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Still no plans to make Day for Truth and Reconciliation a stat holiday in Sask.

First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Minister Don McMorris says the province has no intentions of making National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a provincial statutory holiday. Derek Putz / Global News

First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Minister Don McMorris says the province has no plans to make National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a provincial statutory holiday.

“Our government has decided not to move on that but really encourage people to recognize and respect the day,” McMorris said Thursday at Miyo-wîcîwitowin Day in Regina.

“It means so much to so many and is such a dark part of our history that people take the time to recognize the day without making it a provincial holiday.”

Pressed on the idea, McMorris said there’s “lots of reasons” why his government isn’t taking that action.

“I think you could say instead of isolating it as Orange Shirt Day there are many days that you can pause and respect what went on with residential schools,” he said.

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“When you look at our overall compliment of stat holidays in Saskatchewan, we are among the leaders of all provinces for stat holidays and really felt this is a personal one on which you can reflect in your own way.”

The day was declared a federal stat last year, entitling federally regulated workers to the holiday.

Read more: Calls for the Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be a provincial holiday in Sask.

Some are critical of that position.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is currently petitioning to make the day a holiday, saying doing so “will provide working people with the opportunity to use the day to learn, quietly reflect, or participate in reconciliation events in their communities.

On Thursday, at miyo-wîcîwitowin Day in Regina, Assembly of First Nations Chief RoseAnne Archibald shared her thoughts on the subject.

“I would hope that over time all these provinces would eventually see the importance of having this as a holiday so people can take that time to reflect and pause,” she said.

“And really understand the truth of this country. That genocide happened here. That these institutions are former institutions of assimilation and genocide.”

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Read more: Is Sept. 30 a stat holiday in your province? Here’s what to know

Meanwhile, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy Lecturer Danette Starblanket says the focus should instead be on honouring truth and reconciliation every day.

“Is it a day off? That’s my question,” she told Global News earlier this week at a University of Regina panel discussion discussion on the future of Indigenous self-government.

“It should be every day. And if we give people the idea that, you’ve had the day off, you should be thinking about what this means. you want that every day. I don’t really have a position, on whether or not it should be a holiday,  to raise their voices and push it forward.”

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