OTTAWA – NEWS – NDP MP Charlie Angus states, “The bodies of the 1323 Indigenous children lying in unmarked graves are crying out for justice. Today my colleague Mumilaaq Qaqqaq laid out a path for how this justice could be made possible”.
“Mumilaaq spoke with the fire and righteousness that puts these crimes into clear perspective. These were not the actions of a few individual bad men – this was a policy to destroy a people. And there must be accountability”.
Angus and Qaqqaq are proposing four steps for justice:
1. We are calling for the appointment of a fully-funded special prosecutor to investigate the historic policies, crimes and cover-ups of abuse committed by clergy against Indigenous people in this country.
2. We call for this special prosecutor to seek advice from the international criminal court as these gravesites represent crimes against humanity and serious breaches of international law.
3. This prosecutor must have the authority to demand access to all relevant documents – the Codex historicus of each church and religious order, the school records, personnel files – held by relevant church institutions or by the various religious orders. As well, the prosecutor must have the right to access the names and records of every criminal perpetrator that Canada has on file under litigation privilege, as well as any relevant documents on policies.
The days of asking for the church to help out are over. The days of protecting the privileges and privacy of the perpetrators must end.
4. The government must commit to a serious increase in budget and resources to undertake proper forensic investigations at residential schools while tracking file histories and ensuring bodies are carefully exhumed and returned to their family communities. This action takes place under the authority and oversight of the affected Indigenous communities.
Over recent weeks, as the discovery of the graves of students at former Indian Residential Schools in Canada have been mounting, there has been growing pressure on both the government and on the Catholic Church to make amends.
There have been numerous public protests and rallies. In British Columbia a number of churches have been burnt down.