NDP leader Ryan Meili said Premier Scott Moe needs to apologize on behalf of the province for two residential schools that were not included in the settlement process.
In a letter to Moe, Meili explains that the residential schools in Timber Bay and Ile a la Crosse were operated by religious organizations and funded through the federal and provincial governments.
“It is long past time that both orders of government fully take responsibility for their respective roles in the abuse, neglect, loss of language and culture and violence that many First Nations and Métis people were subjected too in these institutions,” said the letter.
Meili is seeking that Moe apologize in the Legislature for the trauma caused at these schools, pressure the federal government to include the Timber Bay school in the settlement process so that former students would be eligible for compensation and that a working group be formed with survivors to determine provincial compensation.
“[Residential school] was a dark chapter in history of our province, a chapter that occurred under the watch of successive governments of different political stripes. We cannot change that past. But as leaders today, we’re responsible for acknowledging the history, admitting fault, accepting responsibility and moving forward in the spirit of truth and reconciliation,” said Meili. “We have yet to hear any apology from the government of Saskatchewan, or any responsibility or compensation for the victims. Because of this, we’re calling on Premier Scott Moe today to make an official apology here in the Legislative Building on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan for the trauma caused.”
The Timber Bay school was excluded for the federal settlement. A federal judge ruled in 2017, that it could not be classified as a residential school as it was not solely operated by the federal government.
The Ile a la Crosse boarding school operated from the 1860’s to the mid-1970’s.
“Regarding Timber Bay, we understand that the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the case regarding residential school status, a process which is led by the federal government,” said the provincial government. “We also understand the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Prince Albert Grand Council are lobbying the federal government to reconsider including Timber Bay within the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. However, the province has not been contacted by either LLRIB or PAGC to support their efforts in this regard.”