Monument to be erected outside B.C. legislature as part of reconciliation commitments

Monument to be erected outside B.C. legislature as part of reconciliation commitments
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The Speaker of B.C.’s legislature has outlined an action plan the Legislative Assembly will use towards reconciliation, including erecting a monument outside the building.

Five commitments with supporting initial actions were presented at the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Wednesday, encased in a 12-page report.

The Reconciliation Action Plan aims to acknowledge past injustices caused by the legislative assembly and to develop a framework to incorporate Indigenous histories, cultures, and representation by 2028.

“Reconciliation isn’t done better later, it’s better done now,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for North Saanich and the Islands.

The report presented five commitments. Each had initial actions, which were the first steps in reaching those commitments.

The first commitment is acknowledging the role the Legislative Assembly played in affecting Indigenous Peoples through its actions. The Speaker, on behalf of the assembly, will deliver a formal apology to all First Nations across the province.

“We’re here to mark another important step towards ensuring First Nations are included and represented within and outside these walls,” said Hon. Raj Chouhan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

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Educational opportunities will be presented to all members and staff to learn more about Indigenous histories, cultures, and issues.

Rules, practices, and symbols within and adhered to by the Legislative Assembly will be reviewed to ensure Indigenous customs are incorporated properly.

Public spaces and visitor programming will also be reviewed to explore ways in which Indigenous stories can be represented.

The assembly’s final commitment is to erect a monument to commemorate survivors and victims of the Residential School System.

“Government and this building is trying to ensure reconciling takes place but truth has to be recognized to ensure that we understand that,” said Howard Grant, Speaker’s Indigenous Reconciliation Advisory Committee member.

Chouhan says consultation will be done with Indigenous partners across the province before a design is finalized for the monument.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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