Proposed new statutory holiday: National Truth and Reconciliation Day

A new statutory holiday is proposed by the government to commemorate the legacy of residential schools fulfilling a recommendation made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

If the bill is passed, the National Truth and Reconciliation Day will be on September 30. At this point it's unclear if this is going to be national statutory holiday or up to provinces and territories to adopt it and if it will apply only to federal employees or everyone. It is also not known what year will the first observation take place.

Indigenous communities oppose to using September 30 for this new proposed holiday because September 30 is when Orange Shirt Day is currently observed and the indigenous leaders feel that combining a day of celebration with a day of reconciliation is "inappropriate and disrespectful".

June 21 was considered as the alternate day for this new holiday, which is currently the National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is only ten days away from Canada Day and would make the two stat holidays too close together.

What do you think? Is it a good or bad idea to create this new statutory holiday? Is this the best way to keep alive the legacy of residential schools? Share your comments below.

It's already hard to keep track of which holiday is celebrated in what region. The National Truth and Reconciliation Day may not be adopted by every province and territory, which will add confusion to the already convoluted holiday system. Also, what rules will apply when September 30 falls on a weekend is yet to be seen.

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Recent comments
Posted by Andrew Daniels:

Aboriginals are perhaps the most neglected minority group in Canada and the one we should make the biggest effort for. I think we should have a day, I don't see the issue with June 21st, seems like still the best day for it. Also to clarify to Fran - I don't think the "Japanese lost a lot of land" - very few did, and not a lot.

Posted by Jenny:

Personally I've never understood why Remembrance Day isn't a statutory holiday. So many Canadians, of all backgrounds, (including indigenous) lost their lives in the world wars, and I know that many people given the chance would attend a Remembrance Day event if they had the day off. I agree with the National Truth and Reconciliation Day, but if they do pass a bill to make it a Stat holiday, and Remembrance Day ISN'T, then the government is basically saying it's more important to recognize that we're sorry for the way Natives were treated than to recognize all the people (indigenous included) who sacrificed their lives to make Canada a free country in which we all now live.

Posted by gary smith:

They should just scrap the entire Idea come up with something better like Heritage day would be a appropriate holiday commemorate what are ancestors to make this country great.

Posted by Poule :

I think the entire subject is crazy.The event was horrendous but is passed & done! In those SAME yrs & SINCE, Dads,Uncles, Brothers etc have been raping, sodomizing,torturing,killing, hiding & burying babies, little sons & daughters!! THOSE victims were robbed in its TOTAL LIFE SENSE, not just molested but they aren't remembered or recognized with special orange shirt day, families given land, gov't- paid APOLOGY $$$, subsidies etc!!!! Do these orange shirt folks want a Green Jeans Day or New House Day too? Enough, already! Parish Priests, Deacons, Bishops... to the Pope have apologized orally & in writings in VAST amounts ,they fasted for reperation, prayed, offered compensation ...the family rape & torture victims (& stranger violators) get prayed for by a Priest at the funeral & that's it. Haulocaust victims & their families have been remembered but rec'd nothing. No SPECIAL day or anything else. War victims the same. The broken survivors moved their feet by inches, mourned alone, had nothing,were skin & bones, no food/clothes/home/town, some with no relatives to be found, etc but in that horror, broken in spirit, no hope, nearly insane with their grief & fear found their sanity & picked up life and rebuilt their lives; moved forward and only looked backwards as a lesson to never be repeated. So this indigenous story is done, over , finished, many or most of them deceased. Millions of men,women,boys & girls of every age have suffered their fate and after looked FORWARD toward healing. Let the old record album stop skipping at the same scratch and move on. Pleeeeeez! Enough special treatments. God bless every victim but change the mentality.

Posted by Lori Gauthier:

I think the day they decide to make make the stat should coincide with the Spring Equinox. In many indigenous cultures Spring is looked at as a new beginning. I think it's time to start a new and for those of us affected by colonialism and it's inter-generational effects to let go and start again. I think the National Indigenous Peoples Day should remain just that. A time of celebration and pride. Whereas the this holiday should be a time to reflect and remember those that came before us. I think remembering all those that attended residential schools is a way to honor their spirits and and strength, much like Remembrance Day is a day to pay respect to those who fought and triumphed this should also be a day to remember, mourn and unite. I don't see this day as a day to celebrate but a day to reflect and give thanks to our ancestors for all they have endured.

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