Tomorrow morning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into aboriginal abuse in the residential school system will hold its first meeting in Ottawa. The Commission means Canada will take its historical place alongside such tarnished regimes as South Africa, Chile, El Salvador and Sierre Leone.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is destined to sit for five years, is budgeted to cost $60 million dollars and is under the chairmanship of Justice Harry LaForme, the first aboriginal person to sit on any appelate court in Canada.
Justice LaForme sees the Commission as the best chance for significant progress in mending the deteriorating relationship between natives and the rest of Canada, not just over the harm and heartbreak of residential schools but on the daily flashpoints, land claims and blockades.
A former United Church minister is sceptical about the Commission: “The people I work with are not asking about reconciliation. They are asking: When are we going to get our day in court. When are the people responsible [for the damage in residential schools] going to be brought to justice? And from the looks of it, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is not set up to do that?”
Do you agree that the rest of the world sees Canada’s treatment of the natives peoples as shameful?
Do you think the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can help mend the situation?