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“There can be no reconciliation without justice”: Jagmeet Singh

Report finds government behind miscarriage of justice for survivors
Jagmeet Singh
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks about a national pharmacare program on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 during a campaign stop in Thunder Bay. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

MONTREAL – An interim report by retired Justice Ian Pitfield proves what St. Anne’s Residential School survivors have stated all along – they have been forced to suffer a massive miscarriage of justice. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on Justin Trudeau to explain why his government spent millions of dollars attempting to cover up these basic facts and why they fought so hard to deny justice to survivors of horrific child abuse and sexual violence.  

“The Trudeau government knew there was evidence that confirmed the survivors’ stories. Instead of supporting survivors, the government subjected them to enormous trauma using every legal trick possible to deny justice for people who suffered horrific physical and sexual violence as little children,” said Jagmeet. “There is no reconciliation in Canada without justice. It’s unacceptable that Justin Trudeau continues to say he cares about reconciliation but keeps dragging St. Anne’s survivors and First Nations kids to court.” 

In the report, Pitfield notes that at least 81 of cases heard under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) require “significant review.” NDP candidate Charlie Angus who has worked with the survivors for years says this finding just scratches the surface. 

“We have long known that the Justice Department suppressed thousands of pages of police and court evidence. We know they protected the perpetrators of brutal sadism against children. At any point, over the last six years Justin Trudeau could have done the right thing,” said Angus. “Instead his minister, Carolyn Bennett waged a toxic legal war to cover up this injustice. This is Justin Trudeau’s legacy on reconciliation.” 

This past spring Parliament ordered the Trudeau government to end their legal battle against the St. Anne’s survivors. Despite talking about doing the right thing, Justin Trudeau made no effort to involve the survivors in the legal review or even treat their stories with the sincere compassion and respect they deserve.