Canada is an imperfect country. This year, if you choose to celebrate Canada Day, consider celebrating the more perfect country Canada can become. To do this, we must begin by acknowledging many deeply uncomfortable truths about Canada’s past—truths that still cause harm today.

The recent discovery of the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools is a reality that should overwhelm every Canadian to their core.

It is a stark reminder of a truth that most of us were not taught in history class: our country created a system of residential schools, the purpose and effect of which were a cultural genocide of First Nations and Metis people.  

Facing this truth is incredibly uncomfortable—yet every Canadian must do it for Canada to become the truly great nation is has the potential to be.

Why not spend some of this Canada Day learning about our troubled past and taking action to reverse its painful legacy? If you haven’t yet, read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) calls to action.

Read the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Contact your Member of Parliament and your Member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly to demand clean drinking water for First Nations communities, a provincial bus service, affordable housing, addictions treatment centres, and increased education funding.

Celebrate what we are, but always fight for better.

Whether you moved here or were born here, we are all treaty people; that means we are responsible for living up to the legal and moral obligations of those treaties. Let’s work together and honor those that have come before us this Canada Day.

We also need to lift up and celebrate September 30, which was recently announced as National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Start thinking now of what September 30 can look like going forward - let’s build the Canada we know we can be!

“This Canada Day, as imperfect as we are, we acknowledge we have years to go before we truly have a perfect union with our First Nations brothers and sisters. We need to lift up and celebrate September 30, which was recently announced as National Truth and Reconciliation Day.” - Barb Cape, President, SEIU-West

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