QUEEN'S PARK — The NDP would make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a stat day off in Ontario, and Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Doug Ford government to make the change now.
“Over the past year, the graves of more than 1,300 Indigenous children have been discovered at former residential school sites. We mourned together, grieved together, and faced the truth together: that all Indigenous Peoples living in Canada are survivors of Canada’s tools of genocide,” said Horwath.
“We can’t simply move on from this truth. That’s why I’m calling for Sept. 30 to be a day for reflection, for education and for concrete commitments and action towards equity and justice for Indigenous people. An NDP government would do this. But let’s start now, while the pain in our hearts is still fresh.”
Declaring Sept. 30 a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one of the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Ontario NDP Caucus has already confirmed for all its staff that the day will be a paid day away from work, and committed to make the day a province-wide statutory day off if elected. But Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford are refusing to take that step now.
“There is a lot of work to be done to ensure justice, dignity and equity for Indigenous people — from clean water to fixing the broken child welfare system and building equitable access to health care and education,” said Horwath. “Making Sept. 30 a provincial stat is a way to keep this work on the front burner. To convey the gravity of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. And to make sure the precious children that were taken from their parents, their families, their communities are never, ever forgotten.”
The NDP is committed to ensuring that all 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are fully implemented in Ontario.
Sol Mamakwa, Ontario NDP critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations
"If Ontario and this government does not want to acknowledge the genocide of Residential Schools then they are part of the problem. But I don’t believe the majority of Ontarians want to be on the wrong side of history. They want the truth and they want a day to reflect."
Suze Morrison, Ontario NDP critic for Urban Indigenous Issues and for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Response
“It's important for non-Indigenous people to use this day to read the TRC report, learn about the atrocities committed at residential schools and educate themselves. This day should be a moment to mourn the thousands of children who were killed in these institutions and honour the survivors.”