Orange Shirt Day founder and executive director Phyllis Webstad is hoping Bill C-5, to establish Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will pass in the House of Commons. (Monica Lamb-Yorski file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Orange Shirt Day founder and executive director Phyllis Webstad is hoping Bill C-5, to establish Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will pass in the House of Commons. (Monica Lamb-Yorski file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Orange Shirt Day Society calls on Conservatives to support a National Day of Reconciliation

“It’s time to do the right thing,” said founder, executive director Phyllis Webstad

Orange Shirt Day founder and executive director Phyllis Webstad continues to hope Canada will establish a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

“All the other national statutory holidays in Canada are colonial and not one of them is to do with Indigenous people,” Webstad told Black Press Media. “It’s time to see that changed.”

Webstad announced Thursday, March 25, she is calling on the Conservative Party of Canada to work with all parties to support and pass Bill C-5 to establish Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, as a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and has penned and sent a letter to Conservative leader Erin O’Toole formalizing her request.

“In Williams Lake survivors are 40 years of age and over and in Canada in the next 50 years or so there are going to be no survivors left,” she said. “While survivors are still with us they can share their experiences and once they are all gone, Sept. 30 will be a day of remembrance.”

Bill C-5 was first introduced in the House of Commons by the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage in September 2020.

Webstad was one of several speakers who made a presentation about the bill to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in November, appearing by Zoom.

“The bill has been stuck in the House of Commons since Nov. 25 and hasn’t gone anywhere since then,” she said.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established by the Government of Canada in 2008 to document the history and lasting impacts of the Indian Residential Schools, lists 94 Calls to Action in its final report.

Webstad said the passing of Bill C-5 will be an important step in implementing Action number 80, which calls upon the federal government to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Read more: Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Previously, Bill C-369 — to make Sept. 30 a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday — passed through the House of Commons in March 2019 and was to proceed to the Senate for final approval.

It did not go ahead, however, because the federal election was called in the fall for October 2019.

Orange Shirt Day has been observed on Sept. 30 since 2013, when Webstad told the story of her first day of residential school at St. Joseph’s Mission near Williams Lake. At the age of six years old in 1973, she was excited to be wearing her new clothes and going to school for the first time, only to have her shiny new orange shirt ripped away and learn that she didn’t matter.

Read more: Orange Shirt Society seeks to trademark ‘Every Child Matters’

Black Press media has reached out to the Conservative leader for a comment.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Williams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

A forensic anthropologist ruled bones found by the Columbia River Skywalk to be from a bear. Photo: Chilli Charlie/Unsplash
Bones found by Trail bridge, ruled not human

A Trail man made the discovery on Friday, April 8

ANKORS commemorated those who died due to drug poisoning at International Overdose Awareness Day on Sept. 1, 2020. Photo: Tyler Harper
Trail, Rossland advocates commemorate lives lost to opioid crisis

Wednesday marks five years since B.C. declared the opioid crisis a provincial health emergency.

”Societies that allow the voices of dissent to be silenced cannot call themselves democratic,” writes Dave Carter. Photo: Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash
Letter: The dangers of censorship

Letters to the Editor can be emailed to editor@trailtimes.ca

On April 6, Pacific Coastal Airlines marked 15 years of providing air service at the Trail Regional Airport. Photo: Twitter @PacificCoastal
Carrier celebrates 15 years at Trail airport

Pacific Coastal Airlines has adopted additional safety measures during the pandemic.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Most Read