Thousands of Calgarians, including Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, are calling for the city to reverse a decision to cancel its annual Canada Day fireworks display. 

Last week, the City of Calgary announced it would cancel its Canada Day show and replace it with a light show due to climate and cultural impacts.

A petition launched by Common Sense Calgary over the weekend calling for the fireworks to be reinstated has already garnered over 6,000 signatures. 

“I can’t quite believe I have to say this, but, it’s not racist to want to celebrate Canada Day with fireworks – or to celebrate Canada Day at all,” the petition reads. 

“If you agree, and you haven’t had a chance to sign the petition yet, please show Council just how unpopular this insane idea is by doing so now.”

The cancellation is a pilot to address cultural, community, and environmental issues experienced with traditional Canada Day fireworks, said Franca Gualtieri, city manager of arts and culture.

The City says there are cultural sensitivities around fireworks displays in relation to Truth and Reconciliation and with July 1 marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act. It also says the changes will mitigate disruptive traffic, noise, overcrowding at city viewpoints, and be friendlier for wildlife. 

It claims the replacement light show will be a “visually stunning display of lights and sounds that will be launched from the main stage at Fort Calgary during the headliner act.”

Rempel Garner, the MP for Calgary Nose Hill, implored city councillors to reverse the decision, saying “it brings no good to our city.” She said Calgarians can still celebrate Canada while  acknowledging and addressing “reconciliation and the longstanding impacts of colonialism and racism.”

“When our leaders make this choice a binary one, that as a people we can only do one at the expense of the other, we further divide our country instead of solving its problems. Suggesting that Canada Day shouldn’t be a day for any celebration does just that, and I won’t allow my community to be pushed into that corner,” she said in a statement. 

“Instead, we should celebrate the good that unites us, while taking real action to bring forth equality of opportunity and reconciliation.”

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