PM to apol­o­gize for res­i­den­tial schools in N.L.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC - BY SUE BAI­LEY

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau will apol­o­gize to for­mer stu­dents of res­i­den­tial schools in New­found­land and Labrador.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice con­firmed Thurs­day that Trudeau will apol­o­gize in Labrador. An ex­act date and lo­ca­tion have not been con­firmed but an up­date is ex­pected later this sum­mer.

‘Ul­ti­mately, it’s the right thing to do,“Cameron Ah­mad, a spokesman for the prime min­is­ter, said Thurs­day.

“We’re com­mit­ted to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. We’re com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing the calls to ac­tion from the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion ... that’s why we made this de­ci­sion.”

For­mer prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper ex­cluded the prov­ince’s for­mer res­i­den­tial schools from a na­tional apol­ogy and com­pen­sa­tion pack­age in 2008.

But lawyers for about 800 for­mer stu­dents ar­gued Ot­tawa owed the same duty of care to them af­ter the prov­ince joined Con­fed­er­a­tion in 1949.

The Trudeau gov­ern­ment of­fered a $50-mil­lion pack­age to set­tle claims of sex­ual and phys­i­cal abuse along with loss of lan­guage and cul­ture.

“The apol­ogy in 2008 made it seem like we didn’t ex­ist and that we didn’t suf­fer in the same way that our fel­low sur­vivors across the na­tion suf­fered. We suf­fered as much as any­one and an apol­ogy, to me and other sur­vivors, will go a long way to­wards our heal­ing. Maybe I can fi­nally put that tor­tured in­ner child to rest,” sur­vivor Toby Obed said in state­ment.

Plain­tiffs’ lawyer Steven Cooper said Thurs­day fed­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives agreed at an Aug. 3 meet­ing in Goose Bay that sur­vivors, their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties would be con­sulted on the apol­ogy.

“We rec­og­nize that the Prime Min­is­ter has many com­pet­ing obli­ga­tions and we sin­cerely ap­pre­ci­ate that he will be work­ing with us to­wards cor­rect­ing the his­toric in­jus­tice of the res­i­den­tial school sys­tem gen­er­ally and to the spe­cific goal of cor­rect­ing the in­com­plete and hurt­ful apol­ogy ren­dered by his pre­de­ces­sor in 2008,” said Cooper.

The $50-mil­lion set­tle­ment, ap­proved by a judge last Septem­ber, ended a 10year le­gal fight.

FILE PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau

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