Canadian National Team player and Toronto FC stalwart Tosaint Ricketts stirred up immense controversy this weekend as he chose to kneel during the Canadian national anthem to protest the decades-long ban on spring season grizzly hunting in his native province of Alberta.
“The era of overpolicing needs to stop now,” said Ricketts of the hunting ban. “Contacts between Alberta grizzlies and humans have quadrupled over the last decade with no meaningful increase in human population or settlement activity. This is directly attributable to the elimination of the bears’ natural predator – namely, human hunters – and by taking a knee during “O, Canada” I feel like I can bring attention to one of the biggest issues facing Canada today.”
Within moments, Canadian Twitter exploded into rational debate. Many argued that the change, though technically four-fold, was still a very small number of contacts with grizzlies. Most, however, saw Ricketts’ protest as a disgrace and the wrong avenue to channel his frustrations.
“There are pros and cons on all sides,” said Ovoke Briggs, a fierce opponent to Ricketts’ controversial protest. “Ultimately, whatever merit his viewpoint holds, I believe it sends the wrong message to our children to suggest that one can disrespect his country just to protest one piece of that country he would like changed. Of course, that is just my humble opinion.
“One thing is certain,” Briggs concluded. “The matter of the banning of the spring grizzly hunt in Alberta is the most significant controversy that has faced Canada in a long, long time.”