Stompin’ Tom’s son hopes “Indigenous people get their just due.”

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Stompin’ Tom Connors has long been synonymous with Canada Day as a super proud patriot who loved to pay tribute to his beloved country in song right up until his 2013 death.

And beyond.

In fact, a new Connors collection, Unreleased Songs From The Vault Collection Vol. 4: Let’s Smile Again, came out Friday (June 25) just in time for July 1 and has a timely tune called Canada Day, Up Canada Way.

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But his son, Tom Jr., says in light of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children being found at various residential schools across the country, maybe this is the year to put a pause on Canada Day celebrations and reflect on the past instead.

“I really do hope that (Indigenous people) get their just due here,” said Tom Jr., down the line from the family home in Erin, Ont.

“As soon as I heard about that I knew that Tom, if he was around today, would keep that up right now in his mind over and above his own record release because that kind of stuff is what made him tick. Making sure that Canadians, all Canadians, are taken care off. Whoever was responsible for things like that in the past, should be taken to task for that. And those families that have their ancestors involved with that should be taken care of now. It’s a shame. So let’s, if we want to, take this Canada Day to highlight the wrong doings and the mistakes of the past. There’s going to be many Canada Days yet to come.”


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Tom Jr. says his father wrote in his book, Before The Fame, about his own experience at various orphanages run by nuns and priests “and people weren’t treated very good as kids back then. And there were a lot of horrors that he witnessed.”

Stompin’ Tom also met many Indigenous people as he hitchhiked back and forth across Canada about ten times after leaving his Eastern Canada home at age 13.

“Even as he got older he would sit with different elders of different communities and they actually gave him a name — Pale Moon — because they said when he talked to them, he talked like he was an elder himself,” said Tom Jr.

“He appreciated speaking with Indigenous people because they love their music as well and they sing songs that are similar to Stompin’ Tom songs. They’re singing storytelling songs about their Indigenous past.”


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As for the other material on the new record, Connors recorded 120 songs in 2011, and this is the latest release from that batch.

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The collection is called Let’s Smile Again, after a song on the disc, and Tom Jr. says there is also a movement at to encourage people to do so.

“I wish we could have had a release at a bit of a happier time,” said Tom Jr.

“We are trying to find a way to smile again coming out of a pandemic but stuff like (the treatment of Indigenous children at residential schools is) more important. And if a record has to kind of go to the wayside (because of) something like this, we have no problem with that.”


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