A spokesperson for the military has confirmed that two members of the Navy were involved in a confrontation at an indigenous ceremony in Halifax on Canada Day.
Organizer Rebecca Moore says dozens of people gathered in Halifax on Saturday around a statue of the city’s founder Edward Cornwallis to mourn atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples.
Cornwallis, as governor of Nova Scotia, founded Halifax in 1749, and soon after issued a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps in response to an attack on colonists.
Moore says a small group of men wearing black polo shirts with yellow piping — one of them carrying a Red Ensign Flag — sang “God Save the Queen” as they walked toward the ceremony.
The Canadian Red Ensign, which bears the Union Jack in the corner, was the national flag until it was replaced by the the Maple Leaf design in 1965.
A video of the incident shows viewers at the event engaging in a brief discussion with the men, during which one of the them says they are recognizing Canada’s heritage as a British colony.
A National Defence spokesman says two individuals involved in the incident are members of the Royal Canadian Navy, but couldn’t say which two.
Daniel LeBouthillier says the department has been “deeply seized” by the matter and is looking into it further.
A spokesperson for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he has been made aware of the claim and his office is following it closely.