Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

MP of S,D&G does not "believe that Parliament should be dictating to the Catholic Church what their moral obligations are," votes against Pope apologizing


Last week Canada’s Members of Parliament voted on taking an important step in making true reconciliation. The motion introduced by NDP MP Charlie Angus, Timmins - James Bay, Ontario.

From the House of Commons, the motion read:

“April 26, 2018 - Deferred recorded division on the motion of Mr. Angus (Timmins- James Bay), seconded by Mr. Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James- Nunavik- Eeyou), - That, in responding to the call of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to move our nation on a path of true healing for the crimes of the residential school era, the House:

(a) invite Pope Francis to participate in this journey with Canadians by responding to Call to Action 58 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and issue a formal papal apology for the role of the Canadian Catholic Church in the establishment, operations, and abuses of the residential schools;

(b) call upon the Canadian Catholic Church to live up to their moral obligation and the spirit of the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and resume best efforts to raise the full amount of the agreed upon funds; and

(c) call on the Catholic entities that were involved in the running of the residential schools to make a consistent and sustained effort to turn over relevant documents when called upon by survivors of residential schools, their families, and scholars working to understand the full scope of the horrors of the residential school system in the interest of truth and reconciliation.

Recorded division — deferred until Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions, pursuant to Order made Thursday, April 26, 2018.”

The vote on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 showed 269 Members of Parliament in favor of inviting Pope Francis to Canada to issue a formal apology to residential school survivors.

Guy Lauzon, a Conservative who’s riding includes Stormont - Dundas - South Glengarry voted against the motion. His riding is area located directly north of the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne.

Mr. Lauzon was contacted via email and he offered this explanation, “I’m proud to be a part of a Caucus that allows free votes on matters of conscience and religion. I take issue with the bullet (b) as introduced by Mr. Angus. I do not believe that Parliament should be dictating to the Catholic Church what their moral obligations are”.

The motion calls on the Catholic Church to respect its “moral obligations” and the “spirit” of the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Catholic Church operated and was responsible for over 72 percent of First Nation residential schools. About 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools from 1883 to 1996 in Canada.

The motion also calls on the Catholic Church to hand over “relevant documents” it may have in its possession that disclose the horrors of the residential school system.

Over 6,000 Aboriginal children, and possibly more, died while in residential school. During the program’s first half-century, tuberculosis and then influenza were the primary killers. Then add in neglect, abuse, lack of food, isolation from family and badly constructed buildings assisted in killing residential school “inmates,” In File Hills, Saskatchewan alone, over 75 percent of the First Nations children died while at school.

The odds of a First Nations child dying in a residential school were about the same as Canadian soldier serving in WWII – 1 to 25.

10 MP’s voted against the motion. Of those ten MP’s, six are from Ontario representing thousands in their constituency. Approximately 25 percent of all Indigenous peoples in Canada identify as Catholic, and they are found in every diocese across Canada.

The ten holdouts were all Conservative MPs:

Guy Lauzon: Stormont – Dundas – South Glengarry

David Tilson: Dufferin – Caledon, Ontario

Scott Reid: Lanark – Frontenac – Kingston, Ontario

Cheryl Gallant: Renfrew - Nipissing – Pembroke, Ontario

Harold Albrecht: Kitchener – Conestoga, Ontario

Guy Lauzon: Stormont - Dundas - South Glengarry, Ontario

Bev Shipley: Lambton - Kent – Middlesex, Ontario

Brad Trost: Saskatoon University, Saskatchewan

Ted Falk: Provencher, Manitoba

Kelly McCauley: Edmonton, West Alberta

Garnett Genuis: Sherwood Park - Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Regina - Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan was absent during the vote - he’s addressing an Assembly of First Nations special chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que.


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