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Burlington & Halton Councils Unanimously Recognize Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

Calls-to-Action-Booklet-NCTR

In keeping with our commitment to working towards reconciliation and supporting Indigenous people, Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council have both passed resolutions recognizing Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day is also marked as ‘Orange Shirt Day’, to help increase awareness of the residential school experience; witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families; to remember and honour those lost; and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

The discoveries of remains and unmarked graves at former residential school sites across Canada has led to all levels of government to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action and commit to meeting those that apply to their respective federal, provincial and municipal level.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)’s Board of Directors has also recommended and called municipalities to officially mark this day.

There is also a standing page on my website dedicated to resources and information on Indigenous history in Burlington and Canada. Please click the link for more.

You can read the full City of Burlington Council resolution and the Region of Halton Council resolution by clicking the respective links – the Burlington Council resolution is also available below:

WHEREAS the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on June 2, 2015, which included 94 Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation;

WHEREAS the recent discoveries of remains and unmarked graves across Canada have led to increased calls for all levels of government to address the recommendations in the TRC’s Calls to Action;

WHEREAS all Canadians and all orders of government have a role to play in reconciliation;

WHEREAS Recommendation #80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process;

WHEREAS the City of Burlington is committed to meeting the TRC’s Calls to Action as they apply to municipalities and supporting the Indigenous community spreading awareness on the history residential schools;

WHEREAS the Federal Government has announced September 30th, 2021, as the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (National Orange Shirt Day) and a statutory holiday;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED;

That the Council of the City of Burlington does hereby commit to recognizing September 30th, 2021, as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (National Orange Shirt Day) by sharing the stories of residential school survivors, their families, and communities.

MY TAKE:

I’m so grateful for the spirit in which our municipal councils have approached these very difficult issues. The discoveries of these mass graves have been devastating news, but it has helped start an incredibly important conversation about Canada’s true history. It has also allowed me to meet Burlington and Halton Indigenous residents that have helped me in my learning journey around what more we can do to implement Truth and Reconciliation in our city and put into action measures that bring diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation. We must acknowledge the damage that has been done and do things to right the ship.

I’m so grateful for the unanimous support of my city and regional council colleagues. They are very passionate about these efforts. I’m also very proud of the Burlington residents who are organizing community events in Spencer Smith Park to help mark Sept. 30 and have it be a day of reflection, recognition, and education.

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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