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July 8th, 2021

NDP call on Lametti to establish a special prosecutor over crimes against Indigenous peoples

OTTAWA – NDP MPs Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (Nunavut) and Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), are calling on Justice Minister David Lametti, to establish a fully-funded independent investigation into crimes against Indigenous peoples through the residential school system. The special prosecutor would be instructed to reach out to the International Criminal Court in recognition that this system represents a crime against humanity. In addition the NDP are calling on a major increase in the budget required to undertake forensic investigations at sites of former residential schools – investigations that must be under the authority of the affected Indigenous communities.

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq says Canadians must understand that we are not dealing with old history but ongoing crimes against the Indigenous people of Canada.

“Our people have suffered and continue to suffer from the abuse, the cover ups and the policies that have damaged or killed generations of our youth. My message to David Lametti is simple – how can you tell us you can’t appoint a special prosecutor? The government of Canada claimed it had the power to steal our children. You have the obligation to make sure these crimes are investigated.”

MP Charlie Angus says that in order to undertake this investigation thoroughly the special prosecutor must have a mandate to secure all documents necessary from both the religious institutions as well as documents in the hands of the Justice Department and Indigenous services relating to the long list of predators known to the government.

“What we have learned from the TRC and the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement is that both the federal government and the Catholic Church were focused on limiting their liability. The days of asking the Church to turn over documents and to cooperate are over. The special prosecutor must have the power to obtain search warrants to help with investigations – this included documents held by the Churches, the individual religious orders as well as the federal government agencies.”

“The Liberals need to stop protecting abusers and start helping survivors.”