Canada is getting a new holiday to honour residential school survivors

Jun 4 2021, 8:50 am

Canada is getting a new national holiday to commemorate the legacy of the residential school system and honour its survivors.

The bill to create the aptly named National Day for Truth and Reconciliation received Royal Assent on June 3 and will be observed on September 30.

Royal Assent is the approval of a bill by the Governor General — it is the process by which a bill becomes an act of Parliament and part of Canadian Law.

Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, called the bill, known as C-5, “an important step towards reconciliation.”

Establishing a statutory holiday to publicly acknowledge the history of residential schools was one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action.

On Monday, Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh noted that only 12 of the commission’s recommendations had been taken since its report was released in 2015.

Bill C5-5 was first introduced in the House of Commons in September 0f 2020 after a similar one was stalled in the Senate in 2019.

The bill was passed a week after the remains of 215 children were found buried on the grounds of a former residential school in British Columbia.

The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 28, which was aided by ground-penetrating radar.

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” said Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir. “Some were as young as three years old.”

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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