By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
Last week, the Town of Coaldale held its regular council meeting.
During the council meeting, all councillors had discussed what to do based on the statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation based on the federal government placing it on Sept. 30.
The Act had been created as a new federal statutory holiday, the National day for Truth and Reconciliation, which will be observed on September 30 of each calendar year beginning September 30, 2021.
On June 3, Bill C-5 — an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act, and the Canada Labour Code, had received royal assent. The provision came into force Aug. 3.
The new holiday was proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which the federal government called upon in collaboration with Indigenous people. This would establish a statutory holiday to honour many of the survivors of residential schools.
“I believe we need to look into this as a time to reflect and be thankful for us that have come over here and remember what the Indigenous people have gone through in their growth in the colonization,” said Coun. Jacen Abrey. “You know, I was a little disappointed when we had e-mails going back and forth, and for someone to speak to many holidays, my first thought is, well, let’s get rid of Thanksgiving. If we’re going to celebrate colonization, why are we not looking at truth and reconciliation? It’s a time for us to reflect.”
According to various national news reports, all federally regulated workplaces will have the day off on Sept. 30. The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is to reflect on the legacy of residential schools. But in the province of Alberta, it will be just another work day, it was reported. The region announced it would not consider the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday, something advocate Nicole Johnston says is a step backwards.
“Truth and Reconciliation is an important element of moving forward and trying to work with the healing process and recognizing all that’s important,” said Mayor Kim Craig.