‘To me, this is just another blank gesture’: Simcoe County council debates doing more for Indigenous rights

Adjala-Tosorontio township deputy mayor Bob Meadows didn’t mince words when reflecting on about the .

The new holiday — not deemed a statutory one in Ontario — was approved by the federal government earlier this summer.

“To me, flying an orange flag or wearing an orange shirt is just not the way we should be doing things,” Meadows said at a Simcoe County committee of the whole meeting Sept. 14. “To me, this is just another blank gesture.”

Meadows said the federal government should take action to provide fairness for Indigenous residents.

“Native peoples up in the northern territories don’t have water. And every municipality knows we have to provide water to our people,” he said. “Why isn’t the federal or provincial government held liable to provide essential water to the northern communities?”

Access to safe drinking water should be an essential service, he said.

Springwater Township Deputy Mayor Jennifer Coughlin suggested reviewing what resources are in place.

“I would like to inquire what programs are existing and how we can support them,” she said.

Meadows agreed to re-introduce his suggestion following the Sept. 20 federal election.

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