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Winnipeg MP petitions to mark Aboriginal Day as national holiday

Robert-Falcon Ouellette is calling on the government to recognize June 21 as a day to celebrate First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis peoples and cultures.

Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette wants to see National Aboriginal Day become a legal holiday celebrated nation-wide.

Metro file

Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette wants to see National Aboriginal Day become a legal holiday celebrated nation-wide.

A Winnipeg MP is calling on the federal government to legally recognize National Aboriginal Day.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who represents Winnipeg Centre, introduced an online petition he sponsored in the House of Commons today, urging MPs to designate June 21 as a legal holiday.

This would "recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples," Ouellette said in a prepared statement.

"This day would serve to create and strengthen opportunities for nation building for Indigenous peoples and the ideal of reconciliation among Canadians," he said.

"There have been many groups that have called upon federal, provincial and territorial governments to recognize June 21st as a legal holiday to recognize the true history of our nation."

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended a statutory holiday marking a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in its 80th call to action

Ouellette's petition needed a minimum of 25 signatures, but garnered 806 signatures between October and February.

Other causes he's been advocating for recently include allowing smudging around designated areas of Parliament Hill and introducing translating services for Indigenous languages in the House of Commons.

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