Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Release all papers on residential schools: judge

Feds must give documents

  • Print

OTTAWA -- An Ontario judge Tuesday ruled the federal government has an obligation to provide the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with all relevant documents about Indian residential schools.

Justice Stephen Goudge ruled the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement lays out two fundamental tasks for the TRC: compiling a historical record of residential schools and preparing a report on that history.

Canada providing relevant documents on residential schools would be vital to that mandate, ruled the judge. The government also gave the TRC a limited amount of time and a limited budget, neither of which would be sufficient for TRC staff to search for the documents themselves.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission took Ottawa to court in December after not all federal departments complied with requests to get the documents. It feared it would run out of time in its mandate, which expires in 2014, if the government continued to drag its feet on providing documents.

The biggest obstacle appeared to be a dispute over whether documents housed at Library and Archives Canada were covered by the agreement, and whether the government had to research and compile the documents for the TRC or could simply allow TRC workers into the archives to look for documents itself.

The TRC's lawyer, Julian Falconer, said this is a landmark decision.

"This was about ensuring survivors and their families have some control over their history," he said.

More than one million documents have been handed over thus far, but there are more than one million more outstanding, Falconer said. Only one of 24 departments that have acknowledged having residential-school documents in archives has even done a search, he said.

A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said the government is reviewing the court ruling.

"We will continue to fulfil our obligations under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to address the legacy of the Indian residential schools," said Jason MacDonald.

More than 150,000 aboriginal children were forced into residential schools between the 1880s and early 1980s as Canada embarked on a mission of assimilation. Churches ran the schools for the government. Many students told stories of physical and sexual abuse, and the imprint of residential schools is still largely blamed for the rampant social problems facing aboriginal Canadians today.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in 2008 on behalf of the federal government for the residential-schools saga.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 31, 2013 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 110621 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 -  Doug Chorney, president Keystone Agricultural Producers flight over South Western Manitoba to check on the condition of farming fields. MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
my2011poy
  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google