Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 17, 2011.
UPDATED: For the CHBC story, click here.
Our outgoing Auditor General Sheila Fraser offered some parting advice in her final speech to Canadians. Among other suggestions, Sheila Fraser noted that when it comes to the quality of life for many first nations communities, we need to do a better job.
I have been fortunate as a City councillor to attend more than a few grand openings, including the opening of our beautiful new Penticton Secondary School. But none of that prepared me for what I experienced today at the opening of the new Outma Sqilxw Cultural School with Penticton Indian Band Chief Johnathan Kruger and fellow MP Greg Rickford, the Parliamentary Secretary from the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
To say that this is a very beautiful school would be an understatement. Equally as impressive was the innovative design and incredible amount of thought that went into so many different but important details. All this and it is also environmentally efficient, featuring an architectural style that is culturally influenced while also beautifully blending into an incredible location.
As much as all of that mattered, none of that was what really made the difference for me until today. What made the difference was pride. I have known Chief Johnathan Kruger for many years now but today I saw a Chief who was immensely proud and excited for what this new school would mean to his community. Grand Chief Stewart Philip proclaimed he had literally wept when he first toured this school earlier in the day. Even National Chief Shawn Atleo came to share in the moment of this special day. But more so were the families, elders, parents and grand parents who all came out to be part of this school opening.
It was clear to me that this was about much more than just the opening of a new school. It is the start of something new and the level of excitement and pride for the legacy it will leave for the children of today and tomorrow is an important one.
We sometimes take a school opening for granted, but not today; for that I am grateful.
For more information on today's ribbon cutting, please click here.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.