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Vancouver PPC candidate doubles down on comparison of COVID-19 passport to residential schools

The Vancouver Quadra candidate faced condemnation from the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations earlier this week

Vancouver Quadra’s People’s Party of Canada candidate is not backing down after facing criticism when her campaign delivered 52,000 pamphlets comparing B.C.’s COVID-19 passport to residential schools.

On Wednesday (Sept. 15), Renate Siekmann posted images of the pamphlet to her Twitter account. That same day Terry Teegee, the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Regional Chief said the comparison was “harmful and repugnant” and the assembly called for Siekmann’s removal from the party. 

Specifically, Siekmann compared the pass system developed in 1885 by the federal government to confine Indigenous people to reserves. The pass system remained in effect in various locations and in various degrees of enforcement until it was phased out in the 1930s.

“Entire generations of our peoples were stolen from their families and communities. They were tortured, physically and sexually abused, and murdered. They lost their languages and cultures, and thousands of our precious children never came home,” Teegee said. “An inconvenient interruption in your social life to save lives during a deadly pandemic is not discrimination.” 

Three days later Siekmann published a video responding to the backlash.

“It's disappointing to see Indigenous leaders like Terry Teegee from the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations and Wayne Sparrow from the Musqueam Indian band argue in favour of today's segregation," Siekmann said. “Gaslighting such a simple message reveals their ignorance, and it reveals that they represent special interest groups above First Nations people.”

Siekmann then goes on to slam Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his promise to bring clean drinking water to all First Nations communities and accuses the Liberal government of bribing Canadian media.

As part of BCAFN’s earlier condemnation, the assembly also called for PPC leader Maxime Bernier to publicly apologize. Instead, Siekmann demands her critics make amends with her.

“I demand an apology for the slanderous statements made against me, and I assure you, I have no intention of resigning as candidate,” she writes in an email release.

In another video, released Sunday, Sept. 19, she calls for the arrest of Dr. Bonnie Henry for the vaccination and vaccination card programs.