Since their October 4 meeting was cancelled due to technical difficulties, Clarence-Rockland council will be voting on October 18 to adopt some of the 94 Calls to Action tabled by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC). Mayor Mario Zanth wants to show other municipalities “how easy it is” to act on the recommendations.
Like many municipalities, Clarence-Rockland voted on September 20 to officially recognize September 30 as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal statutory day meant to honour the Indigenous children that were victimized by the residential school system. City council members plan to do more than just honour the day.
Council will be voting to implement three of the calls to action present in the TRC report. The first is to implement mandatory training of municipal staff and council on Indigenous issues, to promote a deeper understanding of issues and mitigate misunderstandings.
The second is to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which protects the collective rights that may not be addressed in other human rights charters. Specifically, it guarantees the rights of Indigenous peoples to practice their cultures, customs, religions, and languages, and to develop and strengthen their economies and institutions.
The third is to review and revise municipal bylaws to eliminate any prejudice or racism against Indigenous peoples that may be present.
The votes will occur at the October 18 council meeting. Mayor Mario Zanth is proud of the steps his municipality is taking, saying, “We may be one of the only municipalities to do this.”