The discovery of the remains of native children in Kamloops has shocked the nation. Perhaps, Susan Delacourt writes, things will change:
Three days after the horrifying discovery of children’s remains outside a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., the country feels on the verge of an important moment — one that could punch through complacency in a way that reports, inquiries and “calls for action” have not.
In Canada’s long conversation over Indigenous truth and reconciliation, the discovery of these children’s bodies inscribes a brutal, indelible entry in the “truth” part of the ledger.
We have been forced to confront what has been truly ugly in our history:
In Ottawa, for one unofficial memorial day at least, it was being treated as such on Monday, marked best perhaps by the tearful public breakdown of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Silent, struggling for words for nearly one long minute, Singh was only able to say he would pursue “justice” for these children before ending his news conference. It was an affecting display of what Singh had arrived to say: that words are not going to fix this.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cast the Kamloops discovery as the painful, unavoidable truth for those who have been trying to avert their eyes from the history of residential schools.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Trudeau at least twice directed his comments at this constituency, arguing that the grisly find makes it impossible any longer to be casually unaware of what happened at residential schools.
“This is a moment in time,” Trudeau said. “Non-Indigenous Canadians may not have understood the depth of the trauma for those families … These are the things that Canada is waking up to this weekend. It’s a difficult and hard awakening.”
It is, indeed, a hard awakening. Now we must confront a harder question: How are we going to fix this?
Image: The Toronto Star