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Truth and Reconciliation - Minister Guilbeault

Senator McCallum: I just learned of this last night, so learning about this after the bodies were found I don’t know what words I can use. There is an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2012 by the Kamloops First Nations, and so far 105 First Nations have signed on to the lawsuit. It is the first of its kind regarding the impact of fracturing communities, suppressing cultures and erasing language. The federal government denies any legal responsibility and that the loss of language and culture was an unavoidable implication of Christian doctrine. The government admits schools were meant to assimilate Indigenous people, but does not accept responsibility for loss of culture and language. The proposed trial date is scheduled for September 2022. Would you comment on how you took this into consideration with reconciliation? Thank you.

Hon. Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage: Thank you for the question, senator. Obviously, this is not part of my portfolio. What I can say is that the federal government has recognized its responsibility. The Prime Minister has said on numerous occasions that we believe every child should be fairly compensated, and that is what we are working on. In terms of the details, I don’t know if we have someone to answer that. Maybe someone from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, or CIRNAC, or Indigenous Services Canada would be able to answer your question more specifically and in more detail. We had someone from CIRNAC earlier. I’m not sure if that person is still with us.

Mandy McCarthy, Director, Policy, Planning and Reporting, Settlement Agreements and Childhood Claims Branch, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada: Yes, minister, we can provide a written response after this meeting on that matter.

Senator McCallum: Thank you so much.

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