PM Trudeau says some provinces must ‘realize their responsibility’ after Manitoba says no to Orange Shirt Day stat

Canada’s prime minister says he hopes some provinces will take a stronger move towards truth and reconciliation – comments he made just one day after Manitoba’s premier said there would be no statutory holiday for Orange Shirt Day in the province.

While in Winnipeg Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked if the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 – also referred to as Orange Shirt Day – should be a statutory holiday in all provinces and territories.

“I would very much like to see provinces move forward more seriously on reconciliation than they have been,” Trudeau said.

“There are some provinces that have not moved forward as quickly or strongly or as forcefully on the path of reconciliation as either the federal government has, or as other provinces have, and I certainly would like to see more provinces – all provinces do more on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

This comes less than a day after Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson told reporters Orange Shirt Day will not be a statutory holiday this year in Manitoba.

In speaking to reporters Tuesday, Stefanson said there is no consensus within the Indigenous community on what should be done for that day.

“I would like to let them do what they want with the day,” said Stefanson.

Sept. 30 is a day meant as a time for Canadians to learn and reflect on the impact residential schools have had and what truth and reconciliation really mean. It is among the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

It has been a statutory holiday for federal workers and workplaces since 2021 – a move Trudeau said the federal government made in discussions with Indigenous communities.

“We certainly hope that provinces would realize their responsibility in the path of reconciliation and take on the actions laid out in the calls to action. But those, obviously, are decisions for the provinces to make,” Trudeau said.

“At the federal level, we believe that we needed to have a day for truth and reconciliation and that is what we did with Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.”

CTV News has reached out to the premier’s office for comment.

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