Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday June 12, 2015
Harper meets pope, does not seek apology on residential schools
Prime Minister Stephen Harper raised the troubling findings of the residential schools commission with Pope Francis at the Vatican Thursday, but appeared to have stopped short of inviting him to Canada to apologize.
“Prime Minister Harper also drew attention to the letter sent by Minister (Bernard) Valcourt to the Holy See regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Harper’s office said without elaborating.
Harper’s spokesman did not respond to a request for clarification.
A separate readout from the Vatican did not mention the residential schools issue among the topics discussed.
Harper instead chose to pursue the theme that has dominated his six-day trip to Europe — his condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was at the Vatican on Wednesday for his private audience with Francis.
Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, says the meeting will be a “prime opportunity” for the prime minister to raise the issue.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which spoke to thousands of residential school students and documented their experiences, issued 94 recommendations last week that included a call for a papal apology on Canadian soil. (Source: Toronto Star)