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Indigenous MPPs refuse to sing God Save the Queen in legislature

Recent rule changes include singing the royal anthem once a month.
Sol Mamakwa
Sol Mamakwa is the NDP MPP for the Northwestern Ontario riding of Kiiwetinoong (Tbnewswatch file)

QUEEN'S PARK —  Kiiwetinoong NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa and two other Indigenous members of the legislature are protesting against the singing of God Save the Queen in the Ontario legislature.

Calling it a celebration of the province's colonial past, the three New Democrats waited outside the chamber Monday while their colleagues sang the royal anthem.

The Progressive Conservative government recently changed some rules of procedure in the legislature, including having MPPs sing God Save the Queen – in addition to O Canada – on the first Monday of each month.

Mamakwa, and NDP members Guy Bourgouin of Mushkegowuk-James Bay and Suze Morrison of Toronto Centre, say they will only enter the chamber after God Save the Queen is completed.

Speaking in the legislature, Mamakwa said "as settlers in this province, there are people in this house that may want to sing the anthem that celebrates violence, and discrimination carried out by the British Empire. But for me, as a First Nations person, I will not celebrate colonialism."

Mamakwa said colonialism and racism remain the foundation that the institutions of Ontario and Canada were built on.

"I see the revival of God Save the Queen in this house as a step backwards, a shift from modern reconciliation to a past that celebrated the colonialism that sought the destruction of cultures, languages and communities...I cannot be part of it," he added.

Later in the proceedings Monday, after delivering a statement on an unrelated topic, Haldimand–Norfolk PC MPP Toby Barrett concluded his remarks by saying "God save the Queen." 

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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