Regarding survivors of N.L. residential schools
Recently it was announced in the news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is going to offer an apology to the residential school survivors of Newfoundland and Labrador for the historical abuse which took place at these schools.
I question whether Trudeau fully understands the abuse from these institutions and is able to offer a heartfelt apology in regard to these matters. Recently, Trudeau asked for a similar apology from Pope Francis regarding the abuse at the residential schools in Canada, and after this request was made he gave a gift of a book to the Pope, “The National Archives of the Jesuits in Canada,” highlighting all the great work the Jesuits have contributed to Canada’s history.
Unfortunately, the Jesuits are guilty of horrendous sexual, physical, mental, cultural and spiritual abuse to the students who attended the residential schools in Spanish, Ont., as well as in the First Nations communities they ministered to along the North Shore of Lake Huron and Superior, Manitoulin Island, and elsewhere. I do not understand how a gift of these archives by the Jesuits could have been seen as an appropriate gift for the Pope when he was there to ask for an apology for the abuse suffered in these institutions to the First Nations children.
I believe Trudeau owes the survivors of the Jesuits an apology as well.
I understand there is a monetary settlement of $50 million to be divided amongst the survivors and I’m sure the lawyers will take their share. One lawyer in Alberta pocketed $14.5 million or more of the survivors’ settlement from the government.
Omar Khadr, who suffered abuse while being a prisoner of war at Guantanamo Bay for 10 years, was compensated by the Canadian government for $10.5 million. His abuse was horrendous, not much different than what our First Nations children suffered at the hands of our government and the clergy. Fifty million dollars seems like a lot of money, but after the lawyers take their cut the survivors usually end up with very little.
Perhaps the prime minister and the rest of Canada will begin to understand the importance of the issues of the residential schools in Canada when the financial settlements for each survivor attending these schools and other similar institutions, such as Mount Cashel in St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, Ont., schools for the deaf and blind, etc., who also suffered abuse at government-run schools equates to the settlement Khadr received. Perhaps then things might change and people may wake up to what the cost has been to our First Nations communities and to others who attended these institutions.
E. Jane Mundy Thessalon, Ont.