ATU Canada Statement on Truth and Reconciliation Day

As we reflect on our country’s first-ever National Truth and Reconciliation Day, ATU Canada stands in solidarity with all those who have faced the horrors of residential schools or who have lost children, relatives, or friends at the hands of these terrible institutions as well all those who faced the brunt of centuries of colonization in Canada.

Reconciliation is not just a word or something that occurs on just one day. Reconciliation means taking action and following the leadership of Indigenous elders and youth as they continue to grapple with the truths unearthed earlier this year. But Reconciliation is also a time for critical reflection.

It can be difficult to grapple with the fact that something you might have been taught was without flaws or had very little flaws can have such a dark and traumatizing history. Or that people you were once taught to look up to and admire are actually people who were historically complicit in unspeakable acts such as the violence and genocide that occurred at residential schools (and is still occurring today in other ways) – but these historical tragedies are not matters of opinion, they are facts and reflecting on them is not only important but necessary. 

Critically reflecting on these facts and embracing calls from Indigenous communities for reconciliation and justice does not mean you are erasing history but that you are attempting to create a better future. 

We must respect the calls of our Indigenous comrades in and outside of the labour movement and push for a society that is based around justice and decolonization.

So, let’s remember that the journey and task of reconciliation doesn’t end on September 30th but should continue each and every day.

John Di Nino, President

ATU Canada