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Speaking at a youth-led event on Parliament Hill Friday, Indigenous teen and activist Autumn Peltier said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must do more to advance reconciliation in areas such as ensuring access to safe drinking water.

The late morning event, which included speeches, music and a moment of silence, was part of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It was created as a federal statutory holiday by Parliament in 2021, meaning federal offices and the House of Commons were closed. Events took place throughout the day in Ottawa and across the country.

“Today is not a holiday. Today we recognize our strength, our perseverance and our voices. And our leadership in today’s society, and tomorrow,” said Ms. Peltier, 18, who is the Anishinabek Nation’s Chief Water Commissioner and a global water activist who has previously addressed the United Nations. She has also shared a stage with Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum.

“I never planned to spend my life doing this but I am committed and I want our people to have access to clean water. I would love collaboration, more actions taken towards these inequalities I speak about. When I was 12, I came face to face with Prime Minister Trudeau and was told not to say anything. I spoke up and asked him for support for our people. The highest figure in our country made me a promise to protect the water and people, and five years later, I’m still waiting. We shall continue to be strong and step forward together. Healing is possible and there is hope.”

Mr. Trudeau is scheduled to speak at a Truth and Reconciliation ceremony Friday afternoon at Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats Park. Earlier in the day, he took part in a sunrise ceremony with residential school survivors in the Niagara Region and then spoke at an event related to the day.

During that morning speech, he said the government is making progress on reconciliation, while acknowledging more is needed.

“We’ve made historic investments in Indigenous priorities like health care, housing, infrastructure, ending boil water advisories, moving forward to protect language, protect culture, protect traditional knowledge to lift up Indigenous identity. And that happens by putting Indigenous leadership and Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous priorities at the centre of everything we do,” he said. “As we journey this path, we will continue to make these important investments and work with you to close all these gaps that continue to exist today.”

The Globe has put together two explainers on events in Ottawa and across Canada to mark the day, as well as what to know about the day’s significance. They can be found here and here.

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Mr. Trudeau’s Friday schedule revolves around the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. He took part in a sunrise ceremony and a morning event in the Niagara Region and is scheduled to speak at an afternoon event in Ottawa.


Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre took part in a sunrise ceremony in Ottawa.

“Today, we listen to the survivors, remember those - the children - we lost, and commit to continue walking the path of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people,” he said in a social media post.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s Friday schedule includes attending the national day events on Parliament Hill.

“Today, we honour the children who never returned home, survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities,” said Mr. Singh in a statement. “We reflect on our collective history of colonialism and genocide. Today is a reminder of the harm caused and the work to be done.”

No schedule was released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.


Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on thinking twice before answering if Jason Kenney calls: “A report by the Canada West Foundation (CWF) released this past spring found that between 2017 and 2021, Alberta’s net out-migration of people between the ages of 25 and 29 each year was 1,133. In 2020, meantime, Calgary ranked 29th out of 35 metropolitan areas in the country in terms of the percentage of residents aged 20 to 24. What is happening? Alberta has a reputation problem. According to the CWF report, many young people are leaving because the province lacks vibrancy and diversity. It is also often negatively associated with intolerance. The pandemic did nothing to soften this image.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Pierre Poilievre’s welcome to the resistance:As such, I expect that Mr. Poilievre will no longer be selective in his outrage, and careful in his implications when going on the attack. Indeed, having expressed his intolerance for this sort of extremism, and humbled by its personal effect, Mr. Poilievre will surely refrain from dabbling in conspiracies that play to stereotypes about certain groups, and pretending he doesn’t see lawlessness and bigotry in movements he supports, and shrugging off radicalism among his fans so he can keep a certain antagonism going between himself and the media. Right? Anything else would render him a charlatan and a raging hypocrite. No, Mr. Poilievre, the authentic politician that he is, will surely maintain his intolerance for extremism even when the flames move to his neighbours’ homes. Welcome to the resistance, Mr. Poilievre: the attacked, the marginalized and the vulnerable look forward to your advocacy.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on why François Legault is suddenly singing federalism’s praises on the campaign trail: “Part of the reason for Mr. Legault’s more federalist discourse during this campaign may lie in the CAQ’s increasing reliance on older voters, a constituency that has traditionally been loyal to the Liberals. Originally, the CAQ base was made up of 35- to 54-year-olds. But, in recent months, it has lost significant ground to voters in that age group to the Conservative Party of Quebec.”

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