PM participates in closing event of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and thanks commissioners for their efforts


Ottawa, Ontario

Introduction

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today participated in the closing ceremony of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at Rideau Hall, where he listened to remarks delivered by the Governor General and the TRC commissioners. Yesterday, the Prime Minister held a private meeting with TRC commissioners to acknowledge their remarkable efforts to record, understand and explain the dark chapter in Canadian history that was the Indian residential school system. He was accompanied by Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

During the private meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Harper thanked the TRC commissioners – the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair (Chair), Dr. Marie Wilson (Commissioner) and Chief Wilton Littlechild (Commissioner) – for their hard work and dedication in building public awareness about residential schools and fostering reconciliation, understanding and respect.

The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to express his deepest admiration for the tremendous courage that it took for the former students of the Indian residential school system to come forward and share painful memories.

The TRC was created as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which recognized that the Indian residential school system had a profoundly lasting and damaging impact on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language. 

On June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government of Canada, acknowledged these harms and delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons to former students, their families, and communities for Canada’s role in the operation of the residential schools.

Quick Facts

  • On June 2, 2015, the Government of Canada and the other parties to the Settlement Agreement received the TRC’s executive summary, including its key findings and recommendations. The Government will study these findings and recommendations carefully. We look forward to receiving the entire six volume final report to be able to fully understand the TRC’s conclusions and respond in an informed manner.
  • The same day the Government announced the following measures to promote further reconciliation: funding to support the operations of the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, based at the University of Manitoba, as well as for Reconciliation Canada and for the Legacy of Hope Foundation to support public education and reconciliation efforts.
  • The TRC findings and Final Report will be a lasting historical record for all Canadians for years to come. This work is the legacy that the TRC leaves behind for all Canadians and will form a strong foundation upon which to build further efforts towards reconciliation.
  • The TRC is one of the five components of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which was negotiated by the Government of Canada, Aboriginal organizations, the Churches and claimant counsel. The other components are the Common Experience Payment, the Independent Assessment Process, measures to support healing, and commemorative activities.

Quotes

“It was an honour today to participate in the closing ceremony of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While this is an important milestone in getting our country past the days of Indian residential schools, work is still needed to help heal the pain and restore trust from that wrong.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

“I would like to express my deep thanks to all of the former students of residential schools who, along with their family and community members, came forward to share painful memories about the residential school system so that our country might begin the process of healing.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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