Episode #106 — Graves at Kamloops Residential School, Doug Ford’s Pandemic Vacation & More

Shoes & boots set up at Peterborough’s City Hall as a memorial to the 215 Indigenous children who died at Kamloops Indian Residential School, June 2, 2021 (Photo: Bill Templeman)

The staggering news about the graves found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School broke across the country on the May 24 long weekend. The impact of this news continues to echo across the country as non-Indigenous citizens continue to listen, try to understand and for some, try not to look at what has happened. Indigenous people have lived with intimate knowledge & experience of this abuse for decades. Now the rest of us must make room for these disturbing images in our national mirror.

Reports about the abuse that occurred in the Indian Residential Schools across Canada are beginning to break through our best efforts to ignore them.  The 2017 film Indian Horse was shot here in Peterborough using the former convent at the Mount as a stand-in for a residential school.  The film, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Richard Wagamese, traces the life of a gifted Indigenous hockey player from his childhood to late adulthood.  As a child this hockey player attended a residential school; the film explores the abuses he suffered at the hands of school staff and the impact of this abuse on his career. 

A large auditorium at Trent University here in Peterborough is named after Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy who at the age of 12 ran away from a residential school in Kenora and died of starvation and exposure while trying to walk back home to his family at Ogoki Post, 600 kms away in the fall of 1966.  The Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie wrote a concept album based on Wenjack’s escape. The album, dubbed Secret Path, was released on October 18, 2016, along with a concurrent graphic novel of Wenjack’s story by novelist Jeff Lemire and an animated film that aired on CBC Television.

So, the story of the residential schools has been told, but not everyone has listened. This is not simply another news item we can hear, then ignore.

The former Senator and Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Honourable Murray Sinclair, has said that he fully expects more graves to be discovered.  The official estimate published by the TRC references a possible 3 to 4 thousand additional victims.  Sinclair has said he personally fears the number could possibly wind up being in the range of 15 to 25,000 once all the graves are discovered across Canada.

Our politics panel also looks at pandemic management in Ontario, Doug Ford’s vacation plans, the likelihood of a federal election this year and the never-ending tragedy of homelessness in Peterborough. Thanks to panelists Sean Conway, Jenny Lanciault and Sylvia Sutherland for their insightful comments. This episode was recorded online on June 5, 2021. We have been recording online since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Our studios at Trent Radio House remain closed until further notice.

Pints & Politics is:

  • A discussion-based radio program all about politics from Peterborough, Canada, about 130 kms. northeast of Toronto.  In the Peterborough area, you can find us on Trent Radio, 92.7 FM, CFFF.  Our 700-watt signal reaches an area within a radius of 40 kilometres of Peterborough. If you are not in the Peterborough area, you can also live-stream the program from the Trent Radio website.
  • An archive of Peterborough-focused podcast episodes. Our current episode is at the top of this page.
  • Before the pandemic, Pints & Politics also used to be an informal gathering of local pundits at the Garnet Pub on Hunter Street near Aylmer in downtown Peterborough every Thursday at 5:00 p.m.  The format was entirely unstructured beyond the sharing of first names.  We talked about whatever people wanted to talk about.  As we met in a public space, everything was on the record. Curious?  When the restrictions are lifted and the Garnet re-opens, join us.  You don’t have to drink beer.  Listening skills are seldom required.  Good ranting skills are essential.

Pints & Politics is broadcast every Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on Trent Radio at 92.7 FM.  Our next radio program will be on June 10th, 2021.  For all the past shows, go to the “Archive of all our podcasts” tab at the top of this page.

Our Focus:

On the radio show and in these podcasts, we explore political culture, ideas, trends, issues, electoral politics, and the practice of politics in traditional and social media, all from a Canadian perspective.  While our programs are Peterborough-focused, we also tackle provincial, national and international issues.   We discuss articles, news stories, media comments, and the latest buzz.  We talk with guests from a wide range of backgrounds and affiliations.

While we don’t shy away from taking a stand, we strive to present a diversity of opinions.

We post on Twitter (@billtemp) and on our new Facebook page (Pints & Politics Podcast).  These podcasts are also available on iTunes and on Stitcher. Please send us your feedback by using the comments field below each podcast.  Or let us know on our Facebook page.  You can also send me a note: bill (dot) templeman (at) gmail.com.

If you think of a panel topic we should cover, please let me know at my email address above.  If you would like to join a guest panel for a particular topic, suggestions are most welcome.

Host: Bill Templeman