Historic motion on papal apology passes in the Commons

OTTAWA – Today, the House of Commons voted in favour of the NDP’s motion to invite Pope Francis to issue a formal apology for the role of the Canadian Catholic Church in the establishment, operations and abuses of residential schools. This move responds to Call to Action 58 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and is a critical step towards reconciliation.

“This is a hopeful day – a historic day - but the work is far from over,” said NDP MP and Indigenous Youth Critic, Charlie Angus. “Working together, transcending political stripes, and reaching out to Pope Francis to invite him on this journey to reconciliation is a necessary step, but is only one of many steps we need to take. We must do better for Indigenous Peoples every single day in order to move forward on a path of true healing for the crimes of the residential school era.”

Additionally, the motion calls on the Canadian Catholic Church to live up to their obligation and spirit of the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, including best-effort fundraising, and for them to make a sustained effort to turn over relevant documents when called upon by residential school survivors.

“If the government truly believes in reconciliation, they need to start turning words into real action. Residential school survivors cannot heal while the Canadian government continues to fight Indigenous Peoples in court, and fails to honour its most important relationship, the nation-to-nation relationship,” said NDP Reconciliation Critic, Romeo Saganash. “Let us remember today, and every day, that in order for us to move forward, those who attempted to destroy us need to recognize and take responsibility for what they’ve done, and never let history repeat itself.”