The Providence School Board, a school board that gathers schools in the southwestern province of Ontario, he was the one who decided Check out thousands of books from over 30 Canadian schools. According to the authorities, the objective is to point towards “a more inclusive country” and put an end to the “Racism, discrimination and stereotypes, hoping to grow ”.
This measure affected important books such as Tintin and Asterix by Jacques Cartier, and even covered some Disney stories like Pocahontas. The argument for this displacement? They were withdrawn for their “Negative representation of indigenous peoples and the offensive aboriginal representation of the drawings ”.
The school board not only set aside the school books, but also he burned most of the titles and used the ashes as fertilizer to plant a tree. In turn, some of the books were recycled to compensate for the controversial initiative.
The ceremony of “Purification of flames” It began in 2019, for “educational purposes”, but was interrupted by the pandemic. In this reboot he reached more popularity, but did not have the approval of a part of society, and even garnered harsh criticism from political leaders Canadians, including the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
The reasons for the measure
Lyne Cossette, spokesman for the school board, justified the burning of the books and clarified that “They had outdated or inappropriate content.” In dialogue with the newspaper National Post, explained that “many Aboriginal intellectuals and elders participated and were consulted in various stages, from the conceptualization, the evaluation of the books and the idea of planting trees with the ashes.”
The controversial project, titled “Give Back to the earth” (“Return to earth”), was intended to represent “openness and reconciliation”, therefore the measure was to replace books of “Outdated content” or with “negative stereotypes” by others with “positive and inclusive” messages, according to Cossette.
The highest authority of the school board also referred to the criticism who received the initiative. “We regret not having secured a more appropriate plan that was offensive to some members of the community,” explained Cossette, who also added: “We sincerely regret the negative impact of this initiative which is intended to be a gesture of reconciliation “.
In addition, the school board released a 165 page document in which it includes a detailed analysis of all the books that were removed from the shelves and the reason that accompanied the decision.
The government of Canada, against
As expected, this project had a significant impact both nationally and internationally. So much so that the liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, He came out at the crossroads of the measure and publicly criticized it. “On a personal level, I would never agree to a book burn”, Shooting.
It also sowed a controversy that is very recurrent these days. Trudeau said that “It is not up to non-indigenous people to tell indigenous people how they should feel”, thus holding the Providence School Board responsible for the measure, and separating the original communities from criticism.
But the criticism did not only come from the liberal arch, because Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the social democratic party Bloc Québécois, he also had time to talk about the situation. “We expose ourselves to history, we explain it, we demonstrate how society has evolved or should evolve”Blanchet said, in line with Trudeau.
The conservative leader Erin O’Toole she was not silent either. “A conservative government will be committed to reconciliation. But the road to reconciliation does not mean bringing down Canada. I strongly condemn the burning of books, “he wrote on his personal Twitter.