NDP MP fears Liberals will ‘play politics’ with proposed Indigenous holiday - APTN NewsAPTN News

NDP MP fears Liberals will ‘play politics’ with proposed Indigenous holiday

APTN News
A Dene MP is concerned the Liberal government will radically change her proposed bill to establish a national Indigenous holiday acknowledging the dark legacy of Canada’s residential school system.

On Wednesday, the Liberals announced they intend to support a private member’s bill introduced by NDP MP Georgina Jolibois that proposes setting a statutory holiday on June 21, which is National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The government has been consulting with Indigenous organizations about creating a holiday to honour survivors and raise awareness about the church-run, government-backed schools – one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

But Jolibois said she has yet to hear from the Liberals on her proposed bill.

“Quite frankly, I’m concerned that the Liberals will play politics with Indigenous history and culture,” said Jolibois in a press release. “Instead of discarding the work that’s already been done by Indigenous peoples, I urge the Liberals to work with us on this bill.”

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Indigenous leaders still haven’t settled on whether the day should be a full-blown statutory holiday or a day of tribute that would offer some form of symbolic recognition.

The Liberals plan to move the behind-the-scenes discussion into a parliamentary forum, allowing Indigenous groups, leaders and residential school survivors to debate the idea with parliamentarians.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said First Nations support a national day to “recognize the tragic and painful legacy of residential schools” and respect and remember the “too many children taken from their homes and families,” while also honouring survivors and their families.

“The residential schools era is indeed a dark chapter, and we must never forget,” he said in a statement.

“A day dedicated to remembering and honouring the students of residential schools will help to increase public understanding of our shared history, and better inform our work together going forward. It is an important part of reconciliation and First Nations need to be involved in choosing an appropriate date.”

The government-funded, church-run residential schools operated for more than a century. Indigenous children were ripped away from their families, usually starting in late September, and sent to schools where they endured widespread sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

The previous Conservative government issued a formal apology in 2008.

If Parliament did approve a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday, it would only apply to federally regulated workplaces _ the civil service, marine ports, airports, airlines and telecommunications companies.

Provinces and territories would have to amend their existing labour codes to establish any additional day off.

– With files from The Canadian Press

Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “NDP MP fears Liberals will ‘play politics’ with proposed Indigenous holiday”

  1. martinsergelangevin@outlook.com'
    Martin Langevin August 19, 2018 at 6:19 am #

    I would like to propose a complete overhaul of Canada’s state-holidays policy that would introduce a number of new holidays geared towards Reconciliation. Before I do that, I would like to share some of my thoughts concerning the challenges that Japan and Germany have faced in recognizing the darker parts of their respective histories, and how a new national holiday policy could alleviate parallel challenges in Canada.
    I have noticed that some Japanese struggle to accept the reality of the Second Sino-Japanese War; yet I have met Japanese Esperantists who seemed to accept it with ease and who recounted with pride Hasegawa Teruko’s stance against the Imperial Japanese Army. I theorize that it has to do with the greater ease with which they can identify more closely with Hasegawa Teruko’s patriotic stance against her own army during its invasion of China. In other words, rather than feel shame about the actions of the Imperial Japanese Army, they feel pride in Hasegawa Teruko as a symbol of true Japanese patriotism.
    I imagine that German Christians might likewise more easily identify with the heroic actions of Hans and Sophie Scholl against the Nazi regime and so, like their Japanese Esperantist counterparts above, feel no identification with the Nazi regime and so no need to deny the holocaust to protect themselves from shame.
    As a French Canadian I believe that, to reduce the downplaying or the denial of Canada’s attempted cultural genocide against its indigenous peoples, and to deter nationalism’s replacement of patriotism, Canada needs to offer English and French Canadians new heroes with whom we can identify.
    I remember how my civics teacher in high school lauded the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the Catholic and Protestant separate schools, English and French official bilingualism, and the ideological foundation of ‘two founding races’ on which they were all raised while still, without irony, presenting the establishment of the Canadian Indian Residential School system that was raised on the same ideological foundation as a blight on our history. My mind could not accept all of this without suffering cognitive dissonance.
    In early adulthood, I finally read Book I of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and was struck with horror at its paragraph after paragraph, and page after page, of systematic development of the notions of ‘two founding races,’ ‘the Indians and the Eskimos,’ and ‘the other ethnic groups’; and their rationalization for the explicit exclusion of the ‘Indians and the Eskimos’ from the category of ‘founding races’ and the granting of special linguistic privileges to the members of the ‘two founding races’ to the exclusion of all others.
    Reading that book and thinking back at how my civics teacher had lauded it before my classmates and me in high school filled me with anger. I protested against this the only way I knew how as a private person: since the report proposed mostly linguistic privileges to the English and French speaking communities to which I belonged, I learnt Esperanto.
    Soon after learning Esperanto, I learnt about Zamenhof Day, the celebration of the birth of Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, the initiator of Esperanto, on 15 December 1859. I later learnt that the first Canadian Esperanto Association started in 1907 until 1939 when the Esperanto community focused its efforts on winning the war. It restarted in 1958 until today. I later discovered that Esperanto Services, Ottawa had submitted a brief to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
    Though Dr. Zamenhof spoke Polish and professed the Jewish Faith and I neither spoke nor professed either, I still identified more with him as a fellow Esperantist than I could with Hector-Louis Langevin as a French Canadian. I also identified more with the more religiously and linguistically neutral Universal Declaration of Human Rights than with the separate-school and linguistic provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    As I started to search for a North-American international auxiliary language, I discovered Chinuk Wawa and, through that, Father Jean-Marie-Raphaël Le Jeune’s (born on 12 April 1855) adaptation of Duployan shorthand to and his writing both in and about Chinuk Wawa. I can imagine how some English and French Canadians who reside in the Pacific Northwest might identify with Chinuk Wawa and Father Le Jeune’s contributions to that language, similarly to how I identify with Dr. Zamenhof and Esperanto.
    Esperanto and Wawa’s comparative ease of learning could bridge the linguistic divide between English and French Canadians on the one hand and indigenous Canadians on the other. For example, an English or French Canadian might learn Esperanto as his first second language or, if he already speaks it as a first language, Chinuk Wawa as his first North-American language. If he already speaks Chinuk Wawa as a first language, he might then try to learn one of the more difficult indigenous languages. Esperanto and Chinuk Wawa could thus serve as inter-generational or propaedeutic stepping stones from language to language and as springboards to the more grammatically complicated indigenous languages for English and French Canadians.
    With the recent discussion in the media concerning the adoption of a national day of reconciliation, I would like to propose an alternative: a total of nine statutory personal holidays per year that a worker could choose, in consultation with his employer, from among the Holy Days of the religion that he professes and any of the following state holidays:
    1. Any of the present state holidays,
    2. World Religion Day (on the third Sunday in January),
    3. Le Jeune Day (on 12 April),
    4. United Nations Day (on 24 October),
    5. Zamenhof Day (on 15 December), and
    6. Up to nine additional holidays to be chosen in consultation with Canada’s indigenous peoples.

    Giving a worker more holidays from which to choose would deny the more Anglo-centric and Franco-centric holidays the monopoly they presently enjoy. It would also allow businesses to rotate shift workers more easily since workers would no longer all be taking the same holidays off, an advantage that would apply particularly to people who work in emergency, medical, and travel services among others.

  2. m******************@outlook.com'
    Martin Langevin February 20, 2019 at 12:20 am #

    I would like to propose a complete overhaul of Canada’s state-holidays policy that would introduce a number of new holidays geared towards Reconciliation. Before I do that, I would like to share some of my thoughts concerning the challenges that Japan and Germany have faced in recognizing the darker parts of their respective histories, and how a new national holiday policy could alleviate parallel challenges in Canada.
    I have noticed that some Japanese struggle to accept the reality of the Second Sino-Japanese War; yet I have met Japanese Esperantists who seemed to accept it with ease and who recounted with pride Hasegawa Teruko’s stance against the Imperial Japanese Army. I theorize that it has to do with the greater ease with which they can identify more closely with Hasegawa Teruko’s patriotic stance against her own army during its invasion of China. In other words, rather than feel shame about the actions of the Imperial Japanese Army, they feel pride in Hasegawa Teruko as a symbol of true Japanese patriotism.
    I imagine that German Christians might likewise more easily identify with the heroic actions of Hans and Sophie Scholl against the Nazi regime and so, like their Japanese Esperantist counterparts above, feel no identification with the Nazi regime and so no need to deny the holocaust to protect themselves from shame.
    As a French Canadian I believe that, to reduce the downplaying or the denial of Canada’s attempted cultural genocide against its indigenous peoples, and to deter nationalism’s replacement of patriotism, Canada needs to offer English and French Canadians new heroes with whom we can identify.
    I remember how my civics teacher in high school lauded the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the Catholic and Protestant separate schools, English and French official bilingualism, and the ideological foundation of ‘two founding races’ on which they were all raised while still, without irony, presenting the establishment of the Canadian Indian Residential School system that was raised on the same ideological foundation as a blight on our history. My mind could not accept all of this without suffering cognitive dissonance.
    In early adulthood, I finally read Book I of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and was struck with horror at its paragraph after paragraph, and page after page, of systematic development of the notions of ‘two founding races,’ ‘the Indians and the Eskimos,’ and ‘the other ethnic groups’; and their rationalization for the explicit exclusion of the ‘Indians and the Eskimos’ from the category of ‘founding races’ and the granting of special linguistic privileges to the members of the ‘two founding races’ to the exclusion of all others.
    Reading that book and thinking back at how my civics teacher had lauded it before my classmates and me in high school filled me with anger. I protested against this the only way I knew how as a private person: since the report proposed mostly linguistic privileges to the English and French speaking communities to which I belonged, I learnt Esperanto.
    Soon after learning Esperanto, I learnt about Zamenhof Day, the celebration of the birth of Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, the initiator of Esperanto, on 15 December 1859. I later learnt that the first Canadian Esperanto Association started in 1907 until 1939 when the Esperanto community focused its efforts on winning the war. It restarted in 1958 until today. I later discovered that Esperanto Services, Ottawa had submitted a brief to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
    Though Dr. Zamenhof spoke Polish and professed the Jewish Faith and I neither spoke nor professed either, I still identified more with him as a fellow Esperantist than I could with Hector-Louis Langevin as a French Canadian. I also identified more with the more religiously and linguistically neutral Universal Declaration of Human Rights than with the separate-school and linguistic provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    As I started to search for a North-American international auxiliary language, I discovered Chinuk Wawa and, through that, Father Jean-Marie-Raphaël Le Jeune’s (born on 12 April 1855) adaptation of Duployan shorthand to and his writing both in and about Chinuk Wawa. I can imagine how some English and French Canadians who reside in the Pacific Northwest might identify with Chinuk Wawa and Father Le Jeune’s contributions to that language, similarly to how I identify with Dr. Zamenhof and Esperanto.
    Esperanto and Wawa’s comparative ease of learning could bridge the linguistic divide between English and French Canadians on the one hand and indigenous Canadians on the other. For example, an English or French Canadian might learn Esperanto as his first second language or, if he already speaks it as a first language, Chinuk Wawa as his first North-American language. If he already speaks Chinuk Wawa as a first language, he might then try to learn one of the more difficult indigenous languages. Esperanto and Chinuk Wawa could thus serve as inter-generational or propaedeutic stepping stones from language to language and as springboards to the more grammatically complicated indigenous languages for English and French Canadians.
    With the recent discussion in the media concerning the adoption of a national day of reconciliation, I would like to propose an alternative: a total of nine statutory personal holidays per year that a worker could choose, in consultation with his employer, from among the Holy Days of the religion that he professes and any of the following state holidays:
    1. Any of the present state holidays,
    2. World Religion Day (on the third Sunday in January),
    3. Le Jeune Day (on 12 April),
    4. United Nations Day (on 24 October),
    5. Zamenhof Day (on 15 December), and
    6. Up to nine additional holidays to be chosen in consultation with Canada’s indigenous peoples.

    Giving a worker more holidays from which to choose would deny the more Anglo-centric and Franco-centric holidays the monopoly they presently enjoy. It would also allow businesses to rotate shift workers more easily since workers would no longer all be taking the same holidays off, an advantage that would apply particularly to people who work in emergency, medical, and travel services among others.

  3. africher@hotmail.com'
    Frank Richer August 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

    Trying to combine June 21st National Indigenous Peoples Day with a day commemorating the victims of residential schools into one “One-Size-Fits-All” Statutory Holiday for Indigenous peoples lacks, IMHO, tact and judgment if not outright respect for us as Indigenous peoples.

    Would the Government of Canada dare combine together Remembrance Day, a day of commemoration and solemn reflection, with Canada Day, a day of joy, pride and celebration, into one Holiday?

    IMHO, June 21st National Indigenous Peoples Day should continue to be shared with all citizens of this country, just as St-Jean-Baptiste Day and Canada Day are for Quebeckers and Canadians, solely as a day of joy, pride and celebration.

    September 30th, Orange Shirt day, a day already commemorating the story of Phyllis Webstad whose orange shirt was taken away from her by force on her first day of residential school, is, IMHO, the ideal day to set aside as a day of reconciliation to solemnly commemorate the victims of past and present Canadian colonialism towards Indigenous peoples.

  4. a*******@hotmail.com'
    Frank Richer February 20, 2019 at 12:20 am #

    Trying to combine June 21st National Indigenous Peoples Day with a day commemorating the victims of residential schools into one “One-Size-Fits-All” Statutory Holiday for Indigenous peoples lacks, IMHO, tact and judgment if not outright respect for us as Indigenous peoples.

    Would the Government of Canada dare combine together Remembrance Day, a day of commemoration and solemn reflection, with Canada Day, a day of joy, pride and celebration, into one Holiday?

    IMHO, June 21st National Indigenous Peoples Day should continue to be shared with all citizens of this country, just as St-Jean-Baptiste Day and Canada Day are for Quebeckers and Canadians, solely as a day of joy, pride and celebration.

    September 30th, Orange Shirt day, a day already commemorating the story of Phyllis Webstad whose orange shirt was taken away from her by force on her first day of residential school, is, IMHO, the ideal day to set aside as a day of reconciliation to solemnly commemorate the victims of past and present Canadian colonialism towards Indigenous peoples.