NDP MPs calling for residential school investigation organize justice march in Ottawa

·1 min read
People and shoes line the ground in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where a pair of NDP MPs have organized a march to call on the Canadian government to investigate crimes in residential schools. (Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada - image credit)
People and shoes line the ground in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where a pair of NDP MPs have organized a march to call on the Canadian government to investigate crimes in residential schools. (Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

A march for "truth and justice," organized by a pair of NDP MPs, is taking place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said the purpose of the event — which she is planning with Charlie Angus, an Ontario MP for Timmins-James Bay — is to put pressure on the Canadian government to investigate crimes carried out against Indigenous peoples at residential schools.

This comes nearly a month after both politicians called on Justice Minister David Lametti to launch an investigation into "crimes against humanity" in Canada, after the preliminary discoveries of unmarked burial sites at former school sites.

"Inuit deserve the truth and the right to heal," Qaqqaq said in a video posted on Youtube Thursday, in which she criticized the government for not doing enough to bring Father Johannes Rivoire back to Canada.

Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada
Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada

Rivoire, originally from France, is accused of sex-related offences connected to his time in Naujaat and Rankin Inlet in Nunavut during the 1960s. RCMP issued a warrant for his arrest in 1998, five years after he returned to France.

That warrant was stayed in 2019.

"This man does not deserve to run around scot-free," said Qaqqaq. "Because of individuals like these, we see intergenerational trauma through Nunavut at mass rates … cause things like the suicide epidemic, high rates of violence and poverty."

Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada
Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada

The march began at noon E.T. on Saturday.

Do you know of a child who never came home from residential school? Or someone who worked at one? We would like to hear from you. Email our Indigenous-led team investigating the impacts of residential schools at wherearethey@cbc.ca or call toll-free: 1-833-824-0800.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and for those triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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