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Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper - Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

April 11, 2006

The Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington St.

Ottawa, K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing with regard to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This morning your Minister of Indian Affairs, The Honourable Jim Prentice, announced that your government would not honour the promise made by the previous government to issue an advance payment of $8000 to any claimant who is 65 years of age or older.

The Anglican Church of Canada is deeply disappointed at this failure to meet the needs of elderly former students of the Residential Schools. We expected a more humane response to the needs of former students, some of whom are faithful members of the Anglican Church.

As a church we have long since acknowledged our own part in the sad history of the Residential Schools system in Canada, through the establishment of an Anglican Healing Fund in 1991, and the issuing of a formal apology in 1993. We were encouraged by the appointment of The Honourable Frank Iacobucci as special negotiator in May of 2005, and have willingly participated in the negotiations that produced the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. While we were disappointed that the change of government resulted in some delay in implementing this Agreement, we did not anticipate that your new government would fail to honour an important component, namely, the advance payments to elderly claimants.

I strongly urge you to reconsider the decision announced today by Mr. Prentice.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew S. Hutchison

Archbishop and Primate

c.c. The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.

 

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