NDP Member of Parliament Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) put in a motion to recognize residential schools as an act of genocide.
The motion was then passed by unanimous consent in the House of Commons.
“I mean, symbolic motion that really sets the tone on the amount of healing that still needs to be done in this country.” says Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake First Nation.
“It sets the tone on acknowledging the historical wrongs, and history and legacy of residential schools in every single one of our provinces and this country we call Canada.”
In a release from the federal NDP party they say the motion reads as “that in the opinion of the House that the government must recognize what happened in Canada’s Indian residential schools as genocide, as acknowledged by Pope Francis and in accordance with article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”
In the release, Gazan said “We all have a responsibility as elected officials to speak the truth. Only then will we achieve justice and demonstrate that we are truly committed to reconciliation.”
“Progress is good. Improvement is good, and seeing the amount of work that’s being done on every level of government is encouraging, and it gives us hope as WLFN, as First Nation’s people and really, as a country that we’re standing together in unity.” says Sellars.
The NDP added that they stand in solidarity with First Nations, Métis and Inuit survivors and communities and will continue to work towards advancing justice for survivors, families, and communities impacted by Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.