Second reading for federal bill to make Orange Shirt Day a stat holiday

Taken from: paNOW

A federal bill is making its way through the House of Commons to make Sept. 30 a statutory holiday.

The holiday would be in honour of residential school survivors and their families, as well as address one of the Calls to Action set by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Bill C-5, which is now in second reading, was introduced by the Liberals and is being supported by the Conservatives and NDP.

“I absolutely support the intent of the bill,” Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River Conservative MP Gary Vidal said. “Our party chose to support it at the second reading and, just for clarity, at second reading your not voting on the legislation, your voting on the decision to send it to committee where there can be some kind of more indepth debate, potential suggested amendments, just to make sure the bill is as good as it can be.”

The date chosen for the holiday is known as Orange Shirt Day, which was named after residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad. On the first day of residential school, she was forbidden from wearing an orange shirt her grandmother had gave her.

Vidal doesn’t know how long it will take the bill to move through the House of Commons and be signed into law. He explained, however, Orange Shirt Day has brought a lot of attention to long-term issues stemming from residential schools.

“Orange Shirt Day has grown in our communities, and our country, to bring a significant increased awareness and a significant opportunity to increase the mutual respect we have for one another,” he said.

Vidal also wanted to remind residents it was former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who issued an apology for residential schools, as well as initiated the TRC. He added the new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has made Indigenous issues a priority as well, which should be good for the riding considering 70 per cent of the population is Indigenous.