are a helpful nation. That’s what we are. But you guys, not you guys all, but the mayor himself by promoting this book is ruining that and ruined that relationship. So you guys have a lot to do.

And like the other chief said, come to our sweats. Come to our ceremonies. Heal yourself. Prove yourself to us. And then maybe our nations can do business again. So thank you.

Mitch Vik. At this time, and thank you for, thank you very much. At this time, we will invite other individuals to come. Oh, I’m sorry. There’s one more chief. I apologize.

Unidentified Speaker. Good evening. I came from Nautley. My name is Cheney. I was given the name Martin, Martin Louie, because of the Christianity. Cheney is who I live by. The Uncadinay people are a great nation of people. From Quesnel all the way to Ulgacho, north to Stuart Lake, this is our land. And you are all doing business on this land. And we’re looking for respect. That’s what we live by. We live by truth. We live by trust, generosity, and compassion. That’s what our people do.

I never heard anything like that come out today. And you, I don’t know if you know who we are, or what we do, or why we live the way we do.

My grandpa always told me, when you speak, don’t speak from here. You hurt people. You speak from here. That way you’ll know what goes on in life. Obviously, you didn’t do that.

 And we live, we live by protecting everything that’s out there. Everything. You talk about reconciliation. The only reason reconciliation is there is because we own the land. By the court of law of Canada and B.C., we own the land. They can’t take us to court anymore, we’ll keep winning.

So I have to reconcile somehow. And that’s what this is about. If you all know who we are as people, we don’t need to be sitting here doing this. You don’t know what our people went through because of racism, because of the land and the resources that’s out there. They came and gave us the Indian Act to live by. And we did that faithfully because the residential school was supposed to give us education to do what we have to do out on the territory.

But they didn’t do that. They abused physically, mentally, sexually, verbally, our people. And we’re probably the third generation of people that is living through this thing here, the residential school.

One was right in Nautley. Few kilometers away, maybe 10 kilometers, our people go there and never came home. Been abused in every type of abuse you can find.

And because I have nothing against religion, because of religion and the belief that we have as Encadenae people, it’s of the spirit. And that’s why we try to protect everything out there. That spirit, I talk about, is the same thing that comes into your head. Same thing that comes in. You make sure it comes out properly. We came a long way as people, suffered a lot as people.

And I woke up one morning and my daughter was showing me this thing about what’s going on over here. And I was thinking, what the hell? I thought we were just about getting to a point where we’re going to start talking, really having a good conversation about the resources.

It all went away because somebody didn’t use this thing. They use this of what they think they know. What you know is right here.

We didn’t, when Europeans came, we didn’t chase them out, we invited them. We had to learn. And they took advantage of it. They took advantage of us, of our generosity, of our kindness, of our compassion. And trust. And use that to destroy our people.

If you’re a man, you would just step down. And learn. Learn about our ways. Learn about our ways. And why we do what we do. We’re born to protect everything that’s out there. Every, everything. You think we’re troublemakers? We’re not. We look into the future for our kids. That’s where we look. We don’t look at, oh, we’re going to get a lot of money tomorrow, we better do this right now. We don’t do that.

We make sure our kids are safe in the future. And that’s what you guys should do too. The more people, the Yenca Dene, people that’s in the council here, it’ll go farther, way farther than just, you have to understand who we are as Yyenca Dene.

We’re people of the earth. I’d like to thank you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this in life. But just imagine what we had to go through in life. This is only two weeks for you. Our kids got raised in this situation.

And I hope you guys sit down and make the right decision about what you’re going to do to move forward, because every resource out there belongs to us by the court of Canada, it says that. So that’s why reconciliation is here. [Indigenous words]

Roy Nusky [Indigenous words] One of you want to translate, please? My name is Roy Nusky. I work with Nautleywuten(?) as a band council.

I was at the residential school for eight years. And like I said, that everything above happened. Sure, I got a strap. Sure, I got. So that’s why I got hearing aid on both sides. Because of that. Speaking my language.

Unidentified Speaker. One hurts, we all hurt.

Speaking my language. Even though I still move forward. See that healing my heart. Not very easy. Not very easy to forgive. Took me the longest years, 20 years of my life in Skid Row. Cover up the pain. Alcohol, cover up the pain, shooting up. But 75, 1975, the help of Cowichan elders, this is where I moved forward. Water ceremony, get rid of all the negative stuff from residential school.

And since that time, honestly, I respect the RCMP for bringing me to Oakalla prison farm. You know, them people, they’re so nice to me. They open a door for you. When you go inside, they close the door for you. I never get a strap. That was the respect I got from them.

And I had to fill paper out. Wow, six weeks boot camp, Campbell River. I learned how to respect myself. I learned how to dress myself. Not like when I was in Skid Row. And all that stuff I did was covering up the pain of residential school.

And it’s not easy to let go. Forgiveness is the hardest thing for me to go through. But now I respect RCMP.

I respect the priests. One of them is in Vancouver, got old with me. But he end up in old people’s home. Maybe he’s got room there for me, I’m not sure.

And talking about it [Indigenous words]. I’m very happy we got all different communities behind me. As one, we’re stronger to move forward [Indigenous words]. I thank you

Brian Paul. I’d sit down, but no. My name is Brian Paul. No relation to that man. I’m an elder. I’m an elder from the Takotane Nation. I’m a survivor. I’m a survivor from St. Joseph Mission School.

In that book, what they wrote. Whoever wrote that book, they weren’t in residential school with us. They didn’t know what we went through. But I did. How they treated us. They beat us. Sexually abused us. Took our language away. Our spirituality.

Now I got that back. I got my spirituality back. I do sweat lodges.

Like the chief said, you should all come to the sweat. And experience it with us. So we can work together. Not turn our backs on each other.

That book is just a bunch of lies. I was trying to read it. And I couldn’t read it. Tears started coming down my eyes. It hurt me. Hurt me right here. So I threw that book down. And I was thinking. I should bring that book here. I have it outside there. And I’m going to burn that book. Right in front of you. You don’t give our children that book. Trying to get the children be against us. It’s not the way.

As First Nations people we tell the truth. We don’t lie. That’s what that book is. Is a lie. We always told the truth. No matter what.

So Ron, do us a big favor and step down.

Mitch Vik. We’re going to open up the mic to others who’d like to come up and say a comment or a question. I’ll remind everyone who remains in the gallery – excuse me – be respectful. Let those that are speaking say what they need to say. And remember that there’s many behind you that want to speak. So please keep your comments brief. To the point, if there’s a question, I will seek help on this horseshoe here who can help answer the question. And as I stated earlier. When you come to sit down, please state your name and the community you come from.

Pat Morton. Hi. My name is Pat Morton. And I’m from Quesnel.

Show some respect.

Person in the gallery. You’ve said enough.

Pat Morton. I understand, I understand many of you wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for me. So first of all I’d like to say I’m sorry you’re here under, I’ll say I’m sorry you’re here due to the actions of this council. I’m sorry if my actions sharing the book have upset you. But first of all, I have to say. And I’d like you to listen to me.I listened to you. So you please listen to me. First of all, I have to say I’m hurt that I’ve been put in this position, one that could have been defused. I’m asking you to listen. I believe in love, not hate. And what your [inaudible], it’s not love.

Councill Elliott. Point of order, Mr. Chair. As you mentioned, it should be brief. There should be a question, or for clarity. This is not to be a speech led by Mrs Morton.

Pat Morton.  I’m speaking like everyone else. I did not write the book Grave Error. It was published in December of 2023, and I ordered it from…

Councillor Roodenburg. Point of order. We know about the book. What is your question?

Pat Morton. I didn’t. You guys did

Councillor Roodenburg. Point of order, Chair.

Mitch Vik. Please come to the question.

Pat Morton: I’m asking a question. I did ask Connie Goulet if she would like to give me an opinion on the book, and she agreed.

Councillor Elliott. Point of order Mr. Chair. There is no question here.

Pat Morton. There weren’t questions either before.

Councillor Elliott. The chiefs were allowed to have a conversation.They were speaking for their whole nations. Okay. You’ve been told clearly that you can come up here and ask for a point of clarity or a question.

Pat Morton. I don’t believe I was told that. I figured this was going to be…

Councillor Elliott. Mr. Chair, please.

Mitch Vik. Pat, we need a question or a comment.

Pat Morton. Okay. So my question. Mr. Goulet, why did you take my…

Councillor Elliott. Point of order, Chair. All of the questions must come through you, and you can decide where they are going.

Pat Morton. Let’s go. Mr. Chair, could you please have – sorry I’m really rattled – Councillor Goulet to explain why he took the book that I gave his mother for an opinion, that I asked for an opinion of his mother and made…

Mitch Vik. Please let the question be answered, asked.

Person in gallery. She has something to say too.  You listened to everybody else.

Person in gallery. We already heard what she has to say.

Mitch Vik. Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen. Please if we cannot conduct this in an orderly fashion we will conclude this.

Pat Morton. I believe that’s what they wrote on the on Facebook that they intended to do so we couldn’t speak.

Mitch Vik. Please Ms. Morton. Please ask your question.

Pat Morton. I wonder why Councillor, can you explain to me why Councillor Roodenburg as the Indigenous relations representative didn’t come and talk to me about her concerns when rumors were spreading in this community.

Mitch Vik. Question to Councillor Roodenburg.

Councillor Roodenburg. I have no need to have your opinion when I work with First Nations.

Pat Morton. Excuse me. I would like to ask the question why the Indigenous relations representative for the city did not feel compelled to come and talk to me when the rumors were spread about the community about what I’ve done.

Councillor Roodenburg. Thank you. So my business is with the mayor not with you and it’s his actions that we are condemning tonight. Don’t care about the book, Pat Morton. What we care about is the fact that you have no respect for your husband as the mayor of this city and here is the fallout to your actions in the community.

Pat Morton. I’m asking among you…

Councillor Roodenburg. How many questions do we allow? Point of order, Mr Chair, how many questions do we allow?

Mitch Vik. Final question Ms. Morton.

Pat Morton. I have to find a question for you. Are you aware that I’ve been to that I lived in Port Alberni near a residential school and that I attended that residential school at a dance.

Councillor Roodenburg. Point of order again. That has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.If you want to talk about your good opportunities or what your people have done in residential school great take it outside. That has nothing to do with what’s going on in this chamber right now with the mayor.

Mitch Vik. Thank you, Ms Morton.

State your name and your community where you’re from.

Frances Widdowson. So just for a point of clarification, how many questions are we allowed to ask?

Mitch Vik. Supposed to be a comment or a question.

Frances Widdowson. Okay, my name is Frances Widdowson. I’m a professor. Was a professor at Mount Royal University and I am a senior fellow with the Frontier Center for Public Policy and a board member for this…

Mitch Vik. Please let the individual ask the question or state the comment. Thank you.

Frances Widdowson. And I’m a board member for the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship. My question is about the attachment or the item concerning the press release, a news release from the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations. On this press release it states that the T’kemlups te Secwepemc, the Kamloops Band, first brought forward evidence of unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in 2021.

Councillor Roodenburg. Point of order. If she has a question to that organization, she needs to…

Frances Widdowson. No, I have a question about this being read into the record here.

Does the council concern itself with misinformation? Is it opposed to misinformation being spread and entered into the record? If so, does it agree that this is misinformation because there is no evidence of unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School? So do you agree that misinformation should be spread in your records?

Councillor Elliott.  Point of order, Mr Chairman.

Mitch Vik. Councillor Roodenburg, would you like to [unintellible] with that?

Councillor Roodenburg. This is a question coming from a tenured professor who was actually fired from her role in the department of Economics, Justice and Policy Studies at Mount Royal in Calgary following allegations of workplace harassment and intimidation. This was during controversy. This happened around comments she made on how residential schools had positive educational benefits, and when she questioned if the abuse that occurred actually equates to cultural genocide as described in the Truth and Reconciliation Act [sic].

You really have no place here asking your questions. We really don’t want to hear from you.

Frances Widdowson. You didn’t answer my question.You didn’t answer my question. Do you think that the council should be spreading misinformation?

Councillor Elliott. Point of order, Mr. Chair. Her opinion in this chamber does not count.

She’s asking us to comment on something that comes from qualified individuals that dealt with this, that lived through this. Ma’am, you are not welcome here. These things are just out of control.

Frances Widdowson. So you’re not going to answer my question? So you’re not going to answer the question? Is that correct?

Mitch Vik. Okay, the question.

Frances Widdowson. Do you agree that the council should spread misinformation? There is no evidence of unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. And we need to have the report released from the Beaulieu report.

Councillor Elliott. Mr. Chair, there is no question here.

Frances Widdowson. And we need to have excavations. Excavations are needed to make that determination.

Councillor Elliott. We need to just stop her from talking.

Frances Widdowson. Answer my question.Do you agree that you should spread misinformation?

Councillor Elliott. There is no answer to this question.

Councillor Elliott. Mr. Chair, I’d move for adjournment.

Mitch Vik. I tend to agree. However, it looks like it’s quieting down. Is there any other questions coming from the gallery? Not seeing any further questions from the gallery, I will call for an adjournment.

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