Green Party Calls on Harper Government to make reparations for past harm and support family healing

The Green Party of Canada is calling on the Prime Minister to follow up with money and action to address the harms caused by Canada’s Indian Residential Schools policy and make resources available for healing and reunification of families.

“This month’s First Nations Summit between Aboriginal leaders and the government of Canada is an excellent time for Prime Minister Harper to offer something concrete in terms of dollars and action to back up the apology he made in June 2008,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

“The Aboriginal leadership has asked that Prime Minister Stephen Harper come out of this month’s First Nations summit willing to forge a new relationship with Aboriginal people, and the Green Party supports that, but he also must be willing to offer something more than goodwill, considering he made the apology more than three years ago,” said May.

“The summit, which will be held in Ottawa on January 24th, is an important and pivotal moment in Canada’s history.  This government’s intentions must be made clear at that meeting.  The goodwill has to be demonstrated with action and money,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Aboriginal Affairs Critic for the Green Party of Canada.

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Harper stood before the House of Commons and offered his apology to former students of Indian residential schools and acknowledged that the treatment of children in those schools was a sad chapter in Canadian history.  For more than a century, Indian residential schools separated over 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and communities.

“He must follow up and address the harm that was done in destroying the family unit.  The repercussions of these historical separations in family continueto haunt us to this day.  Until he is willing to make reparation for the harm done, there can be no real healing.  Communities need actual programs and services to rebuild from this.  Families are still suffering from those effects caused by a governmental policy that separated families.  It must be government policy to support the healing and reunification of Aboriginal families,” said Rekmans

“There are a ton of issues that must be addressed, including abject poverty of families, lack of housing, lack of clean running water, lack of educational funding and exclusion from resource development opportunities.  No one expects that these will all be resolved in one day.  I call on the Prime Minister to commit to moving forward in partnership with Aboriginal leaders and commit to further open dialogue so that joint solutions can be realized.  I call on this Prime Minster to implement the Kelowna Accord as a gesture of his sincerity.  Otherwise his June 2008 apology will ring hollow,” said Rekmans.