A call to action for Members of Parliament on Orange Shirt Day
Sep 30, 2020
September 30th is recognized in Canada as Orange Shirt Day. People all across the country are donning orange shirts as a way to recognize and honour the women and men who were victims of residential schools in Canada. Orange Shirt Day started in 2013 in honour of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad who, as a six year-old, had her orange shirt taken away from her on her first day at her residential school.
The MGEU is committed to being a partner in recognizing the historic injustices imposed upon Indigenous people in this country, and acknowledging the hurtful legacy of residential schools today and every day.
We support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as stated eloquently here: “There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future. The truth telling and reconciliation process as part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy is a sincere indication and acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people and the need for continued healing. This is a profound commitment to establishing new relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The truth of our common experiences will help set our spirits free and pave the way to reconciliation.”
Call to Action #80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday. The choice of September 30 builds on the grassroots momentum of Orange Shirt Day, which is already known as a day to remember the legacy of residential schools and move forward with reconciliation.
Yesterday, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, introduced Bill C-5, which represents an important step in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80. This bill seeks to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for federally regulated workers that will be observed as a statutory holiday on September 30. Subject to this legislation receiving Royal Assent, the new national day will honour survivors, their families and communities. It will also ensure that public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Today, on Orange Shirt Day,
the MGEU offers a call to action to all Members of
Parliament across Canada: we ask that you vote to support Bill C-5 unanimously.
In doing so, you send an important message about our collective commitment to
acknowledging the truth about the past and recognizing our desire for