(Ottawa) The Office of the Canadian Prime Minister claims that “to the best of its knowledge” it provided all records relating to residential schools to the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation.
Justin Trudeau’s cabinet said in a written statement that it had provided more than four million documents to the Center. If there were more, the cabinet “will do its utmost” to ensure that they are delivered to all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, it is said.
Earlier this week, the Winnipeg-based National Center for Truth and Reconciliation said it was still waiting for Ottawa to provide documents used in the process to assess claims for abuse in the boarding schools. Yet Mr. Trudeau maintained that all federal files had been filed.
On the sidelines of a meeting with leaders of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc community, residential school survivors and their families, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Trudeau argued that the federal government had, “to our knowledge », Already provided all his documents to the Center and that he would continue to make sure that there were no shortages.
The Center says it has not received any documents from Library and Archives Canada either and that it is still negotiating with Ottawa on access to documents since the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. These include documents generated from the database used in the compensation claims resolution process.
Trudeau’s visit to Kamloops was his first since the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation announced in May that more than 200 unmarked graves had been located on the site of the former Federal Residential School. Since that time, many Indigenous communities have reported that they too have located unmarked graves near former residential schools, with the same ground-penetrating radar technology used in Kamloops.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister on Thursday, New Democrat MPs Niki Ashton and Leah Gazan urged him to immediately provide the Center with all federal records, saying it would be “a small step towards real justice.”
“Aboriginal people, and all Canadians, deserve to have a true picture of the scale of the crimes committed by Canada against Aboriginal people as a result of the residential school system,” they write.