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

City of Red Deer gets ball rolling on annexing more land

”It’s important we look ahead,” says Mayor Veer

Walmart melding online and in-store shopping

South Red Deer Walmart recently underwent six months of renovations

Updated: Nature trail unveiled at RDC

Trail unveiling and tree planting honours Nova Chemicals $2 million donation

Rural municipalities seek more funding to address cannabis legalization

Not enough supports in Municipal Cannabis Transition Program

Video: Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

OTTAWA — More than one million jobs could be lost to the… Continue reading

McGill research finds significant driving impairment 5 hours after cannabis use

MONTREAL — Driving under the influence of cannabis remains dangerous even five… Continue reading

Family: Remembering the important things

It seems so much of life is work and routine and then… Continue reading

Canada gets into Women’s World Cup with 7-0 win over Panama

FRISCO, Texas — Christine Sinclair isn’t concerned about chasing records. She’s set… Continue reading

Baldwin urges ‘overthrow’ of Trump government via voting

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Actor Alec Baldwin followed up his latest parody portrayal… Continue reading

Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

CANBERRA, Australia — Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex,… Continue reading

Sears files for Chapter 11 amid plunging sales, massive debt

NEW YORK — Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling… Continue reading

Doctors to debate medical pot as more patients expected to ask for prescriptions

VANCOUVER — Doctors with opposing views on whether medical marijuana should be… Continue reading

Most Read