The former Kamloops Indian Residential School is seen on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Federal New Democrats are calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Snucins

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School is seen on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Federal New Democrats are calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Snucins

Trudeau promises more support for Indigenous Peoples after unmarked graves found

Prime minister says this not an exception or isolated incident, supports call for emergency debate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “appalled” at the “shameful policy” that ripped Indigenous children from their families and placed them in residential schools — a policy that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found in 2015 amounted to a “cultural genocide.”

Trudeau offered sombre words today about the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, calling it “heartbreaking news.”

He says he plans to speak with his three cabinet ministers who oversee Indigenous policy and funding on what steps must be done to support survivors, families and Indigenous Peoples.

Federal New Democrats are calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the grisly discovery in British Columbia.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the government has not done enough to implement the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which spent years studying the government-sponsored, church-run institutions.

A number of the commission’s calls to action focus on the horrors inflicted on children and made recommendations on how governments, justice systems and church officials should try to locate, name and commemorate those who died.

Trudeau signalled he supports Singh’s call for an emergency debate.

“Sadly, this is not an exception or an isolated incident. We have to acknowledge the truth: residential schools were a reality, a tragedy that existed here in our country and we have to own up to it,” Trudeau says.

“People are hurting and we must be there for survivors.”

Singh says it is not good enough for the Liberal government to offer platitudes and make symbolic gestures, such as lowering flags on Parliament Hill to half-mast.

He wants the government to do more, working in partnership with First Nations communities, to investigate and fully fund identification of other sites where children were buried in unmarked graves.

When asked about his message to families mourning the loss of their children, Singh paused for a long time at his podium, tears in his eyes, replying only that he is sorry and will fight for justice for these families.

—Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Petition calls for day of mourning for children found buried at former B.C. residential school

RELATED: B.C. teacher says students could be triggered by residential school discovery

Federal PoliticsIndigenousJustin Trudeauresidential schools

Just Posted

Some algae is visible at the swimming ponds at Millennium Park. Photo: Betsy Kline
City of Castlegar says Millennium Ponds safe, in spite of algae

Water samples are regularly sent to Interior Health

Black Press file photo
City of Castlegar plans to offer dumpster for small amounts of summer garbage

Bear Smart initiative looking to reduce wildlife conflict

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read