OTTAWA, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - "The resignation of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission Chair Justice Harry LaForme yesterday is unfortunate since it will
delay the work of the Commission", says the Ontario Regional Chief Angus
Justice LaForme, of the Ontario Court of Appeal, had been appointed chair
of the commission through a court-ordered settlement in June. LaForme's
resignation over what he calls an internal leadership struggle has left the
leadership in Ontario worried about the impact on the interests of survivors.
"The bottom line is Justice LaForme's resignation is a major set back for
all residential school survivors since the whole Truth and Reconciliation
Commission is about them," says Regional Chief Angus Toulouse. He adds, "The
fact that they have to wait for a new appointment will likely delay the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission. Hopefully, the issues that motivated Mr.
Justice LaForme to resign can be dealt with effectively and a timely manner".
With a compromised commission and an added delay to the hearing process,
the Chiefs of Ontario have stressed that this situation must not result in any
retreat of the Federal Government commitment to the Commission.
Although the commission was set to begin gathering the stories of
residential-schools survivors in the next few weeks, the Chiefs of Ontario
believe the Chair's resignation brings to the fore critical issues which must
be addressed first. Resolution of the issues relating to the commission's
independence and the Commissioner's roles in a more appropriate manner, based
on the principle that the rights and interests of residential school survivors
are paramount, is an essential first step if the work of the Commission is to
The Chiefs of Ontario stress the importance of the commission in the need
to fulfill its mandate for the well-being of residential school survivors and
First Nations communities.
For further information:
For further information: For interviews with Regional Chief Toulouse or
guest speakers, please contact: Harmony Rice, Communications, Chiefs of
Ontario, 1-877-517-6527, (416) 576-9718, firstname.lastname@example.org