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Youth earn $5,000 for Haliburton Heat Bank

Joseph Quigley

Two Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) students earned $5,000 for Heat Bank Haliburton County through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Canada June 4.  

Bence Suranyi and Stefan Salaris beat out their Grade 10 civics classmates with their presentation on the Heat Bank.

The school-wide competition is part of the YPI program, which runs similar charitable contests in schools around the world.  

Suranyi said their presentation highlighted the success stories of the charity.

“The Haliburton Heat Bank is a less-known charity than the other ones that were competing,” Suranyi said. “I think that helped shed light on the Heat Bank.”  

“The stories that (Heat Bank co-ordinator) Tina (Jackson) gave were probably really moving because sometimes they were really tragic,” Salaris added. 

 The YPI initiative has run at HHSS for 12 years. The program goes into the curriculum as a graded project for the school’s civics class. The project requires students to engage with charities in their community and share what they have learned in a presentation. The top-five projects compete in front of the school, with the winning group earning $5,000 for their charity.

The group has donated more than $50,000 to local charities since it started running in Haliburton.  Teacher Paul Longo, who co-ordinates YPI at HHSS, said the program remains successful. 

“It gets Grade 10 students out in the community, visiting charities, asking questions, learning about what we do in this community that’s so important as far as volunteer work,” Longo said. 

Jackson said the charity, which provides firewood and heat to vulnerable people, has participated in projects for YPI before. But this is the first time the charity has won.  

“I am just so proud of the work that both of these youth did, in pouring everything into the presentation that won us the money,” Jackson said. “This is one of the largest donations we’ll likely receive this year.“

They were absolutely passionate. They believed in what we were doing,” she added.  

Salaris said to succeed in the competition, it is vital to choose a charity you care about.  “Pick a charity you believe in, like and would stand for,” he said.

Sports Hall of Fame inductees revealed

The Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame has announced its first inductees.

Eleven athletes, three ‘builders’ and three teams will be celebrated in an exhibit on the upper level of the A.J. LaRue Arena.

A wide range of athletes were recognized: football stars Michael Bradley, and Taly Williams; track and field Olympian Lesley Tashlin and university track star, Anna Tomlinson; hockey players Cody Hodgson, Ron Stackhouse, Bernie Nicholls, Donald Beverley “Joe” Iles, Glen Dart and Marla MacNaull, and curler Jake Walker.

Those honoured in the builders category – supporting sporting culture in the area – include Linda J. Brandon, Albert John (Ab) LaRue and Lenny Salvatori.

Famed hockey teams throughout history also get a nod: the 1934 Haliburton Huskies, 1956-58 Minden Monarchs and the 1971 Haliburton Junior D Huskies will be recognized for their accomplishments on the ice.

“This is a group of people and teams that truly reflect the depth and the breadth of athletics in the Highlands,” said Scotty LaRue, chair of the Hall of Fame board.

“We have 11 athletes, three builders and three teams whose excellence and commitment deserve to be celebrated and that is exactly what we are doing.”

LaRue and the rest of the Hall of Fame board will host an induction ceremony on October 23.

“These individuals have contributed so much to their sports and to their communities and we want to ensure these contributions are never forgotten,” LaRue said in a press release.

The Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame will occupy a temporary space in A.J LaRue Arena’s community hall.

The Hall of Fame is part of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative, and raised funds for the exhibition’s display cabinets, website, and promotional materials with help from community donations.

The Highlander will be profiling each athlete, builder and team in upcoming issues.

Lions let the kids loose in enchanted forest

Rocks, wooden discs, and PVC pipes took centre stage as the Haliburton and District Lions Club presented Abbey Gardens with a collection of loose parts toys on June 4.

Loose parts refers to a style of play many early childhood educators recommend, gathering natural and manmade objects which kids can rearrange and get creative with. The toys, either made by the Lions or collected in nature, will reside in Abbey Gardens’ Enchanted Forest Play area.

“The idea of loose parts play is no one will tell them what to do with it, they’ll do it themselves,” said Gail Stelter, chair of the Lion’s Enchanted Forest Service Project.

The Lions started working with Abbey Gardens to outfit the play area after it was vandalized two years ago. Abbey Gardens put out a call to local community groups for help rebuilding the area: Stelter said the Lions immediately jumped on board.

As several Lions members unloaded a protective bin, PVC pipes, round river rocks and other creative toys into the Enchanted Forest area, Stelter explained how the Lions felt drawn to support Abbey Gardens’ natural play place.

“For me personally, and for the Lions, children are dear to all of our hearts,”

Stelter said. Stelter organized the effort to find and create creative toys for the loose parts play area. Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary donated much of the PVC pipe which kids will be able to use to roll balls down, build roadways with and more.

Irene Heaven and Cara Steele from Abbey Gardens said they were excited to receive the toy delivery.

“You can tell that the Lions are really trying to tell in how children are playing, in the construction zone, what materials are going to be meaningful to them,” said Steele.

Heaven said she appreciates that the Lions value investing in younger generations.

“I think it’s very valuable on so many levels,” said Heaven, “not just providing stuff, but providing that input into how the space is being used by younger people.”

The Enchanted Forest is a free playground on Abbey Gardens’ property. Between tree trunks and bushes, kids can read at the Lion’s donated library stand, play with puppets once COVID-19 protocols allow and now experiment and play with the new loose parts toys.

“We want a safe place for children to play, for families to visit,” said Stelter.

As the Lions chatted with Abbey Gardens staff, they were already suggesting new ideas: cars and trucks and balls to roll around the PVC tubes and chutes in the loose parts area.

The Enchanted Forest play area will also be a key part in Abbey Gardens’ summer day camp program.

With COVID-19 protocols in place, kids will get a chance to explore the surrounding property and spend lots of time amid the trees and play areas.

“They’re in a safe spot outside,” explained Heaven. “They’re in nature, they’re exploring our big back yard together.”

“I think that’s a very important experience anytime, but after being isolated from one another it’s going to be something extremely important this year.”

Stelter said the Lions will continue to work with Abbey Gardens – they still have space in the fundraising budget for more Enchanted Forest projects.

“Anything that we can do to help children is important,” Stelter said.

“We want to promote to our community that the Lions are here for kids.”

Riding for ‘Rowdy’ on D-Day anniversary

On June 6, 1944, 14,000 Canadians stormed Juno Beach, helping the allied forces beat back Nazi troops.

On June 6, 2021, Sir Harold Rowden, who was part of the D-Day advancement, was honoured with a special celebration.

A parade of motorcycle riders and an honour guard of Legion members greeted Rowden – often called “Rowdy” – outside Royal Canadian Legion Branch 129 in Haliburton.

The veteran, whose 97th birthday coincided with the anniversary, was a member of the 13th Field Artillery Regiment.

Flanked by Legion members, he waved and saluted as 64 motorcyclists paraded past – in homage to his service as a motorcycle courier; a job which saw him exposed to Axis forces while delivering messages to different military units.

“My officer would give me a message to take to the front,” Rowden said.

Upon delivery, “the boys would run up to me and shake my hand.”

After his service in Normandy, Rowden was named a Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Sir Harold recently moved from Orillia into the Gardens of Haliburton retirement home in Haliburton Village.

“I’m very thankful to have him in the community,” said Haliburton Legion President, Don Pitman. “And to have the show of love from all the riders that came out today and the people that took the time to organize it and show respect.”

Mark Duggan played a key role in organizing the ride.

“We wanted to pay tribute to Harold, and thank him,” said Duggan, who became friends with Rowden over the past few years in Orillia.

Duggan presented Sir Harold and the Legion with plaques, memorializing his service and his connection to motorcycling history.

Across the street, motorcyclists and onlookers applauded.

Before the motorcycle riders arrived, trumpeter Andy Salvatore played The Last Post, in solemn remembrance of the lives lost 77 years ago.

“Today, [Rowden] said the bigger remembrance is the people that were left behind,” Pitman said. “That really hit the nail on the head.”

An estimated 4,400 Allied soldiers died during the Normandy beach invasion – more than 1,000 were Canadians. The attack is viewed as a turning point in The Second World War, driving German troops to retreat.

Linda Battams, a regional commander with the Legion, said she hopes younger Canadians learn about people such as Rowden and their service to the military.

“I want them to remember the veterans,” Battams said, “what they’ve done for us, the sacrifices they’ve made for us, and honour them.”

High school pioneers equity and inclusion

By Kirk Winter

Students and staff at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) are at the forefront of the new school board initiative for equity and inclusion, its principal and vice principal told a May 25 school board meeting.

Chris Boulay and Jennifer Mills said whether it is learning more about First Nations culture or understanding the value of being a global citizen, HHSS is taking steps to make students aware of equity and to create a climate of equality for all at their school.

Some examples are ensuring a diversity in language department resources, Indigenous topics being embedded into course content, including smudging ceremonies, and students being offered a senior level Equity and Social Justice course in the 2021-2022 school year.

Boulay and Mills outlined the Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion Initiative at the school. It’s better known by its acronym of JEDI.

“We began this initiative last spring,” Boulay said. “We wanted to bring equity, inclusion and justice to the forefront of our classrooms. Our work around these issues is not done. We want to have conversations about big issues with our kids present.”

“We want to be focusing on global citizenship and ensure that kids are aware of each other and what is going on in their community,” Boulay added. “We want to create positive change in a non-judgemental way.”

What began as a learning opportunity for staff has now been shared with students to hopefully create positive change in the world by increasing awareness and acting to reduce factors that impinge on equal opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, class, ability, religion, sexual orientation, identity or circumstance.

“JEDI also hopes to create and foster a positive school environment,” Boulay said, “where each person’s unique set of ideas, beliefs and skills are valued and represented.”

Mills added, “We wanted to look at how we can make change looking at issues like privilege. Our journey is just beginning. About half the students in the building engaged with the program and generally the feedback has been very positive.”

Mills admitted that some student feedback was negative, suggesting the program is “too political” and that because of Haliburton’s isolation, its content isn’t necessarily impactful on students’ lives.”

But Mills said, “We need to open up people’s minds to different points of view.”

Chief trustee Bruce Reain called JEDI “a great project and it was good to see kids so involved in it.”

Student trustee Kaylee Kelly added her support, calling JEDI at HHSS “absolutely inspiring” and complimented the school on the amount of time it has put into discussing important questions such as the ones JEDI is addressing.

School board celebrating Pride

The Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is recognizing Pride Month.

Superintendent Jennifer Johnson told the May 25 school board meeting that as part of ongoing work by the TLDSB Equity and Inclusion Task Force, they’re committed to supporting the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Plus community and their allies, so all people feel safe, welcome, included and respected.

Johnson said the board would like to ensure that all of its schools are a positive space for all students.

A recent review by school administrators suggested that most schools are ready to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and some are ready “to go deeper and continue cultural competency learning for staff, students and community.”

Pride Month is being recognized with the Pride flag flying from June 1 at the education centres in Muskoka and Lindsay, Johnson said.

She added that positive space documents and website pages have been updated and ready for promotion to staff, students and the school community.

Teachers are being supported with curriculum connections and resources to further imbed 2SLGBTQIA+ perspectives into classroom instruction.

The month will culminate with the progress Pride flag being raised at all TLDSB schools from June 21 to June 30.

Johnson said the rainbow colours of the Pride flag have long been a symbol of hope and peace and “raising the flag will visibly highlight the continued commitment to ensure equity, dignity, well-being, diversity and inclusion of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in TLDSB.”

Folk society zooms from coast to coast

Rural internet speeds and COVID-19 didn’t dampen The Haliburton County Folk Society’s first pay-per-view zoom concert.

“Because music doesn’t happen as often as it should these days, I thought I’d start off with something fun,” Halifax-based musician Ian Sherwood said as he began his performance June 5.

Sherwood strummed, sang and chatted with Coco Love Alcorn and Helen Austin in the Folk Society’s “Music from Coast to Coast” Zoom concert.

Concert organizer Don Gage said he and the society were pleased with how the show went.

“It was fantastic,” Gage said. “We’ve experimented with using local artists and doing Zoom shows over the last year – this is the first time we’ve done a ticketed event.”

Organizing a concert reliant on fast internet is no easy feat in the Highlands: high-speed internet is only available in select locations.

Gage, who had an appointment in London, was able to host the show remotely.

So far, the society has been spreading out around the County to prep and produce live shows.

“You have to have good internet for live music,” Gage said.

All three musicians sung songs from their own libraries, also leading singalongs such as Coco Love Alcorn’s song, “This world is for everyone.”

The singer conducted viewers as they sang on their own Zoom screens.

Eighty people chimed in from across the County and beyond – typing messages to each other while the stream took place.

“There was some back and forth between the audience and the performer too,” Gage said.

He said the feedback from viewers was “unbelievably positive.”

Afterwards, many left excited comments on the group’s Facebook page.

The Folk Society tried out a couple of live shows before this cross-Canada event.

To work around internet speed issues, volunteers usually set up in three locations: The Dominion Hotel in Minden, Haliburton Village’s Rails End Gallery and the HCDC office in Haliburton Village. From their, they can help musicians produce their live streamed shows.

For Music from Coast to Coast, however, each musician was in their own home studios.

While Gage said everyone in the society hopes they can move to in-person shows soon, their positive experience producing the weekend’s concert means that a virtual music option for live concerts is likely here to stay.

“As we gradually move out of COVID, many people are still going to be reluctant to go to live shows,” Gage said.

The society’s next showcase features local musicians Kate Hall, Just Jodi and Virginia de Carle on Saturday June 12.

Registration is available on the society’s website, haliburtonfolk.com.

Choosing creative solitude: artist residency to reopen

While the easing of COVID-19 restrictions means many are excited to gather again, it also will allow artists, musicians and actors to seek isolation at the re-opened Halls Island Artist Residency.

Artists who had residencies cancelled in 2020 will have the chance to dive into their art form on the scenic island on Koshlong Lake.

“Halls Island Artist Residency is an amazing opportunity for artists to come to Haliburton, be inspired by its beauty and add to the rich fabric of our local community,” said Don Gage, co-chair of Halls Island residency in a press release.

“We’re excited by what our resident artists will do this summer.”

The residency is set to see its first guest on June 12, with the Haliburton County Development Corporation’s Local Initiatives Program helping to fund the reopening.

In 2019, a wide range of accomplished creatives spent time at the island: 2021’s guests are no different.

New York Times best-selling writer Cathy Marie Buchanan, R&B singer Sandra Bouza, playwright Beverley Cooper and more are set to attend.

While in-person programming is cancelled to comply with COVID-19 regulations, virtual programs will be announced throughout the summer.

So far, residency guests will be invited to partake in a video project: Escape to Halls Island. In a six-minute video, they’ll be encouraged to explore themes of creativity – however that looks for each person.

In November, the Haliburton Arts Council will host a premiere of the compiled videos.

In the past, residency guests have hosted readings, writing workshops and invited the public to participate in video projects.

Despite that programming shift due to the pandemic, solitude, quiet and space to create are key parts of the residency which has been operating on the private island since 2019.

“We’ve all been forced into isolation throughout the year,” said Joan Duhaime, Halls Island arts administrator. “But I think these artists are looking for that anyways for their creative process.”

“It also offers them a different location,” said Duhaime. “Isolation from their daily grind – isolation from [their] house.”

For artists looking for off-grid space to create next year, the residency will be accepting applications for the summer of 2022 starting in November.

You can find out more at hallsisland.ca

Art meets expression at gallery launch

Whether on childhood trips to his family’s cottage, or painting en plein air around the County as a seasoned artist, Byron Hodgins often found inspiration in the Highlands.

“Every time you go up, you leave a bit of yourself there,” said Hodgins, who now lives in Ottawa.

This summer, he’s opening a new permanent gallery in the sprawling main floor of Haliburton village’s Lucas House.

The rotating exhibition will showcase work from accomplished contemporary painters from across the province.

“I really want artists to come up and experience Haliburton, and bring their work up, and see their work in that context,” Hodgins said.

The gallery is owned by Simon Payn and Bram Lebo. Payn is publisher of The Highlander.

After coordinating with Lebo and Payn, Hodgins curated a test show in 2020. His work weaves his own psyche between Haliburton County’s lakes, rivers, forest tracts and settlements.

“I’m painting a meeting point between myself and the landscape,” he said.

Now, he’s inviting four other initial artists to show their work alongside his throughout 2021.

Margaret Glew, Julie Himel, Scott Sawtell and Shannon Dickie will hang their paintings in the rooms and hallways of the Victorian-era building across from the A.J. LaRue Arena.

“I liked what Byron was doing – in putting a gallery of contemporary and abstract work in a place that hasn’t had that before,” Glew said.

Glew is a widely-celebrated textile, painting and sculpture artist. Her work has been featured in more than 20 solo exhibitions and been shown in galleries from Kelowna to New York City.

The Corner Gallery offers contemporary artists an unusual space to show their work, Glew said.

“I like the contrast between the old and the contemporary – the grilled work, the places for candles; it’s a beautiful room.”

Hodgins said he’s excited for people to experience strikingly modern paintings in a building with such history.

“Most galleries are a bit of a white cube – you just see the art only,” he said. Lucas House, a downtown landmark, is a meandering collection of rooms and corridors not typically associated with vibrant contemporary paintings.

“This space is a bit different. You hear the creaky floors – you see the wood molding. You know, this room was a dining room at one time, you know that that room was the proprietor’s office,” said Hodgins.

Lucas House is also home to The Highlander and Lebo Law.

Glew’s show, Slow Time, is set to open June 12. Throughout the summer, Hodgins said each artist might even be able to do an artist talk through Zoom.

Himel, Sawtell, Dickie and Hodgins will display shows throughout the summer and fall.

While each brings a different style and subject matter to the gallery – Dickie’s work deals with blurred memories and dreamy scenes, for example – they all celebrate and reflect the craft of painting.

“These are painter’s painters,” Hodgins said. “These are artists who are really positive about painting,”

Hodgins said that the Corner Gallery plans to grow and develop organically – engaging with the community through contemporary art.

“Potentially it will open up to have deeper conversations with the community and its history, and where it could be going,” he said.

Lebo said, “Haliburton is an arts community and deserves more art galleries. Lucas House is so beautiful, it needs to be open to the public and we thought this was the best way to honour its history and add to the value of Haliburton as a destination.”

To stay up to date about the gallery’s opening dates, and learn more about the artists visit cornergallery.ca.

Retirees get chance to tour new suites by lake

While a ribbon-cutting or grand opening celebration is on hold, the Gardens of Haliburton retirement residence is open for business.

Since COVID-19 restrictions have begun easing, retirees can now tour the games rooms, medical facilities and check out the view from a suite overlooking Head Lake.

The building’s first residents began moving in on May 1.

Phil McKenzie, company partner, said he heard many residents were excited to find out assisted living was available in the County.

“So many people who wanted the levels of care that we provide,” McKenzie said. “They were so happy to be coming back to Haliburton.”

Thirty-one suites are reserved out of 70 available units, which range from one bedroom hotel-style rooms to larger multiroom suites. Since last August, Patti Lou Robinson, director of community relations, has been heading up a showroom in downtown Haliburton Village.

“Now that the restrictions have been lifted, we’re now able to actually take people on tours,” Robinson said. “There’s still some restrictions: only two people at a time, you must wear a mask.”

Unlike rules during the worst part of the province’s third wave, there is no quarantine period for residents after movein – they must isolate only until a COVID19 test comes back negative.

“People that were afraid to come in and be quarantined, are changing their thoughts,” Robinson said. “More and more people are interested in coming to see the suites and reserve them.”

She also said many people she’s spoken to have been drawn to the residence’s flexible living styles.

“There is the ability to have services provided for you, for different levels of care one might need,” Robinson said.

The entire ground floor of the building is made up of common spaces for residents: a large dining area complements two spaces residents can reserve for special dinners or family functions.

Once restrictions ease, more and more amenities will be available to residents: a gym, hair salon, and a small bus service to nearby towns and attractions, for example.

“There’s always something going on – it’s more like choosing ‘what am I going to do? rather than ‘is there anything to do?’” Robinson said.

Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts hasn’t visited yet but said she’s excited that the residence is bringing more people – and jobs – to the County.

“There’s lots of well-paying jobs with something like this,” Roberts said. “It’s a great asset to our town and County.”

The Gardens of Haliburton currently employs more than 20 people. Phase two of construction, a multi-storey addition attaching to the end of the main building, will begin once the current suites are nearly filled. McKenzie estimates with that addition, the residence will provide more than 50 full-time positions.

For more on the Gardens of Haliburton, and current employment openings, visit gardensofhaliburton.ca

County recognized for talking up recycling

The Municipalities of Dysart et al, Algonquin Highlands, Highlands East, Minden Hills and the County of Haliburton brought home the hardware at the Municipal Waste Association’s 2021 promotion and education awards June 2.

Dysart et al environmental manager, John Watson, said Dysart et al received a Gold Print Tool Award for its children’s activity book Let’s Protect the Environment Together. The book was available for pickup during the fall of 2020, and is also available for download at dysartetal.ca/ waste. The other award winners in the category were Dufferin County (silver), and City of Barrie (bronze).

The judging committee said, “By targeting a specific audience, this activity book was fun and creative, and demonstrated that small municipalities can implement effective promotion and education.”

Dysart, Algonquin Highlands, Highlands East, Minden Hills, and the County of Haliburton, in partnership with the Haliburton County Public Library, also won a silver Social Media and Online Strategy Award for their fall 2020 Waste Reduction Week in Canada social media campaign. The other award winners in this category were Region of Waterloo (gold), and City of Toronto (bronze).

On the Haliburton municipalities’ submission, judges said, “The partnership between four small municipalities, the County and library, helped effectively deliver consistent and clear waste diversion messaging to residents.”

The Municipal Waste Association is an incorporated not-for-profit organization formed in 1987 by Ontario municipal waste management professionals to facilitate the sharing of municipal waste reduction and recycling information and experience.

Its annual awards recognize outstanding achievements by Ontario municipalities for the use of effective waste minimization and diversion communication efforts.

Schmale on Kamloops: status quo not working

When Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale first heard that the remains of 215 children, some as young as three, had been found buried outside a residential school in Kamloops, BC, he reacted as a father.

“It makes you sick,” he said in a June 4 interview.

As the Shadow Minister for CrownIndigenous Relations, Schmale added, “It’s something that has profoundly lasting and damaging impact on Indigenous culture, heritage and language. The legacy of residential schools is a shame.”

In a wide-sweeping interview, Schmale said the fact the last residential school was closed in 1996 means it is not something that happened in a faraway time. “The effects are still having ramifications on the survivors today, on the people that are very much around today.”

Schmale said he has been the lead of the file for the Official Opposition Conservatives. He has been working closely with leader Erin O’Toole and his office, committees, and speaking with Indigenous People, “reaching out and talking with them and trying to develop a fast forward.”

It began with work June 1 and is continuing.

He stressed that the Conservatives “felt this wasn’t an opportunity to politicize something,” but rather making “helpful suggestions. Not placing blame or anything like that because we know the failures are on governments of all stripes going right back,” Schmale said.

His party has asked for the government to develop a plan for Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) calls for actions 71-76, dealing with missing children and burial information by July 1. They also want funding for investigations at all former residential schools in Canada where unmarked graves may exist. Thirdly, ensuring the proper resources are allocated to communities to commemorate and honour the individuals discovered through the investigations and an education plan for Canadians of all ages to understand what happened.

He said any plan going forward must be Indigenous-led, with Ottawa providing assistance.

“Some believe they are gravesites, some crime scenes. Both are true. Some are saying leave it, some are saying let’s get closure … it has to be Indigenous-led not Ottawa-led.”

The local MP said he is having emotional talks with Indigenous Peoples following the gruesome discovery.

He said a lot were not surprised by the finding but were by the number. He said many tell stories of classmates having gone missing and never coming back.

“Most of it is listening, trying to understand the pain they were and have been feeling.”

He thinks this is just the beginning.

Backing Charlie Angus’ call for reform

Schmale said his party plans to vote in favour of NDP Charlie Angus’ motion on the issue, with a vote expected the week of June 7.

As of June 3, they are calling on the Liberals to: end their legal battle against the First Nations children and accept the findings of the Human Rights Tribunal; end their legal battle against the St. Anne’s survivors; push for the adoption of the TRC calls to action particularly calls 71-76; provide survivors and their families the support for dealing with the trauma; and table within 10 days the steps they have taken to end their legal battles.

Schmale said, “We need to deal with this. We need to take action. We know what needs to be done. We need to listen to what the people on the ground are telling us and how we should proceed and then do it.”

The local MP said it’s clear governments have failed for centuries and this is “an opportunity to perhaps think differently on the situation. The status quo is not working so how do we proceed with reconciliation in a more meaningful way? And that includes financial and economic reconciliation too.”

For example, he said there remains equality issues. Some Indigenous police services do not have the same powers and resources as other police forces in the same province. He said the officers know the communities, people, families, and how to deal with situations differently but don’t have the same powers to deal with those situations and that must change.

He said many First Nations people don’t have the ability to acquire property, sell land, have self-governance and the resources to do that.

Referencing years-long boil water advisories, Schmale said in “today’s day and age, how the heck is this still happening?” In some cases, he said it is because a local has not been trained to service a water treatment plant.

“The mechanism of the way government and the bureaucratic structure works, it’s failing, and until we fix that, I think no matter who’s in power, this will be a problem. The fact it’s taken us 150 yearsplus and we’re still failing – at what point do we say the status quo isn’t working? We need to change the way we’re operating. And a lot of that can be done with Indigenous-led.”

“No matter where you were in Canada, when news of what happened in Kamloops came out, I think it affected everyone, Indigenous, non-Indigenous, it didn’t matter. When you hear about a mass gravesite of 215 children, some as young as three, I think a whole country mourns.”