A Vancouver Island business owner has apologized after comparing children being mandated to wear masks in B.C. schools to the residential school system, sparking concern from a local First Nation chief.
Angie Roussin, the owner of Pina Styles printing shops in Tofino and Ucluelet, made a post on Instagram on April 2. In it, she said “kindergarten kids are being asked to wear masks all day.”
In B.C. schools, masks are required for students in Grade 4 and up, although younger kids are encouraged to wear them.
“Our government is harming our kids on purpose like they have done with so many children in the past. All our schools have become residential schools,” read Roussin’s caption.
The post, which has since been edited to remove the comparison that sparked outrage, included an apology, but not before it was shared widely on social media.
“My deepest apologies to all the Indigenous people that have suffered enough and to everyone that I hurt.”
“The purpose was to highlight the horrors of our Canadian government and that the worst crimes against humanity were not only legal, but mandated.”
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Chief Moses Martin told Black Press Media he was grieved to hear of Roussin’s comments.
Martin is a survivor of Canada’s residential school system. His older brother died in residential school. Another of his siblings came home, but with a broken back.
“I’ll put a mask on any day instead of the experience that I had,” Martin said.
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