The federal government needs to truly honour the apology it made to Indian residential school survivors five years ago and release all documentation relating to a former northern Ontario school, a New Democrat MP says.
St. Anne’s residential school was open from 1904 to 1976.
Opposition critic Charlie Angus says these documents contain allegations of physical and sexual abuse – including students who were tortured in a form of electric chair – and the Harper government needs to do the right thing by releasing them.
“I am hearing from more and more survivors who believe the apology wasn’t true,” he says. “I don’t want to believe that, I was in the House during the apology and I felt it was one of the most moving things I have ever seen and in fact I know survivors of St. Anne’s who cried for two days after they made the apology. But this is a government that has a very mean spirit and doesn’t seem to remember its promises. We have to fix it.”
Angus adds Indian residential school claimants cannot be given a fair hearing by the independent assessment process until they are allowed to access all relevant documentation.
He says many of the documents in question are related to an investigation the Ontario Provincial Police conducted into allegations of abuse at the school in the early 1990’s.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt has recently asked the Ontario Superior Court for advice on how the unreleased documents from St. Anne’s school should be handled.
Angus has written to both Valcourt and Justice Minister Peter McKay about the issue.
St. Anne’s school was located in Fort Albany, in northern Ontario.
Many of the constituents in the Angus’ riding attended the school.