Yesterday, Justice Murray Sinclair tabled the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The report's 94 recommendations are wide ranging. Tim Harper writes:
The commission has called on the federal government to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, something to which the Conservatives now merely “aspire.”
It wants a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation, it wants Pope Francis to come to Canada within a year to issue an apology for the role of the Catholic church in the residential schools, it wants all levels of government to provide annual reports on the progress toward reconciliation. It wants the prime minister to issue an annual “State of Aboriginal Peoples” report. It wants a monument to the survivors in Ottawa and all provincial capitals and a national holiday honouring survivors and victims.
The report recommends:
a change to the oath of citizenship to include respect for treaties with indigenous people, a requirement that all law and journalism students in Canada be taught the legacy of residential schools and a requirement that medical and nursing schools make aboriginal health a required subject,
as well as an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women. We know how the Harper government has reacted to that suggestion.
The government's reaction to the report in general has not been encouraging. Ryan Maloney, in the Huffington Post, reports that the Harperites were unmoved by the report:
On Tuesday, the TRC released a long-awaited report on the shameful legacy of the residential school system. The push for a national inquiry and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People were both included among 94 wide-ranging recommendations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has previously ruled out taking both actions and, in question period, hinted its position was unlikely to change.
The truth is that it will take another government to act upon the report's 94 recommendations. The prime minister is good at offering apologies. But, as Canadian veterans know, he refuses to put his money where his mouth is. Talk is cheap. And Stephen Harper is full of talk.
As long as he is prime minister, there will be no action on the TRC report. It will take another government to change conditions for Canada's native peoples.