NDP Call for PCs to Make Orange Shirt Day a Statutory Holiday

November 25, 2021

Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB — Today NDP Critic for Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations, Ian Bushie, urged Premier Heather Stefanson to back up her words with meaningful action on reconciliation. Bushie urged the PC Caucus to pass his bill to make September 30th, also known as Orange Shirt Day, a statutory holiday in Manitoba.

“On September 30, Manitobans from all walks of life came together to honor Survivors and the children who never made it home, but not everyone was able to fully participate in learning and healing that day because the PCs refused to make it a statutory holiday,” said Bushie. “Brian Pallister set reconciliation back in Manitoba and if Premier Stefanson wants to show she’s different, she needs to do more than just say the right thing - she needs to do the right thing and ensure that every Manitoban can observe Orange Shirt Day with their loved ones.”

In 2017, Wab Kinew, who is an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, passed Bill 223, marking September 30th as Orange Shirt Day – a day to honor Residential School survivors. It was the first bill Kinew passed in the House. Kinew wrote to former Premier Pallister several times, most recently on October 9th 2020, urging him to make the day a statutory holiday but he never received a reply. Kinew also asked interim PC Leader Kelvin Goertzen to do the same, but he refused.

Bushie’s bill is a continuation of the NDP’s collaboration with Survivors, families and advocates to honor Survivors and help Manitobans learn more about our history and the work of reconciliation.