The federal government wants to establish a holiday to acknowledge the dark legacy of Canada’s residential school system, and plans to use an opposition bill to make it happen.
The government has been consulting with Indigenous organizations about creating a holiday to honour survivors and raise awareness about the church-run, government-backed schools one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Indigenous leaders still haven’t settled on whether the day should be a full-blown statutory holiday or a day of tribute that would offer some form of symbolic recognition.
The Liberals plan to move the behind-the-scenes discussion into a parliamentary forum, allowing Indigenous groups, leaders and residential school survivors to debate the idea with parliamentarians.
The government intends to back a private member’s bill introduced by Saskatchewan NDP MP Georgina Jolibois that currently proposes establishing a statutory holiday on June 21, which is National Indigenous Peoples Day.
A spokesman for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says the government has committed to fulfilling the TRC’s calls to action, and plans to do just that.
(The Canadian Press)