Today, September 30th, will be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
I am reminded of the news reports this past May about the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at a residential school in Kamloops, BC. I learned then that, while this discovery was shocking news to many, the existence of these graves was a well-known fact amongst First Nation communities.
I wrote earlier this year about how my rather narrow and idealistic views of Canada’s history had been significantly challenged. I reflected on how I could be so oblivious. As a student in the 1970s and 1980s, I was not taught about the residential school program or the Sixties Scoop. I don’t say that to deflect responsibility or to cast blame, but rather to acknowledge we need to do a much better job of educating our youth - and that as an elected official, I have a role to play in that effort.
As we were earlier this year, I expect we will all be feeling some amount of loss and sorrow, internal conflict and discomfort on September 30. At times it seems there is so much to regret, and so many things to fix.
My campaign team and I will pause our activities on September 30 to honour this day and what it means to all those affected directly or indirectly. I will spend my time listening and reflecting. I think some time of quiet contemplation of our country and city’s past, good and bad, will be time well spent.
I hope you will also have the opportunity to reflect on how we can reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our community is a welcoming, nurturing, supportive place for everyone.
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