Questioned on March 27th on why the Conservative government would not be apologizing on behalf of Canada for residential schools, the Honourable Jim Prentice said:
“I’ve said quite clearly that the residential school chapter of our history is one that was a difficult chapter. Many things happened that we need to close the door on as part of Canadian history, but fundamentally, the underlying objective had been to try and provide an education to aboriginal children and I think the circumstances are completely different from Maher Arar or also from the Chinese head tax.” (bold mine)
The facts tell a different story. Aboriginal children were taken from their home against their will, had a foreign religion forced upon them, and were often physically and emotionally abused. The same logic could have led the Minster to say that the government was trying to keep Canada safe from terrorism (in the case of Arar) or to ensure a “strong Canadian workforce” (in the case of the head tax). In either case, state-sponsored/institutional racism is the underlying theme.
Unfortunately, the first in an ongoing series…