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June 8th, 2022

NDP statement on the announcement of a Special Interlocutor on Indian Residential Schools Unmarked Burial Sites

NDP critic for Indigenous Services, Lori Idlout, made the following statement:

“New Democrats congratulate Kimberly Murray on her appointment as Special Interlocutor on Indian Residential Schools (IRS) Unmarked Burial Sites. This is an important step to help shoulder the tremendous burden that is being felt by First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities as they continue their search for children who never came home and begin the difficult process of healing.

As the former executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we know that Ms. Murray will bring the expertise needed to provide truth to survivors, families, and their communities.

Truth must be followed by justice. The Liberal government has repeatedly ignored the NDP’s calls for the government to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes that took place at residential schools and to prosecute those responsible. We cannot expect people to heal from this harm when abusers continue to live freely while First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities deal with the trauma and legacy of the colonialism the perpetrators caused.

It is disappointing that the process of appointing a Special Interlocutor has taken this much time. A year ago, New Democrats proposed creating an independent commission to provide oversight in ground searches and investigations in accordance with the wishes of communities, as well as invite international experts including the International Commission on Missing Persons to work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to bring their children home. This motion was blocked by the Liberals, who then took an entire year to bring in a Special Interlocutor with a similar mandate, but no oversight or collaboration with independent international experts.

The NDP continues to call on this government to provide every resource needed so that the truth and justice that is owed to Indigenous peoples is achieved. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities are still calling for increased supports to heal from these traumatic discoveries, and today’s announcement does not change this reality. New Democrats are committed to holding Liberals to account until these needs are met.”