June 15th, 2017

NDP: Time to make National Aboriginal Day a national holiday

OTTAWA — Today, NDP Deputy Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Georgina Jolibois, tabled her Private Member’s Bill calling on the federal government to recognize and honor the Indigenous Peoples living in Canada by making National Aboriginal Day a national statutory holiday.

“National Aboriginal Day is a day to honour the many contributions of the Indigenous Peoples of this land and an occasion to reflect on the many challenges Indigenous Peoples still face today,” said Jolibois. “This bill is inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call to create a statutory holiday to honour residential schools survivors, their families and their communities. This holiday will further ensure the public’s recognition of this history, legacy and the Treaty relationship which remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

National Aboriginal Day is currently a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and in the Yukon. Bill C-361 seeks to make it a statutory holiday federally. This move would hopefully inspire other territories and provinces to follow suit.

“My bill seeks to bring a sense of hope to Indigenous communities in Canada. The timing of this bill is significant for many indigenous communities. While everyone is celebrating Canada 150, few are recognizing the sad realities,” added Jolibois. “I have seen too much suffering in my riding in Northern Saskatchewan: suicides are frequent, women and girls continue to disappear and clean water is inaccessible in many communities. National Aboriginal Day honours the First Peoples of the land while offering an opportunity to better understand and address the underlining shortfalls towards Indigenous communities."