The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 has become a statutory holiday in the Yukon.
Yukon MLAs voted unanimously in favour of an NDP bill to observe the day as a holiday like Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Canada Day.
The bill comprises that the colonial experience in Canada constituted genocide and that the residential school system was a key part of the genocide.
NDP MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin Annie Blake said this is an opportunity to reflect and pass down historical information to younger generations.
“I remember sitting at the feet of elders as a little girl. I heard our elders speak about what the future of reconciliation would look like,” she said.
“I can feel them today, holding me up. This very moment is what they prepared me for.”
Blake said she is “hopeful” that the government will provide programming and education on this day.
In a Nov. 23 release, the Yukon Party proclaimed its support for the bill and the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“To mitigate additional costs to businesses due to the addition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Yukon Party supports the removal of a current statutory holiday to be identified during government consultation,” reads the release.
“In speaking to the bill in debate, the NDP indicated they would support a call for the government to consult with the private sector and Yukoners to see if they would like to see another stat holiday removed, and if so, which one.”
MLA for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes John Streicker indicated otherwise in the House before the vote.
“I want to begin by thanking the NDP for bringing this bill forward. We agree, and we think this is an important thing to do,” he said.
“Nothing I see in the bill directs government to examine some other holiday that should not be observed. That isn’t what we have in front of us.”
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