South Peace News
The Town of High Prairie is closing its office Sept. 30 to honour National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Councillor Michael Long opened debate at the Sept. 14 meeting by telling council he was asked by a Sucker Creek Band member what council was planning.
“They’re asking if we’re taking the day off.”
Long favoured the holiday.
“It’s saying yes, we recognize what’s [been] done to you. For us not to recognize that, it’s a slap in the face.”
He added he served on council for seven years and there still has not been a Friendship Accord signed with local First Nations and Metis.
Councillor Donna Deynaka agreed.
“We need to do this. We really strongly need to look at doing something. Lower the flags – definitely.”
Long added he spoke with Sucker Creek Elders.
“The right thing to do is shut the town down. It’s something we need to remember.”
Mayor Brian Panasiuk agreed.
“We need to do something to honour this day, no question about it.”
Councillor Judy Stenhouse opposed and voted against closing the town office.
“This is a grieving process and it’s up to the individual,” she said.
Long argued the day off would give residents time to reflect.
“A lot of people are struggling what to do,” said CAO Rod Risling. Latest information had 71 of Alberta’s 146 municipalities deciding to not take the day off.
Council will be marking the day by closing the town office, lowering the flags and posting notices on their electronic sign and website.
Council will still have staff on call to provide essential services if necessary.