Tomorrow in the House of Commons at three o’clock the Prime Minister will rise to make a formal apology to the thousands of men and women who suffered mistreatment as young residents of a state-funded Christian school system aimed at stripping them of their aboriginal culture and connections.
Two in three Canadians agree it’s high time “that the government and Canadians come to terms with its past actions.”
One in three Canadians disagree with the practice, endorsing the view that today’s government and society “shouldn’t be held accountable” for yesterday’s wrong-doing, so no apologies are necessary.
Generally speaking native leaders support the government’ action.
However, some of them have reservations. The Harper government refused to involve native leaders in the drafting of the apology. NDP leader Jack Layton protested the government’s excluding the native chiefs. The government “runs the risk of that kind of paternalistic attitude of ‘we-know-best and the first nations will just have to accept what we dish out.'”
Secondly, some native spokespeople charge that Ottawa should provide free transport for the survivors and others to attend the ceremony. Harper has relented and some native chiefs will be seated on the floor of the Commons. But they will not be allowed to speak. Why not?
Finally, shouldn’t the Harper government, as well as apologizing, make its policies toward native peoples more sensible? Recently, as part of the residential school monetary settlement, the Treasury doled out $20,000 to each adult in one smaller band. The most visible signs of this misguided munificence was an increase in drunkeness and suicide.
The National Post calls the apology “the greatest grovel in Canadian history.”
Perhaps the reason is that every time your turn around, some group pops up asking for a government apology. Back in 1914 a group of Sikks was turned away from a port in British Columbia. Today their descendants want compensation and an apology.
Do you agree the Harper government should apologize for the abuse of native children?
Or do you think the whole thing is in the past and should be forgotte?
Should the government have involved the natives in drafting the apology?
Should the government have provided transport for survivors to come to Ottawa for the ceremony?