Church organizations renew call for mediator

he Ecumenical Group on Residential Schools has asked Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray to agree to the appointment of a mediator to facilitate future negotiations between church organizations and the federal government around litigation arising from the legacy of Indian residential schools.

In a letter mailed to Mr. Gray prior to Christmas, the Ecumenical Group asked the Deputy Prime Minister to indicate his response by Jan. 18 to three conditions to be met when negotiations are resumed. These are:

  • Establishing a timetable aimed at an agreement by Mar. 31, 2002;
  • Appointing a mutually agreeable mediator/facilitator to assist in the negotiations;
  • Placing on the table the basic elements of the proposal put forward last fall by the church organizations.

Negotiations were derailed last fall when the federal government announced it would move unilaterally to resolve claims without having reached the comprehensive agreement that the church organizations had been attempting to negotiate with Ottawa.

“Former students who have filed claims have waited long enough for an agreement to be reached between the government and the churches,” said Sister Marie Zarowny, chair of the Catholic Organizations’ Task Group on Indian Residential Schools. She added that the church organizations involved in the negotiations with Ottawa recognize that they need the help of a mediator in resolving this impasse with the government.

“We had hoped that our request for a mediator would be immediately agreed to because it seems like such a reasonable way to move forward, but thus far there has been no response from Ottawa,” Sister Zarowny said.

“If ecumenical talks are to continue with any hope of success, we believe a mediator must be sitting at the table,” said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, chair of the Ecumenical Group on Residential Schools.

The Ecumenical Group on Residential Schools represents Catholic, Anglican, United and Presbyterian organizations that were historically associated with Indian Residential Schools.

Archdeacon Jim Boyles
Anglican Church of Canada
Tony Whittingham
(416) 924-9199 (ext 324)
(416) 738-8909 (cell)

Sister Marie Zarowny, SSA
Catholic Organizations’ Task Group on Indian Residential Schools
Gerry Kelly
(613) 241-9461
(613) 297-1344 (cell)
Brian Greene
(613) 569-9098

Rev. David Iverson
The United Church of Canada
Mary-Frances Denis
(416) 231-7680 (ext 2016)
(416) 766-0057 (home)

Rev. Ian Morrison
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Keith Knight
(416) 441-1111 (ext 257)

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