TORONTO – If Canadians were not in the middle of an election campaign, we could take work and school Monday to reflect on one of the many injustices done to indigenous people.
September 30 was the date for a new statutory holiday for indigenous people, proposed in legislation that died when Parliament was extended for election.
Bill C-369 was first introduced in 2017 by Georgina Jolibois, an NDP MP from Saskatchewan.
It would have created a sixth national statutory holiday, to join New Year's Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labor Day and Christmas Day. Other federal holidays, including Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day, are not recognized in all provinces.
Jolibois wanted to make the holiday on June 21, declaring the existing National Day of Indigenous Peoples a statutory holiday.
The government has rewritten its account substantially. Among the changes, the reorientation of the holiday, arguing that a day to shadow the legacy of residential schools was preferable to the more commemorative nature of National Day of Indigenous Peoples.
Other liberal changes to the Jolibois bill included renaming the proposed holiday for National Truth and Reconciliation Day and moving it to September 30 – the date of Orange Shirt Day, where victims of residential schools are honored.
Orange shirt day, which began in 2013, was named after the surviving home school survivor Phyllis Webstad, who took off a bright orange T-shirt on her first day at a B.C. school in 1973.
Dozens of events are planned across the country to mark this year's Orange Shirt Day. Webstad will share his story on October 2 at a meeting in Calgary.
With files from CTVNews.ca producer Rachel Aiello