“With the ongoing horrific discoveries of more children torn from their families and buried at former residential school sites, Canada is facing a reckoning. For some of us, it’s a cold splash of water waking us up to the realities that had been kept hidden. For Indigenous people, these discoveries have brought pain and trauma back to the surface.
The reality is that nothing will be the same for any of us again.
For too long, too many Canadians have not known our full history of settlers and Indigenous peoples. And, for too long, provincial and federal governments have been deflecting accountability. They have been playing “political football” with Indigenous communities that have gone generations without basic necessities, like equitable access to healthcare, education, and clean drinking water.
I support Science North’s thoughtful decision not to host a Canada Day event this year. I have always described Sudbury as a community that cares and I recognize the desire to truly unite in solidarity and support for Indigenous communities that are grieving.
I believe that, as we take stock of what we’ve witnessed – the hundreds of unmarked graves of dead children – Canadians will recognize that this cannot be resolved with well-meaning symbolic gestures. Instead, as we come together with our families, and reflect on the decisions made that harmed Indigenous people, their families, and their communities, we’ll collectively insist on tangible commitments that work to recognize and address those harms.
This Canada Day will be different, and it will be important. Collectively, we face a unique opportunity to build a better Canada together – a Canada rooted in justice, peace and respect for Indigenous people, their families, and their ties to this land. We can start by supporting an Indigenous-led search of residential school sites for Indigenous children here in Ontario. We can also call on all levels of government to act now on the 94 calls to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
This Canada Day, let’s commit to learn, demand justice and be an ally in any way that we can.”