Statement by Bea Bruske
Earlier today, following a National Truth and Reconciliation Day event hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress, the Congress’ Indigenous Workers Vice-President, Gloria Lepine, and her sister, Linda Wilson, were verbally assaulted and Linda was physically assaulted, by strangers who took offence to their speaking about reconciliation and justice for Indigenous Peoples.
A police report has been filed with the Winnipeg Police Service.
I am outraged that this happened, especially on a day dedicated to learning, reflection, and resolve to take action to address the devastating and long-lasting impacts of colonization. Today is a day to work towards reconciliation by remembering and honouring those lost to the residential school system, the survivors, their families, and their communities.
What happened to Gloria Lepine, who has worked for years to raise the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and has been a tireless advocate for Indigenous workers, is just one example of the persistent and systemic violence, discrimination and racism faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit people throughout Canada, every single day.
Justice and reconciliation are both our individual and our collective responsibility. That includes not looking away and always speaking up in moments like these, which sadly are far too common. We are all responsible for building the kind of society that we want to live in. And we must all stand up to racism at every turn.