Today, at the Métis Nation of Ontario Annual General Assembly in Toronto, Mayor John Tory offered an apology to the Métis people on behalf of the City of Toronto for its role in contributing to the militarized action against Métis people during the Northwest Resistance of 1885, in what is now Saskatchewan.
Read the full apology at www.toronto.ca/Reconciliation.
This afternoon, I attended the @metisnationon Annual General Assembly and offered an apology on behalf of the City of Toronto.
I hope that today serves as another example of our City’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) August 19, 2022
In 1885, hundreds of members of the Queen’s Own Rifles and Royal Grenadiers, Canadian Army Reserve Units based in Toronto, were deployed as part of Canada’s efforts to suppress the Northwest Resistance. The City financially contributed to Canada’s efforts to suppress the Northwest Resistance by providing supplies to Canadian Militia troops. When the Queen’s Own Rifles and Royal Grenadiers returned to Toronto, claiming victory, the City organized and funded a grand parade to celebrate. At the event, the mayor, surrounded by City Council, made a speech honouring the soldiers. The mayor hosted the first Monument Committee meeting at City Hall to begin working on a statue to commemorate the soldiers. After that committee disbanded and another group took up the cause years later, the City financially contributed to the monument that is still standing in Toronto today. All of these actions by the City – funding, celebrating and commemorating the quashing of the Northwest Resistance – contributed to the overall milieu of hostility towards the Métis, with the impacts still being felt today.
This apology is the result of engagement with the Métis community in Toronto, who described the history and present impact of the City’s actions and asked for an apology. It also represents the City’s commitment to honouring truth, as part of its efforts towards advancing truth, justice and reconciliation. In April 2022, when City Council adopted the City’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, City Council also acknowledged the City’s role in contributing to the militarized action against Métis people in the 1880s, and requested the Mayor to apologize on behalf of the City of Toronto.
The City’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (www.toronto.ca/Reconciliation
“I am humbled and honoured to offer this apology to the Métis community. Toronto’s role in contributing to the violence, racism and discrimination against the Métis, as well as its ongoing impacts today, cannot be forgotten. This apology is a step forward in righting relations and healing as we continue on the path of reconciliation.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The recognition of the City of Toronto’s role in perpetuating racism and colonial violence towards the Métis – which continues to this day – is deeply significant. The apology is a big step forward in our relationship with the City. We look forward to working together to identify other substantial actions that reframe the narrative of Métis history through educational and heritage programming.”
– Senator Suzanne Brunelle, Toronto and York Region Métis Council
“We thank the Mayor of Toronto for his words of apology. The first step to realizing reconciliation is to acknowledge the truth of the past, and today we saw the City step up and make that important acknowledgement. We look forward to working with Toronto and other municipalities throughout Ontario on this journey.”
– Margaret Froh, Métis Nation of Ontario President
SOURCE City of Toronto