A private member’s bill put forward by Desthene-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Georgina Jolibois to establish a national statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation looks like it has enough support to pass a forthcoming third reading.
Jolibois and her party, the NDP, have agreed to an amendment that would set the date of the holiday as September 30, to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, as opposed to June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
“My understanding is yes, the Liberals will support the amendment,” Jolibois said.
The opposition Conservatives have not supported the bill so far.
“Between the Liberals and the NDP we have enough votes for it to pass the third reading,” she said.
Once it passes third reading, it will be up for debate in the Senate.
The creation of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was one of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. JOlibois said such a day for reflection is an important part of moving forward.
“History towards Indigenous people has been painful. There have been many instances where it has been difficult for Indigenous people across Canada,” she said.
“Now, we acknowledge the past, we honour the history and are in the position to say we want to heal as a nation, we want to move forward in a healing, healthy way. That’s what elders say to me and that’s what young people say to me. That’s what moms and service providers say to me too. There is a need to move forward. That’s why I proposed the private member’s bill.”
Even though the national holiday is being proposed for Orange Shirt Day, a day dedicated to residential school survivors, and not Indigenous Peoples Day, Jolibois said June 21 remains important.
“Every June 21 for years to come, for generations to come, Indigenous people will come together and still celebrate and still strengthen their cultural identity and celebrate nations coming together.”