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

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

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.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Residents, especially those with yards with long grass and wooded areas, are encouraged to check themselves and their pets for ticks after being outside. Ticks have reportedly been found in Golden near the pump track. File photo
Ticks found in Golden as spring approaches

Between five and 10 people each year go to hospital in Golden for ticks

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A North Okanagan man in his late 20s was flown to hospital by air ambulance Saturday, April 17, shortly after 6:30 p.m. after allegedly crashing on his longboard on a Spallumcheen roadway. (File photo)
Suspected longboard crash in Okanagan sends individual to hospital via air ambulance

Accident involved a North Okanagan man in his late 20s on Otter Lake Road in Spallumcheen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over North Okanagan cliff

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

Vernon Vipers goalie Roan Clarke celebrates his team’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

Most Read