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Book burning hatched by Canadian school board to reconcile with Indigenous people seen as big faux pas. Even woke PM Justin Trudeau panned it.

Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It's come out recently that a French-speaking school board in Ontario, Canada, held a book burning in 2019 as an act of reconciliation with Indigenous people, the National Post reported — but now there's oeuf all over their faces.


Called a "flame purification" ceremony, the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence burned about 30 books for "educational purposes," the Post reported — citing Radio Canada which first disclosed the act — after which the ashes were used as fertilizer to plant a tree.

"We bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security," a video prepared for students about the book burning said, according to the Post, citing Radio Canada.

In the end, more than 4,700 books were removed from library shelves at 30 schools, and they've all been destroyed or are in the process of being recycled, the Post said, citing Radio Canada.

The project was intended "to make a gesture of openness and reconciliation by replacing books in our libraries that had outdated content and carried negative stereotypes about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people," the Post added.

However, Lyne Cossette, the board's spokesperson, told the outlet, "We regret that we did not intervene to ensure a more appropriate plan for the commemorative ceremony and that it was offensive to some members of the community. We sincerely regret the negative impact of this initiative intended as a gesture of reconciliation."

Even woke Justin Trudeau panned the book burning

One might be inclined to assume that far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would have no problem burning books that get in the way of the woke movement.

After all, he's on the record as saying free speech "is not without limits" following last year's grisly murders in a French church amid worldwide Muslim anger over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. And in 2018, he publicly corrected a woman at a town hall in British Columbia because she didn't use gender-inclusive language.

But even Trudeau views the book burning as the faux pas it was.

Trudeau said it's not the job of non-Indigenous people "to tell Indigenous people how they should feel or act to advance reconciliation. On a personal level, I would never agree to the burning of books," the Post reported.

Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, at a press conference said, "we don't burn books," according the outlet. He added, "We expose ourselves to history, we explain it, we demonstrate how society has evolved or must evolve," the Post said.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole tweeted that a "Conservative government will be committed to reconciliation. But the road to reconciliation does not mean tearing down Canada. I strongly condemn the burning of books," the outlet noted.

Anything else?

The Post, citing Radio Canada, said the 165-page school board document includes analyses of all the books removed from shelves.

More from the outlet:

Among them are classic titles, such as Tintin in America, which was withdrawn for its "negative portrayal of indigenous peoples and offending Aboriginal representation in the drawings."

Also removed were books that allegedly contain cultural appropriation, as well as outdated history books, such as two biographies of Jacques Cartier, a French explorer who mapped the St. Lawrence, and another of explorer Étienne Brûlé.
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