Sunday June 07, 2015

Will the work of the T & R Commission enable aboriginal peoples and all Canadians to move forward together?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, second from left to right, and Inuit Leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde and Commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair listen during the closing ceremony of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, second from left to right, and Inuit Leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde and Commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair listen during the closing ceremony of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Listen to Full Episode 1:53:00

Truth and Reconciliation: Six years in the making, the work of the Commission is finished ...but it says the work of Canadians has just begun. What's your reaction? Will it enable aboriginal peoples and all Canadians to move forward together?


 GUESTS & LINKS

 TWITTER & EMAIL

 DOWNLOAD MP3 (right click, choose 'Save target/Link As')


INTRODUCTION

It is not often that a comprehensive report on Canada's troubled relationship with its aboriginal peoples is presented to the public.  The last one was in 1996 when the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was completed. It is invariably an event of both solemnity and hope. Solemnity because of the seriousness of the issues in question, and hope because each report comes with an expectation that Canada can move forward and repair the relationship.

This week the Truth and Reconciliation Commission finished its work of six years and released a 300-page summary report - the full one is due in the fall. The Commission criss-crossed the country hearing the personal stories of 7-thousand witnesses; the painful legacy of the Indian Residential School system. Over a period spanning a century-and-a-half, 150-thousand children were removed from their parents and sent to schools to be 're-educated.'

The Commission was created as part of a formal apology in 2008 by the government of Canada to its First Nations for the residential schools program.

In delivering the report, Chairman Justice Murray Sinclair indicated that now is the time for Canadians to work together. It is an opportunity to begin to change a damaged relationship. He emphasized that the stain left by the residential schools is not something that First Nations can simply 'get over.' 

In his words: "Reconciliation is not a new opportunity to convince aboriginal people to 'get over it' and become like 'everyone else' ...that's what residential schools were all about and look how that went."

The Commission makes 94 recommendations - some broad, some specific - that it says are necessary to reach a new understanding between all Canadians, including aboriginal peoples.

Justice Sinclair says that this reconciliation is the beginning of a process of change ....in the relationship between First Nations and the government ...and also at the personal, and family, and community level too.

At the Commission's closing ceremony this past week in Ottawa, Governor-General David Johnston put it this way:

"This is a moment for national reflection and introspection … to think about the depth of our commitment to tolerance, respect and inclusiveness, and whether we can do better. This is a moment to think about those people - those children, those mothers and fathers, those families and those elders, past and present. And it's also a moment to ask: where do we go from here?"

We want to hear your views.

What is your response to the work of the Commission?  What are your thoughts on the recommendations? Is the process of reconciliation going to be easy? Are you confident that it will proceed as laid out by the Commission?
 
Our question today: "Will the report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission enable aboriginal peoples and all Canadians to move forward together?"

I'm Rex Murphy  ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


GUESTS

Betty Ann Adam
​Reporter with the Saskatoon Star Phoenix who covered the TRC and whose mother was in a residential school.
Twitter: @SPBAAdam

John Ivison
National Post newspaper columnist on political and national affairs.
Twitter: @IvisonJ

Ernie Crey
Social worker who has worked with first nation youth, former vice-president of the United Native Nations, veteran aboriginal fishing rights activist and co-author of the award-winning Stolen from Our Embrace: The Abduction of First Nations Children and the Restoration of Aboriginal Communities.
Twitter: @Cheyom1

​Terry Glavin
Award-winning journalist and columnist with Ottawa Citizen, co-author of a book about a residential school in B.C. titled: Amongst God's Own: The Enduring Legacy of St. Mary's Mission.
Twitter: @TerryGlavin 


LINKS

CBC.ca


National Post



Globe and Mail



Saskatoon Star Phoenix



Policy Options

APTN News


The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


TWITTER & E-MAIL