Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Former Supreme Court Justice Iacobucci To Mediate Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission Dispute

Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci has been asked to help mediate the dispute that has paralyzed the work of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission that was set up earlier this year to deal with the historical legacy of the Indian residential school system.

Over the years, thousands of aboriginal students were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse by personnel working for the church authorities that ran the boarding schools on behalf of the Canadian government.

Last month, the work of the Commission was derailed after its head, Justice Harry LaForme, resigned, complaining that he could no longer work with the 2 other commissioners.

More background:

  • Head of Commission on Indian Residential Schools Resigns (Library Boy, October 20, 2008)
  • Iacobucci to mediate native reconciliation issue (CanWest News Service, Nov. 5, 2008): "Iacobucci has agreed to hold a first meeting in Toronto on Friday with lawyers for the parties, which range from the federal government and the churches to victims and the Assembly of First Nations (...) The Assembly of First Nations welcomed Iacobucci's willingness to pitch in, citing as an asset his history as a negotiator for the federal government in the talks that resulted in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement."
  • Iacobucci to help truth and reconciliation commission move forward (Anglican Journal, Nov. 5, 2008): " 'Justice Iacobucci has, through his work on the IRSSA, made an enormous contribution towards achieving a fair, comprehensive and lasting resolution of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools,' said a joint statement of the lawyers representing government, native groups, and churches, which are party to the agreement (...) Various groups, including the Anglican Church of Canada, expressed concern that Mr. La Forme’s resignation would further delay the truth-gathering process involving former students of native boarding schools, most of whom are now elderly. Mr. LaForme said he resigned because of an 'incurable problem' that doomed the TRC 'as currently constituted' to failure. "
  • Residential schools panel struggles to find new chair (Globe and Mail, October 30, 2008): "When Harry LaForme was named chair of Canada's residential schools truth and reconciliation commission, Marlene Brant Castellano thought her work was done. She took the long list of candidates and the short list, and all her notes, and threw them in the bin, confident that Mr. Justice LaForme, a unanimous choice of the selection committee co-chaired by Dr. Brant Castellano and Thomas Berger, would lead a successful commission. Now that the commission is on the brink of collapse after Judge LaForme's acrimonious resignation last week, that list may have to be resurrected as the parties to the residential schools settlement try to find a way to get the process back on track."
  • Give truth a chance, Canada (Globe and Mail, November 4, 2008): "The reality of truth commissions - as I know from my experience working for such a commission in my native Peru - is they often face rocky beginnings, then go on to achieve great things."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:44 pm


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