McKillop and Nokomis Consider recognizing Truth and Reconciliation Day

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Recently councils for the RM of McKillop and the Town of Nokomis considered recognizing the day during their meetings.

Gladys Wasylenchuk, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, said, “In Saskatchewan, September 30th has been, and will continue to be an important day for reflection, recognition and an opportunity for all citizens to learn more about the dark history and legacy of residential schools in Canada. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was announced by the Government of Canada as a new public holiday for federally regulated workplaces and for those with collective agreements that include language that all nationally or provincially proclaimed holidays shall be observed.

We are aware that several employers have chosen to observe the day with either reduced services or being closed on September 30th. A legislative change would be required to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to make it a public holiday for workers in provincially regulated workplaces. Decisions have not been made on any future statutory holidays for the province.”

At the September 14th meeting of the RM of McKillop council Chief Administrative Officer Brandi Morissette said the item came up on her Administrator’s Facebook group. She said some municipalities are passing resolutions to stay closed on September 30th, and some are remaining open and not recognizing it. Morisette noted the City of Regina is recognizing the day, and she said the consensus was that most smaller municipalities are not recognizing it. Reeve Bob Schmidt agreed, “We already give a couple extra stat days a year.” Councillor Don Whitrow joked, “but I do believe that council should actually start telling the truth and reconcile a bunch of stuff on that day.” The CAO laughed, “on that day council has to be very truthful.” Councillor Gilbert chimed in, “what are we going to do? Stand in the corner?”. There was laughter from several others around the table. Morissette reiterated that the consensus is that it’s hitting the larger municipalities rather than the smaller ones. The RM decided not to recognize the day and remain open for business.

At the September 22nd meeting for the Town of Nokomis, the matter came before the town council. Mayor David Mark noted the day was Federally regulated and that they were not required to recognize it. Councillor Erica Fisher said that they could use their discretionary power as a council, and she thought it would show tremendous respect by recognizing the day. Mayor David Mark said he agreed. Fisher made a motion for the Town of Nokomis municipal office to close in recognition of September 30th. Her motion was seconded by Councillor Lois Mortenson and passed unanimously.

Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times

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