Bill to establish Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday passes House

Proposed legislation, which would set aside September 30 as a national statutory holiday, still needs Senate approval

NDP Member of Parliament Georgina Joilbois is wanting to make September 30 a statutory holiday for a national Day of Truth and Reconciliation. (Georgina Jolibois, MP Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River/Facebook)

A bill proposed by a Saskatchewan MP to establish a national statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation has passed third reading.

The bill, introduced by NDP MP Georgina Jolibois, passed its third House of Commons vote Wednesday. It was supported by the Liberals and the NDP. Conservative MPs voted against the bill.

The bill will establish Sept. 30 as a national statutory holiday. The bill had originally proposed to make Indigenous peoples Day, June 21, a national holiday, but was changed in committee.

Jolibois has said she supports the changes.

“This is an important day for Reconciliation in Canada,” said Jolibois, who is the representative for Desthené-Missinipi-Churchill River. “After 151 years of pain and suffering inflicted on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people, there will now be a time to reflect and to build relationships to strengthen the Canadian society.”

Now, the bill has to make its way through the Senate before it can become law. Jolibois does not expect it will see much opposition.

“With Justice Murray Sinclair who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Senate, I would expect this bill to go ahead without much opposition,” said Jolibois.

Establishing a statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation was one of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.

 “I’m proud of the work we did to get this done,” Jolibois said.

“We heard from many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people across the country who wanted this done. This is a big day for all of us.”