(Edmonton) – MLA Brooks Arcand-Paul, Official Opposition Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, issued the following statement for September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
“Tomorrow marks the third observance of a federal statutory holiday to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day matters a great deal, and is an opportunity to reflect on the horrors that Indigenous Peoples across Canada experienced in the residential school system between the late 1800’s until 1996.
“The journey toward reconciliation requires acknowledging the truth. Our collective truth, as Albertans, which include the stories from survivors of residential schools and their families, and the fact that residential school denialism is at an all-time high. We must continue in our efforts on this journey toward reconciliation to be good relatives with each other, and we must expect better from the UCP government, especially when it comes to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 2015 ‘Calls to Action’.
“The Government of Alberta has been making strides to accomplish the Calls to Action, however, there is still much to be done on the journey of reconciliation in Alberta. As the critic for Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation, I intend to introduce legislation in the next couple of months to honour Alberta’s obligations under treaty and toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in the territories of Treaties 6, 7 and 8.
“This legislation is necessary as Indigenous people are experiencing the worst of our deteriorating social climate in Alberta through the consequences of an affordability crisis being unaddressed by the UCP, the difficulties being faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and many of our most vulnerable falling victim to an out-of-control drug poisoning epidemic that has only gotten worse under this government.
“In a province as rich as Alberta, there is no excuse for any of these factors to be affecting Albertans – the same goes for the government’s responsibilities toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. We must demand that our government do better – because many of us cannot wait while our family members continue to die around us because of the government’s inaction and lack of inclusion of Indigenous leadership in decision-making.”