Churches Express Confidence in Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners



    TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - The Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches,
and 51 Roman Catholic entities, who are all parties to the Indian Residential
Schools Settlement Agreement, today expressed regret over the resignation of
Justice Harry LaForme while affirming their confidence in Truth and
Reconciliation Commissioners Claudette Dumont-Smith and Jane Brewin Morley.
    On Monday, October 20, Justice LaForme resigned as Chair of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, citing a disagreement on the vision and a breakdown
in the working relationship with the commissioners. As a result, editorials in
the national press have called for the resignations of the other two
commissioners.
    "Our contact with the commissioners has always been helpful, positive,
respectful of Justice LaForme, and understanding of the vision and mandate of
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission," said Archbishop Terence Finlay, the
Primate's Special Envoy for Residential Schools of the Anglican Church of
Canada.
    The Rev. James Scott, the United Church's General Council Officer for
Residential Schools and one of the negotiators of the Commission's mandate,
said, "The mandate and operation of the Commission was envisioned as
inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and facilitative. Both truth-telling
and reconciliation processes are central for survivors and for our nation as a
whole as we address this tragic chapter in Canadian history. We believe that
Ms. Dumont-Smith and Ms. Morley understand that."
    The resignation has created serious concerns about the future of the
Commission and its capacity to accomplish the important, historic mandate
given to it under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The
churches, working closely with survivor groups, the Assembly of First Nations,
and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, remain deeply committed to the potential of
the Commission to play an important role in healing and reconciliation for
residential school survivors and for all Canadians. "It is critical that all
the parties to the Agreement agree on a process for appointing a successor as
soon as possible," said Scott.





For further information:

For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The
United Church of Canada, (416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), 1-800-268-3781
ext. 2016 (toll-free), (416) 885-7478 (cell), (416) 766-0057 (home),
mdenis@united-church.ca

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