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This article was published 16/6/2015 (2413 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations calls Ottawa’s two-week silence over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report "confusing."
Phil Fontaine said on one hand, the Harper government claims — wrongly — that it created the TRC (when actually it was part of a court-approved settlement). On the other hand, it has failed to respond to the commission’s recommendations since they were released June 2.
Fontaine, in Winnipeg today to participate in Aboriginal Day celebrations on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Building, said the TRC report is a public document — and one that this government and future governments will have to contend with at some point.
He also said he believes it will be a factor in this fall’s federal election campaign.
"One way or another Canadians are going to have to turn their attention to the recommendations and say yea or nay. And I’m confident that the response will be yes," Fontaine said.
On another issue, Fontaine said plans by the Selinger government to offer an apology on Thursday for the '60s scoop is a good first step, but it must be followed up by action.
The '60s scoop refers to an era when provincial social workers seized aboriginal children and placed them with families as far away as the southern United States.
Fontaine said many people were hurt by the government’s actions. "It compromised families and communities," he said Tuesday.
"Actions must, of course, follow the apology. It’s not going to be enough to say I’m sorry or apologize. You’re going to have to be able to articulate very clearly what steps the government will take in this case to bring about the healing and reconciliation that is so necessary," Fontaine said.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.