Question Period: Île-à-la Crosse Residential School

By: The Hon. Brian Francis

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Hon. Brian Francis: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

The Île-à-la-Crosse residential school in Saskatchewan operated from 1860 to 1976 and was attended largely by Métis students. However, this institution was excluded from both the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the day school settlement agreement. As a result, survivors from the Île-à-la-Crosse residential school have yet to receive acknowledgement or compensation for the harms and abuses they endured. After many years of failed attempts to negotiate a resolution, proposed class action has been brought forward against the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, which funded the institution at different points. In the aftermath of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I ask: What is the Government of Canada doing to ensure that the survivors of the Île-à-la-Crosse residential school finally receive recognition and compensation?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question and, on this day, for underlining how much work still needs to be done to provide justice to those who suffered under the oppressive regime to which you referred.

I have every confidence that Minister Anandasangaree and the department are working in good faith to address the many challenges. It’s regrettable that attempts to negotiate a settlement were not fruitful. That is a preferred approach rather than forcing folks to litigate. If there is litigation going on, you’ll understand that I cannot comment on it.

This government remains committed to doing what it can to provide justice to those — and their families and communities — who suffered the indignity and the wrongdoing that the residential schools imposed upon them.

Senator Francis: Thank you, Senator Gold. I do not have to remind you or the relevant ministers that time is of the essence. Every single day, we are losing survivors, and they, along with their families and communities, deserve justice as soon as possible.

Senator Gold: I could not agree with you more.

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