Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Harper sorry, but...

 “Labrador residential-schools survivors to press for federal compensation”

So read the headline published on-line in the GLOBE AND MAIL, dated Nov. 18, 2014.

As you know, Prime Minister Harper made national news in June of 2008 on live TV when he had apologized to Canada’s Aboriginal people regarding the establishment of and subsequent physical, sexual, and mental abuses experienced in all the former residential schools across the country. I should know, I was one of those students.

The compensation for those abuses inflicted on Survivors continue; enter the latest… the Labrador Inuit.

Much like the medical and dental care offered to Aboriginal people, Harper’s apology was and is apparently limited. The article reads, in part:

Lawyers for the federal government deny it was responsible for five schools that opened before the province joined Confederation in 1949.

I have some news and what could be presented as evidence for those hard-nosed lawyers.
As some may know, I was the appointed Inuit Board Member on the now-defunct Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) from 1999 to 2004. The AHF’s mandate was to distribute up to $400 million dollars to “eligible recipients” who wanted to address the healing needs of the legacy of physical and sexual abuses in the residential schools. Records will show Harper’s lawyers that two of the “eligible recipients” were from Labrador: the Nunatsiavut Government and the Labrador Legal Services.

Case closed? I might say.  After all, the AHF was routinely audited by Harper’s lawyers to ensure the AHF adhered to the Funding Agreement. Due diligence on their part would have challenged us, Board Members, to not approve the above noted projects. Still, the Labrador Inuit residential schools were regarded as “eligible recipients.” Case closed?

The two thumbs up given by Inuit Survivor, Sarah Aggek (pictured) speaks a thousand words.

For the government though, it will likely symbolize thousands more dollars…I’m sorry, Harper.