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City of Prince Albert makes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a paid holiday

City of Prince Albert employees will have Sept. 30 as a paid holiday following a decision by council to formally recognized the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a newly formed federal holiday.

Council voted in favour of the motion during their Sept. 7 regular meeting but several councillors expressed reservation that some would not use the day as it was intended.

“I am going to support the motion but I’m going to support with hesitation,” Councillor Blake Edwards said. “I have spoken to a few Indigenous leaders who don’t support the holiday. They don’t support it because it’s going to lose its true value.”

He said he doesn’t feel he deserves to have the day as a holiday. While recognising the need to acknowledge the harm done, Edwards worried people will not use the day for its intended purpose.

“Do I deserve a holiday because of the harm that was caused? I don’t think I do,” Edwards said.

It was an issue acknowledged by other councillors, but some took a more hopeful view.

“Change is a process. It takes time. The first Family Day in February I slept in and took the day off. But organizations took that and developed programs and activities around Family Day,” said Councillor Dennis Ogrodnick. “I think eventually it will come to mean truth and reconciliation. We will have programming and remembrances and commemoration on why we decided as a society that this is a day to sit back and reflect and acknowledge the pain and suffering that has occurred.”

Mayor Greg Dionne said he also was hesitant but would support the motion and did so wearing a shirt given to him the Metîs leaders several days before.
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