Statement from MPP Andrea Horwath on Orange Shirt Day

“Today, I wear orange in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the many Indigenous children, throughout this country, who were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools. I wear orange to encourage the people around me to talk about the legacy of the schools. We must ask questions about the consequences of living in a place where your identity didn’t matter, where young children like Phyllis Webstad were forced to give up precious possessions like a new orange shirt, where Indigenous children’s traditions, heritage and culture were removed from them. As children all over Ontario and across Canada have just recently gone back in school, Orange Shirt Day is an important opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying discussions happening in classrooms. It is a stark reminder that we must keep discussing the past to learn from it. Today, on Orange Shirt Day, my wish is for the children of Ontario to talk to their teachers, classmates and parents about the residential schools and to understand that difference is not something to be feared, but rather, it is something to be celebrated.”