Final report on residential schools survivors signals time for government to act

Justice Murray Sinclair says the entire country must join a journey to reconciliation between aboriginals and non-aboriginals — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to join that journey.

OTTAWA — Justice Murray Sinclair says the entire country must join a journey to reconciliation between aboriginals and non-aboriginals — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to join that journey.

The head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Tuesday wound up a six-year odyssey that chronicled decades of suffering and tragedy in thousands of pages of testimony from victims of the residential school system.

He ended it at with a clarion call for action at a formal ceremony marking the delivery of the commission’s final report.

“Change, of course, will not be immediate,” he said. “It will take years, perhaps generations, but it is important for Canadians to start somewhere and ultimately to create those tools of reconciliation that will live beyond today.”

A survivor in the audience wept as Sinclair spoke of how the commission’s work changed his life and those of his two fellow commissioners.

With Trudeau looking on, Sinclair spoke of a country that has hard work ahead.

“Achieving reconciliation … is like climbing a mountain we must proceed one step at a time,” he said.

“It will not always be easy, there will be storms, there will be obstacles, we will fall down from time to time. But we cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by the task because our goal is a just one and it is also necessary for our children.”

The prime minister, in his own speech, recalled the historic apology to Aboriginal Peoples delivered by the Harper government seven years ago.

“Today, we find ourselves on a new path, working together toward a nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership,” an emotional Trudeau said.

His speech was interrupted four times by standing ovations.

He said it is time for a renewal of the relationship between indigenous peoples and Canada as a whole.

“The final report provides a way forward for all Canadians,” he said. “Building on the formal apologies of seven years ago, it sets us squarely on the path to true reconciliation. The government of Canada is committed to walking that path with indigenous peoples in partnership and in friendship.”

Sinclair said the commission’s findings make clear that the myriad problems of aboriginal communities are rooted, directly or indirectly, in years of government efforts to “assimilate, acculturate, indoctrinate and destroy.”

“When it comes to engineering the lives of indigenous people in this country, governments have shown a disdainful mistrust of indigenous capacity and a breezy belief in their own,” he said.

Sinclair also thanked his family, saying they fretted about his health as he worked gruelling hours with the commission.

“In the area of my own health and well-being, I am a reckless fool.”

Just Posted

Alberta energy war room must avoid online morass, preaching to choir: experts

CALGARY — Tzeporah Berman only learned of her cameo appearance at an… Continue reading

Two dead, including one who police believe was a child, in Alberta house fire

PLAMONDON, Alta. — Two people, including one who police believe was a… Continue reading

CSIS destroyed secret file on Pierre Trudeau, stunning historians

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service destroyed a Cold War dossier on Pierre… Continue reading

Premier refuses to back down on plan to scrap 18,000 immigration applications

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is holding firm on his plan to scrap… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Federal cabinet decision on fate of Trans Mountain pipeline due Tuesday

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s $4.5 billion gamble to buy the Trans… Continue reading

Skier, 22 dies after fall on Mount Haig near Castle Mountain Ski Resort

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — RCMP from the Pincher Creek, Alta., detachment are… Continue reading

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Massive protests draw apology from Hong Kong leadership

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that… Continue reading

Butterfly garden keeper manages to film large tarantula shedding exoskeleton

VICTORIA — A 20-centimetre tarantula capable of killing a bird has been… Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal wins 2018 Michener Award recognizing public-service journalism

OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner… Continue reading

Victorious Raptors cancel their return to Toronto after becoming NBA champs

TORONTO — Some Raptors players returned to Toronto on Saturday night for… Continue reading

How a Montreal working-class neighbourhood’s activists changed Quebec and Canada

MONTREAL — The Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood is isolated from the rest of Montreal… Continue reading

Most Read