‘It’s very disappointing’: N.B. recognizes national day of mourning for Queen but not Truth and Reconciliation

Commemorative ceremonies were held at churches throughout the Maritimes Monday mourning the queen.

Events came together swiftly with the government of New Brunswick committing to a national day of mourning within days of her passing.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has made no moves to observe the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in 10 days.

“It’s very disappointing to know that the government is not given the same to of course the residential school Truth and Reconciliation file as is given to of course the Royal family,” said Chief Allan Polchies of St. Mary’s First Nation – Sitansisk.

“The province has never reached out to the grand council or the grandmothers to have any discussions about the Truth and Reconciliation Day,” said Grand Chief Ron Tremblay of the Wolostoq Grand Council.

It’s not only the Indigenous community who wants the day recognized.

“I’m really disappointed in the Higgs government but I’m not surprised,” said Stephen Drost, the president of CUPE New Brunswick.

The province’s Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed grievances with the province over it not recognizing the day as a holiday.

“Many of our locals have negotiated language long before this ever became an issue, that any national holiday that is proclaimed they would also receive that benefit,” Drost said.

“What’s happening in New Brunswick of course is that the premier is forcing these locals who have very clear language in their contract that they shall receive that day and they’re having to file grievances and go through the labour board process to achieve something they’ve already negotiated.”

The First Nations hope government will be open to more dialogue around their calls to action for Truth and Reconciliation.

“I don’t think they acknowledge as a body or as a political organization so it shows disrespect,” Tremblay said.

Truth and reconciliation day is Friday, Sept. 30.

“It’s very unfortunate that the government is one sided in these conversations,” said Polchies.

“We as Wolastoqey have been stewards to this land and just keep moving things forward and being respectful at the same time.”

The New Brunswick government did not respond to requests from CTV for comment before the time of publication.

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