Commemoration

Current Reality

August 11, 2021 – The federal government committed $20M to build a national monument in Ottawa to honour the survivors of residential schools and all the children who were lost.

June 3, 2021 – Bill C-5 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)” a bill that designates Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation passed in the Senate and received Royal Assent.

Nov. 16, 2020: Canadian Press – Stephanie Scott, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, speaking to the House of Commons heritage committee stated “Ottawa and provincial and territorial governments must build monuments in capital cities across Canada to honour residential-school survivors and their families.”

For Call to Action # 82 “Commission and install a Residential School Monument in each capital city”, only Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Regina have initiated any plans or made any commitments.

Calls to Action

Call to Action # 79Reconciliation framework for Canadian Heritage
Call to Action # 80Establish “National Day for Truth & Reconciliation”
Call to Action # 81Residential School National Monument in Ottawa
Call to Action # 82Residential School monument in each capital city
Call to Action # 83Canada Council for the Arts and Reconciliation

Current and Ongoing Problems

Prime Minster Trudeau’s vacation on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Sept. 30, 2021: Toronto Star – Prime Minister Trudeau on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation “to remember the legacy of residential schools” chose instead to go on a family vacation to Tofino in BC. “With all such firsts, part of the struggle is to make people take it seriously. It should not be just a day off for those who get such a benefit, or something to be acknowledged only in passing. That is, if it’s going to be anything more than an empty gesture.

Political leaders obviously should set an example for the rest of us. So seeing the prime minister use the inaugural national day to start a personal holiday, however well-deserved, is frankly infuriating. (It’s even worse that his official itinerary first showed him spending Thursday in private meetings in Ottawa, and was only later updated to acknowledge the trip to Tofino.)

What did Indigenous leaders say:

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says the trip casts doubt on the prime minister’s sincerity when he says no relationship is more important to him than that with Indigenous peoples: “Those words ring incredibly hollow when Mr. Trudeau could not take the time that his own government set aside to reflect upon the tragedy of the Indian residential schools and instead chose to flit off to Tofino for a holiday.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said the way Trudeau chose to spend the first national day was a “slap in the face” to residential school survivors.

And the First Nation that first discovered unmarked graves of children near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., said it had issued two written invitations for the prime minister to attend a ceremony there on Thursday. He would have flown practically right over Kamloops on his trip to Vancouver Island, but clearly didn’t bother to stop.

Indeed, he could have done something meaningful in Tofino itself. Members of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council held a walk there to mark the national day, and vice-president Mariah Charleson said they were shocked that they didn’t even know the prime minister would be in the area. “It’s the first day Canada has said countrywide, let’s find a way to move forward,” she said. “And our top leader of our country did not choose to do that. It’s heartbreaking, honestly.”

What’s left to say after that?

Conservative Party for failing to support Bill C-369 that would have created a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Conservative Senators scuttled passage of Bill C-369 ““An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)”.  The senators engaged in continuous stalling tactics to prevent debate on any private member’s bills so Bill C-369 died on the order paper when parliament dissolved for the summer – coincidentally on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

23 of the unelected 105 Senators are Conservative. Therefore, 22% of the unelected senators overruled 211 elected members representing 71% of the House of Commons who voted yes from all the other parties.

The Conservative Party of Canada voted unanimously in the House of Commons against Bill C-369. The final vote:

Yes = 211 (Liberal, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green, Independents, CCF)
No = 87 (All Conservative – 86), People’s Party – 1)
Paired = 6 (Liberal – 3), Conservative – 2), NDP – 1)

Government of Ontario for eliminating the Indigenous Culture Fund in its entirety

Dec, 15, 2018 – Eliminating the annual $5M Indigenous Culture Fund in its entirety

Four Indigenous women who administer the ICF have also been laid off, effectively suspending activity within the program. (NOW). This represents a step backward from Reconciliation. This program provided services to the province with the largest Indigenous population.

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