CHILLIWACK – Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack—Hope made a statement in virtual Parliament yesterday on a motion calling for specific action to be taken following the discovery of the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops residential school.
“The time for promises is over,” stated MP Strahl. “The time for action on true reconciliation is now. The legacy of residential schools is a national shame that has had a profound lasting and damaging impact on Indigenous peoples’ culture, heritage and language. This discovery is a sombre reminder that so much more work needs to be done to address the devastating and harmful effects that residential schools had and still have on many survivors and their communities today.”
“I acknowledge the suffering and trauma this discovery has brought to residential school survivors in our community. The people of Chilliwack—Hope stand with you during this difficult time and we are committed to doing the hard work necessary to bring about true reconciliation in our community and across the country.”
“For many Canadians this is the first time they have meaningfully engaged on this issue. This is a watershed moment for Canada. It’s a moment where knowledge of the horrors of residential schools has moved from a fact of our history to a feeling that compels us to act decisively and immediately.”
“While communities and families grapple with this unthinkable revelation in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community, we must come together to provide whatever assistance is necessary to aid in the healing process, including providing the resources needed to protect, honour, and identify the children there and across the country at many other residential school sites.”
Canada’s Conservatives have put forth a list of meaningful actions that can assist families and Indigenous communities during this time:
• Developing a comprehensive plan to implement Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action 71 through 76 on Missing Children and Burial Information by July 1, 2021;
• Funding the investigation at all former residential schools in Canada where unmarked graves may exist, including the site where 215 children have already been discovered;
• Ensuring that proper resources are allocated for communities to reinter, commemorate, and honour any individuals discovered through the investigation, according to the wishes of their next of kin; and
• Developing a detailed and thorough set of resources to educate Canadians of all ages on the tragic history of residential schools in Canada.
“We must work together to ensure we bring our dark history to light, acknowledge it, learn from it, and ensure nothing like it ever happens again,” concluded MP Strahl. “This must be done both collectively through government action and individually, through our own personal decisions to learn more, educate ourselves and our children and to do whatever we can to create a spirit of reconciliation in our homes, workplaces and communities.”