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

A Quesnel resident receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month. (Photo credit: Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
IH says COVID-19 vaccines safe despite claims of Lytton physician

Doctor makes unsubstantiated claims about serious side effects of Moderna vaccine

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Most Read