ontario news watch

NDP urges Ottawa to enact TRC calls to action following school burial site discovery

OTTAWA — Federal New Democrats are calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the government has not done enough to implement the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which released its findings six years ago following years of study into residential schools.

A number of the commission’s calls to action focus on the horrors inflicted on children and made recommendations on how governments, justice systems and church officials should try to locate, name and commemorate those who died. 

Singh says it is not good enough for the Liberal government to offer platitudes and make symbolic gestures, such as lowering flags on Parliament Hill to half-mast. 

He wants the government to do more, working in partnership with First Nations communities, to investigate and fully fund identification of other sites where children were buried in unmarked graves. 

When asked about his message to families mourning the loss of their children, Singh paused for a long time at his podium, tears in his eyes, replying only that he is sorry and will fight for justice for these families.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press