Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he supports the decision of the communities choosing to cancel or postpone Canada Day this year, in wake of the unmarked graves recently discovered in the province.
He said he will be celebrating on July 1, but at the same time taking some time to reflect.
“On this Canada Day, in particular, I think I will also be reflecting much more than I have on other Canada Days as to our history — both our positive history in this nation, but also our history that is not so positive and quite negative,” Moe said.
Moe said the message moving forward has to be about respecting each other regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race.
“We need to continue to respect one another, regardless of who we are, and to treat people with exactly the same degree of respect that we would hope to be treated with in return,” Moe said.
Referencing Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation’s comment about how residential schools are a result of a former generation and not necessarily the present during last week’s announcement of the estimated 751 unmarked graves on the former site of Marieval Indian Residential School, Moe said people today have the chance to better.
“We do have the opportunity as people of today, people of today’s generation, to determine how we act and how we move forward and move forward together as an inclusive society, as a respectful society,” Moe said.
“We also have a responsibility as community organizations, but I think most importantly as individuals … and educating ourselves on what Canada’s shared history is with our Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people and understanding that we need to do better as we move forward.”
Melville Mayor Walter Streelasky told Global News there will be events in the community, including fireworks and a parade, later this year.
“It’s not that we’re saying, no, not Canada Day, we’re saying let’s postpone this,” he said Monday.
Moe also said is supportive of community activist Prairie Crowe’s initiative of placing backpacks on the Saskatchewan Legislature for Canaday. Each backpack represents one of the unmarked graves.
— with files from Saba Aziz