Churches express confidence in Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners

The Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches, and 51 Roman Catholic entities, who are all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, today expressed regret over the resignation of Justice Harry LaForme while affirming their confidence in Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Claudette Dumont-Smith and Jane Brewin Morley.

On Monday, October 20, Justice LaForme resigned as Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, citing a disagreement on the vision and a breakdown in the working relationship with the commissioners. As a result, editorials in the national press have called for the resignations of the other two commissioners.

“Our contact with the commissioners has always been helpful, positive, respectful of Justice LaForme, and understanding of the vision and mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said Archbishop Terence Finlay, the Primate’s Special Envoy for Residential Schools of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Rev. James Scott, the United Church’s General Council Officer for Residential Schools and one of the negotiators of the Commission’s mandate, said, “The mandate and operation of the Commission was envisioned as inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and facilitative. Both truth-telling and reconciliation processes are central for survivors and for our nation as a whole as we address this tragic chapter in Canadian history. We believe that Ms. Dumont-Smith and Ms. Morley understand that.”

The resignation has created serious concerns about the future of the Commission and its capacity to accomplish the important, historic mandate given to it under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The churches, working closely with survivor groups, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, remain deeply committed to the potential of the Commission to play an important role in healing and reconciliation for residential school survivors and for all Canadians. “It is critical that all the parties to the Agreement agree on a process for appointing a successor as soon as possible,” said Scott.

For further information:

Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
(416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free)
(416) 885-7478 (cell), (416) 766-0057 (home)
[email protected]

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