TORONTO, June 11, 2008 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins with other Canadians in commending the Federal Government on the heartfelt apology which Prime Minister Harper delivered on behalf of Canadians for the abusive treatment Aboriginal children received in the racist government-sanctioned residential schools.
"We appreciate the very apparent sincerity with which the Prime Minister delivered the apology on behalf of Canadians," said Albert Lo, the Foundation's Chair. "The act of acknowledging the wrongs committed is so important because it changes the rules of engagement for the better in any discussion. It places the matter of respect on a more equal footing."
"Clearly, any action or activity that attempts to assimilate another people is racist. With this apology, the message is 'we were wrong to do this, let us now begin a new relationship'."
The CRRF also acknowledges the apologies and comments offered by the leaders of the opposition parties in the House of Commons who identified that there are still many problems and obstacles which need to be overcome between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians, including the living conditions of some. They also point to the fact it was this Government which did not support the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples.
"We sincerely hope that Canadians will not only take this opportunity to find out more about the conditions that Aboriginal peoples faced in the residential schools and the impact on their societies, but more about the true realities of Aboriginal life and history in Canada," concluded Lo.