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deceiveKevin Annett, of the Republican Party of Kanata, is seeking to field a candidate in the upcoming federal election ("Republican Party of Kanata states intentions, offers candidate", Owen Sound Hub, http://owensoundhub.org/ottawa-queens-park/on-election-2019/7879-republican-party-of-kanata-states-intentions-offers-candidate.html accesses September 3 2019).

Mr. Annett may be a fringe candidate with a risible philosophy, a defrocked minister who claims that his party reflects the wishes of "nearly 60% of Canadians" (according to his website, though he does not provide a source for this figure) in their desire to do away with ties to the Crown. But that's OK. It's one of the strengths of our democracy that fringe elements can find a home, or can at least be tolerated. If someone wants to establish a republican government here, more power to them. If only that were all there was to Mr. Annett.

There are limits to tolerance, as we all know, and as I interpret him, Mr. Annett pushes those limits past breaking. Hate speech is met with a swift response wherever it is encountered; for example, Holocaust deniers are promptly dealt with. In the figure of Mr Annett, however, we have something absolutely novel and perhaps just as insidious: a conscious and unconscionable misrepresenter of the facts surrounding the worst tragedy in this country's history – our treatment of the First Nations, and in particular, the circumstances around residential schools.

Mr Annett, as is explored in depth in a substantial article by Terry Glavin in The Tyee ("Truth and Native Abuse", https://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/04/30/TruthAndAbuse/ , accessed September 3 2019), has built a career out of distorting the facts behind the residential schools, making a slew of unsupported and unprovable accusations of specific instances of mass murder and torture that amount to an affront to the memories and legacies of the actual victims of the schools, and which threaten the fragile process of reconciliation. I will not dignify Mr. Annett's assertions by quoting them here. They can be found in detail in the above-mentioned article. Suffice it to say that they are numerous, they are sordid, they are utterly unsubstantiated and rejected by First Nations people, and they mock the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I have no idea why this man has decided to create crimes to add to what is already a wretched list of real atrocities. I can only assume that he seeks notoriety. If so, he is doing so in a thoroughly repulsive manner and should at the very least be ignored. I for one would go a step further, however. Deliberate falsehood in matters of public record in sensitive areas should be countered with the full force of the truth and the law, and the truth is that M. Annett's skewing of history is a form of hate speech current legislation doesn't have a handle on, allowing him to slip through the cracks of acceptability. But that is a flimsy pretext for allowing him to continue with his hateful platform.

Richard-Yves Sitoski
Owen Sound

source: letter




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