May 7th, 2021

NDP MPP statement on Ryerson University’s Standing Strong process

Statement from MPP Suze Morrison on Ryerson University’s Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) engagement process:

Suze Morrison, MPP for Toronto Centre and NDP critic for Urban Indigenous Issues and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Response, released the following statement encouraging community members and leaders to participate in Ryerson University’s Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force engagement process:

“I want to commend Ryerson University for launching the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) community engagement process, which will seek input on the Egerton Ryerson statue and the actions university administration can take towards meaningful reconciliation.

Ryerson University’s namesake, Egerton Ryerson, contributed to the painful legacy of racism that endures in our education system today. He was instrumental to the establishment of what became the Residential School System that has had such a devastating impact on First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada. The forced removal of Indigenous children and abuse endured at these institutions as part of the Indian Residential School policies constitute cultural genocide. Indigenous communities continue to experience the consequences of these harmful policies today.

I applaud the university’s efforts to open this difficult conversation about its relationship with the legacy of Egerton Ryerson and his memorialization on campus. In the past, there has been reluctance from the university’s administration to acknowledge how its namesake continues to impact its relationships with the communities that were hurt by his racist policies and beliefs.

I hope that Ryerson University will continue to work to accept responsibility for previous wrongs and take action to recognize and respond to the concerns of Indigenous, Black and racialized communities.

Education is key to reconciliation. Our post-secondary institutions and provincial government must be mindful of the ongoing colonial practices that continue to be felt by Indigenous communities. Reimagining our education system to better meet the needs of Indigenous peoples is a crucial step in the path towards reconciliation. As MPP for Toronto Centre, I will continue to push the Ford government to take reconciliation seriously and uphold its commitments to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Thank you to Ryerson University for launching this important engagement process. I look forward to seeing the results, and encourage all members of the community to participate at:”