Ontario party leaders reaffirm pledges for residential school burial searches
Ontario's four main party leaders are reaffirming commitments to search for burial sites at the province's former residential schools for Indigenous students one year after ground-penetrating radar unearthed what are believed to be the graves of 215 children at a former such facility in British Columbia.
The Progressive Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and Greens have all made pledges on the issue. Doug Ford's Tory government, for instance, promised last November to double a $10-million investment it had earmarked for burial site investigations a few months earlier.
Commitments for funding and support can also be found in the platforms of the other parties vying for victory in the June 2 election.
Indigenous leaders and residential school survivors, however, say financial remedies won't be enough to address the traumas exposed by the discoveries in B.C. and at other residential school sites across the country.
"Money doesn't fix these things," said Dawn Iehstoseranon:nha, also known as Dawn Setford, president and founder of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada.
"Money is not going to make those babies come out of the ground. But what we maybe can do: if we get some love, if we get some support, if we get some tools, we can maybe grow from there."
A Progressive Conservative spokesperson issued a statement saying the discoveries of the unmarked grave sites at former residential schools "has been deeply traumatic for many Indigenous peoples."
"The painful legacy of residential schools has resulted in ongoing, intergenerational trauma and we are working together to ensure funding is available for culturally appropriate, trauma-informed supports as this work is undertaken," the spokesperson wrote.
The party wouldn't commit to increasing funding for the search, instead reaffirming its $20-million commitment and an additional $12.8 million allocated for "culturally appropriate mental health" services.
Iehstoseranon:nha said the process of searching for residential school burial sites has to be about "support, equality" and "inclusivity."
"When we start to feel loved, we will start to heal," she said. "And that is not even on the radar: it's always money, it's always promises. That's not what Indigenous people are."
Iehstoseranon:nha, who hails from the St. Regis/Akwesasne territory and who was adopted out as a baby to a non-Indigenous family, said it's time to "stop throwing money" around and time to "do something."
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said at a recent campaign stop in Mississauga, Ont., that "we all have an obligation" to "do everything that needs to be done to advance reconciliation with Indigenous people."
"It's something that we need to continue to shine a light on," said Del Duca, highlighting the Liberal party's costed platform, which commits to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to Action. They include allocating resources to help investigate missing Indigenous children and possible burial sites.
"It's so important to have a government at Queen's Park, and a premier at Queen's Park, who doesn't simply believe in dictating from on high about this, but actually works with Indigenous people, and actually has these searches be led in partnership with Indigenous people in this province," said Del Duca.
"So we will fund it appropriately, but we will work closely with Indigenous people so we're not dictating and suggesting we know how to do it better."
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also affirmed her commitment to working with Indigenous communities "on solving the crises that continue to unfold, both on their territories as well as in urban communities."
The party's platform contains commitments to support and work with First Nations to identify burial sites of children at residential schools, as well as commission "a monument" by an Indigenous artist for display at Queen's Park "that recognizes the victims of the Indian residential school system." Such a monument, if erected, would fulfill one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.
"The trauma that has been experienced by First Nations communities in the context of the horrific discoveries of the various ΓÇª graves of children that never made their way home from ΓÇª residential schools is significant," said Horwath.
She said it's important to respect First Nations leadership and include their perspectives in any plans concerning their communities.
"The counseling and the kind of supports that need to happen during (the search for burial sites) 3/8 -- because it does bring a lot of trauma with it -- all of those things need to be led by First Nations voices and First Nations peoples."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2022.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The Bank of Canada's strategy of rapidly increasing its key interest rate in an effort to tackle skyrocketing inflation will likely trigger a recession, a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says.
WATCH LIVE | Assembly of First Nations meets as suspended chief RoseAnne Archibald fights for financial audit
The annual gathering of the Assembly of First Nations is being held this week in Vancouver under a cloud of criticism from its national chief, who has been suspended and denied entry to the meeting.
A shooter fired on an Independence Day parade from a rooftop in suburban Chicago, spraying the crowd with gunshots initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of panicked revellers of all ages fled in terror. At least six people were killed and at least 30 wounded.
As Canadian airports continue to experience long lines, cancelled flights and even lost luggage, travel expert Natalie Preddie says there still are ways to ensure a less stressful airport experience.
A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in seizing an eastern Ukraine province essential to his wartime aims, a city in the path of Moscow's offensive came under sustained bombardment, its mayor said Tuesday.
Even though it may seem years away, saving for retirement is a top priority among 26 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34, a recent survey from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan found. However, 79 per cent of respondents in that age group say saving for retirement is prohibitively expensive.
The 17-year-old daughter of the Toronto Blue Jays' first base coach died in a 'terrible accident' while tubing in the U.S. this weekend.
A new U.S. study shows that in high-trust neighbourhoods, those with a larger dog population had robbery rates that were almost two-thirds lower and murder rates that were cut in half.
Climate change protesters targeted a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' at London's Royal Academy of Arts Tuesday, gluing themselves to the painting's frame and spray-painting 'No New Oil' next to it.
Two young emergency room doctors, raised and trained in Montreal, are leaving their jobs after only two years to move back to Toronto – and they say the Quebec health-care model and Bill 96 are to blame.
Quebec is reporting another jump in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as the province records 20 more deaths and 147 additional hospitalizations in the last 24 hours.
Until now, Quebec has required patients to have ultrasounds before getting the pills that induce a medical abortion. In the rest of Canada, that measure was abandoned in 2019.
Huron County OPP have identified the victim of a fatal crash north west of Exeter, Ont. on Monday evening.
OPP in Elgin County are hoping somebody may have some footage of vandals.
A south London church is appealing to the public to help find a vintage bell, reportedly stolen over the long weekend.
Another piece of the Region of Waterloo International Airport’s new multi-million expansion is now complete.
What ended up being a false alarm saw Waterloo regional police respond to a weapons call at a Kitchener encampment with guns drawn on Saturday.
'The interest just completely faded after the arrest': Cambridge teen’s dream of going to NHL derailed by bullying, harassment, alleges lawsuit
A Cambridge family has launched a $5.5-million civil lawsuit against Victus Academy, an elite hockey prep school in Kitchener, and three of its students.
With doctor shortages causing emergency rooms around the country to shut down, a northern Ontario hospital is scrambling to stave off the same fate.
At a special meeting of United Steelworkers Local 2251, membership backed its negotiating team in talks with Algoma Steel with a strike authorization vote of 99% Monday, the union said in a release.
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall was in contact with a key organizer of the Freedom Convoy anti-mandate protest, providing strategic advice before and after the Ottawa occupation began, according to court records obtained by CTV News.
An elderly woman has died after being hit by a garbage truck Monday morning.
Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating after an Ottawa police officer shot a man with an anti-riot weapon Monday.
The city of Ottawa and overdose prevention partners are warning residents of an increase in suspected overdose-related deaths after five people died in the last week.
Windsor police are asking for the public’s help finding a missing 20-year-old woman.
A 43-year-old Chatham man is facing several charges after reports of a stabbing and shots fired in Chatham.
The average house price and sales are declining in the region, according to the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors.
Police in Innisfil released an image of a vehicle allegedly involved in a hit and run that sent a motorcyclist to the hospital.
The OPP released a video in the hope of solving the shooting death of Jonus Palmer that occurred near Midland one year ago.
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is investigating after an officer in Kawartha Lakes discharged an Anti-Riot Weapon Enfield to stop one suspect from fleeing following an alleged overnight break-in.
A woman, a teenager and a one-year-old child have died following a crash in East Port Hebert, N.S., on Monday.
A day after a Nova Scotia woman shared her story about driving her son to the hospital after waiting for an ambulance, her provincial politician is calling for better services and accountability.
A park in west end Halifax that became the site of an encampment last fall is closing to the public and removing unhoused inhabitants in the process.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a death at the McDonald's in Sundre, Alta. early Monday morning.
Calgary councillors are scheduled to debate and vote on a 99-page climate strategy.
WEATHER | Calgary warms up, still a risk of storms
Afternoon storm risk in Calgary Tuesday and Wednesday.
Winnipeg police believe a man who has been missing for more than a year is a victim of foul play.
A section of Winnipeg’s Main Street is closed on Tuesday morning due to a “serious” incident that left one person in critical condition, according to police.
A pair of longstanding buildings in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village are set to be demolished beginning on Tuesday.
Two teenagers were arrested after the stabbing of a third teen at a Surrey, B.C., high school, Mounties say.
A nurse in B.C.'s Interior has been suspended for a week, prohibited from working alone and ordered to undergo "remedial ethics education" due to their treatment of patients while working the night shift.
A man is dead and an investigation is underway after a shooting at a Surrey hotel.
Periods of steadier, light rain are making their way across the Edmonton region and much of central and north-central Alberta this morning.
An Edmonton flight bound for Halifax never made it to its destination after a landing gear sustained damage during takeoff Monday afternoon.
Two people are in hospital with gunshot wounds after a drive-by shooting in northeast Edmonton Monday evening.