Dan Albas

Dan Albas

COLUMN: Coming to terms with National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

MP Dan Albas offers thoughts on recent federal politics and a national day of reflection

Normally during the third week of September, all MPs would be heading back to Ottawa as the House of Commons would resume the fall sitting.

This year, because of the election called by the Prime Minister, it will be delayed. Earlier this week Prime Minister Trudeau announced that he expects to announce his cabinet sometime in October.

The Prime Minister further announced that he intends to recall Parliament later this fall. Potentially this could mean November or even early December.

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Typically, the House only sits for the first few weeks of December which creates two challenges.

The first is that this provides a limited opportunity for Trudeau to advance any legislation through the House before the end of the year.

Secondly, it also provides little opportunity for all party parliamentary committees to properly scrutinize this government and hold it accountable to Canadians.

The Prime Minister also this week announced his priorities with his new government.

The immediate priority will be establishing mandatory vaccination policies for all federal government employees and similar restrictions for Canadians travelling within Canada on “planes and trains” as Trudeau often states.

What is interesting about these priorities is that they did not require an election to implement. In fact, it could be argued that these measures could have already been implemented had the Prime Minister focussed on these priorities instead of calling an election.

One question already arising is will federal employees who refuse to be vaccinated be terminated from employment?

According to media reports “the (federal) government is still locked in negotiations with the public sector unions that represent tens of thousands of federal bureaucrats…” on this very topic.

Once more information is available, I will share it in a future report.

On a different and very important topic, Thursday, Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

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This day is now a federal statutory holiday intended to create an opportunity for Canadians to commemorate and honour the Indigenous children who died while attending residential schools.

It is also an opportunity to support the survivors, their families and communities still affected by the legacy of residential schools.

We must never overlook that many loved ones never returned home.

Here in our region of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola, many of our local Indigenous communities were severely impact by these institutions and to this day there are families still searching for answers.

On Thursday, Sept. 30 I ask all citizens to reflect on this dark part of our past and consider what we can do to help support Indigenous communities on our shared road to reconciliation.

My question this week: What ideas do you have to help advance progress on reconciliation?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament-elect for the riding of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

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ColumnistFederal Politics