City Councillor says more commitment needed for reconciliation

A City Council member believes more work can be done towards reconciliation within the City’s government. 

Coun. Tony Head brought forward three motions during Monday’s council meeting asking for more commitment from the City to working on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. 

A report highlighting 12 Calls to Action believed to be most relevant to the City of Prince Albert was presented to Council at a meeting earlier this month. Of the 12 Calls to Action highlighted in the report, three were geared specifically towards municipalities. The TRC’s goal in creating these actions is for governments to renew relationships with Indigenous peoples that are based in mutual understanding and respect. 

The City has made some effort in working on these actions thus far, including the commission of an art installation by Mary Longman commemorating the victims of residential schools.

Coun. Head suggested two more Calls to Action that he believes should be included in the report, rather than only the three that were originally presented. This would make a total of five Calls to Action for Prince Albert’s municipal government. The two new motions will be brought forward at the next council meeting.

He proposed that the City should implement and adopt the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well conduct mandatory Aboriginal awareness training for all public servants. The City has already begun educating its employees on Residential School survivors and Indigenous Peoples. Just shy of 80 permanent employees have not completed the training. Coun. Head believes these are all necessary steps forward towards reconciliation. 

“Other municipalities have adopted and passed motions similar to the ones the City of Prince Albert are doing,” Coun. Head explained. “I hope that I made sure that Council has heard the report and read what the commitment level would look like. My hopes are that we lead the country in some of the work that is being done for reconciliation here in Prince Albert”. 

The three original motions were passed unanimously. Coun. Head said there will be some levels of cost depending on the commitments given, but more information will be available at the next council meeting. 

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