Jun. 10, 2021

Calgary Bishop accuses Trudeau of deflecting blame on schools

But Bishop admitted the moral failures of spiritual leaders at the schools can't be brushed off 

Bill Kaufmann writes in the Calgary Herald that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is whitewashing the federal government’s role in the deadly operation of residential schools by singling out the Roman Catholic Church for blame, said Most Rev. Fred Henry, bishop emeritus of the Calgary diocese.

In an open letter to the prime minister, Henry, who presided over southern Alberta Catholics from 1998 to 2017, accused Trudeau of deflecting blame for the deaths and misery of Indigenous residents at the schools by voicing his “disappointment” over the church’s failure to formally apologize for its role. FULL REPORT


There are many players in the government – indigenous tussle. We hear from government officials, church leaders, and Indigenous leaders but so far have not engaged ordinary indigenous people who bear the brunt of discrimination and hurt.

There is much to account for when we abused thousands of indigenous children for over a century. While people avoid accountability, nothing changes. There is no meaningful communication between the government and indigenous people.      

Many of us had high expectations of the MMIWG inquiry, but government appointees listening to the stories of indigenous people failed when the appointees bickered about who was best suited to the task. The internal strife made it clear that none of the commissioners were fit for the job.

Allowing the government to review the inquiry recommendations effectively muted the voices of indigenous participants. That is why indigenous people have walked away from this failed effort.

They had bared their souls in the hope of breaking down barriers and bringing expectations and hope to a bleak and dismal existence. Instead, they got feigned empathy, virtue signalling, ceremony and no commitment to desperately needed changes.

That is a hallmark of an unaccountable government. Government ministers should prove that their policies are in the interests of those governed rather than demanding we prove to them that they are wrong. The onus of proof is on the government, not on the people it is elected to serve.

We can sit with indigenous people, agree on the ten most critical MMIWG recommendations and demand immediate implementation.

The federal government does not control us. That is a fallacy we must bury; the MPs and Ministers are accountable to us, and we must make that clear.