Flags celebrating Canada Day defaced

A homeowner in Fairfield is putting up a second round of Canadian flags after his Canada Day decorations were defaced with messages referencing the country’s colonial history.

Jim Pungente hung 18 flags on his fence ahead of Canada Day. On Friday, he found 15 of the flags had been vandalized with messages written in black spray paint that bled through to this fence.

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The messages said “Genocide,” “You are on native land,” and “F*** KKKanada.”

KKKanada was often seen on signs during demonstrations opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern B.C., and the residential school system has been referred to as cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Pungente said he wasn’t worried about the cost of the flags or the damage to his fence, but he was upset to see the flag defaced.

“It’s just irresponsible and really childish,” he said.

Pungente and his wife have lived in the area for 52 years, and they have been decorating for Canada Day for the past few years. This is the first time they have seen any of their flags defaced, but Pungente said his weren’t the only ones hit.

A neighbour from a few streets away came by his house and told him that her flag had also been vandalized with black spray paint.

“I think the whole neighbourhood got hit,” he said. “It’s a shame.”

Canada Day celebrations have drawn criticism for ignoring the country’s harmful past, and Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 saw parallel events held to draw attention to Canada’s history of colonialism.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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