The federal government made moves today to further recognize the horrors of the residential-school system and enshrine them in the nation’s memory.
The residential-school system was made an event of national historic significance today, while the sites of two former schools – one in Manitoba, the other in Nova Scotia – were designated national historic sites.
The schools were populated by Indigenous students who were usually ripped from their homes – sometimes by police – and subjected to colonial education that has been characterized as “cultural genocide.” The schools were often the sites of physical and sexual abuse as well. The last residential school closed in 1996 and the federal government officially apologized for the system in 2008.
Some residential school survivors hailed the designation as an important waypoint of healing on the journey to reconciliation.
Senator Murray Sinclair, the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, told The Globe he hoped it would be followed up with a monument in Ottawa.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
The federal government has hired an outside firm to investigate the complaints of workplace harassment in the office of Governor-General Julie Payette. Quintet Consulting Corporation is the same group that was hired by the Senate in 2015 to look into the allegations in then-senator Don Meredith’s office. The investigator’s report is set to be handed to the government in “late fall,” but the terms of reference suggest it will not be made public.
Former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has a new job with Toronto-Dominion Bank.
Canada’s banking regulator is winding down two emergency measures introduced early in the pandemic. One initiative made it easier for banks to allow customers to defer mortgage and loan payments. Analysts are watching to see what happens when those bills come due in the coming months.
And today is the deadline for Green Party leadership candidates to submit the necessary signatures and money to make it on the final ballot. Eight candidates are expected to clear the hurdle.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on what Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole should be focused on: “Forget about the toppled statues. The next election will not be fought primarily on racism or police violence or LGBTQ issues or even the environment. People are afraid: for the health of their families and for their economic security in the midst of a pandemic-induced recession. Erin O’Toole, the new Conservative Leader, needs to explain how he would protect the health and jobs of frightened Canadians. Everything else is a distraction.”
J.D.M. Stewart (The Globe and Mail) on why statues should stay up: “Canada’s continuing work toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, as well as the systemic racism and violence in all its forms that has been a part of the lived experience of many Canadians, are the issues of our times. But defacing and vandalizing statues of a former prime minister is not going to advance any of those causes. Nor is it justified by history – although it may make some feel better.”
Taylor Noakes (The Globe and Mail) on why statues should come down: “We tend to have inconsistent opinions regarding the toppling of monuments. When they’re brought down by mobs of jubilant Iraqis or Eastern Europeans, we celebrate the triumph of liberty and freedom of expression – our core democratic values. But when it happens here at home, it’s all anarchy and cancel culture.”
Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on the bigger picture: “Perhaps society at large should be getting as worked up about the very real violence and discrimination being experienced by racialized groups as they are about the destruction of a statue.”
Naheed Dosani and Trevor Morey (CBC) on homelessness during and after the pandemic: “As a stopgap measure, many jurisdictions have set up COVID-19 programs to support people experiencing homelessness. Meanwhile, in cities across Canada our homelessness crisis is more visible than ever as people have fled in fear, preferring to be outside of these systems, some living in tents to maintain physical distancing. This unprecedented time has shown us all that access to housing is not just a political issue, but a matter of life and death.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s efforts to fight money laundering: “Trouble is, no one is buying the government’s spin. The entire world knows that illicit funds flow to Canada because criminals aren’t afraid of getting caught.”