Council Column

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Last Thursday, I attended a Blanket Ceremony in St. Thomas’s Anglican Church Hall. My message for this column is, if you have the opportunity to participate in such a ceremony, please do so.

It is not an experience that will necessarily make you feel more comfortable, particularly if you are a descendant of the settlers in this area, but it will provide the opportunity to understand why we have a set of recommendations from a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and why Ontario’s curriculum is being updated to provide a more accurate history of Canada.

To me the most troubling aspect of the history was the fact that children were taken from their parents to residential schools where their treatment was often appalling. Even if the intent of the government had been good, the heart wrenching experiences for children and parents were inexcusable.

The Recommendations provide concrete actions for various levels of governments and institutions, that will begin to redress centuries of actions that we would not tolerate for ourselves had we the power to stop them. However, it is harder for individuals to come to grips with what we can do. Participating in a blanket exercise allows the learning to begin. Accepting an invitation to a Pow Wow is also a way to meet our neighbours.

It was unsettling at the last Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference to hear a representative of AMO speak of the genocide during their discussions of the findings and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. However, the sun came up the next morning.

How will we know if the Reconciliation is genuine? Perhaps when the seemingly never ending studies about clean water for First Nations are ended and the boil water orders are all lifted; perhaps when equal money is spent per student on reserves as off reserve; perhaps when housing is such that TB rates are the same in Indigenous communities as elsewhere in Canada.

The next Draft of our updated Zoning By-law is now on the Township’s website. The By-law will implement the Township’s new Official Plan. The most recent Open House to present the current document was held March 28th. The zoning of your property and those around you indicate what kinds of activities can be anticipated to take place in the future. Even if you missed the meeting, there is time to look at the document on line or to visit the Township Office to see the paper version, talk with Karen Ellis, our Director of Planning, and offer comments of support or improvement.

One of the most interesting forms of entertainment in Millbrook this winter has been the reconstruction of the dam. As the weather improves, take a walk by. The process is impressive.

By Deputy Mayor John Fallis

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