(Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, left, Senator Murray Sinclair, and NDP MP Romeo Saganash at a news conference in Ottawa)
Annette FrancisAPTN Reporter Annette Francis gives us more from the news conference in Ottawa
Sinclair was accompanied by NDP-MPs Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou), who bashed the bishops’ behaviour.
“I am disgusted,” said Saganash, a Cree politician from Quebec who survived 10 years in residential school.
“To state ‘the Catholic church as a whole in Canada was not associated with the residential schools’ pushes this church towards very irresponsible, historical, revisionism,” added Angus (Timmins-James Bay), a Catholic.
Sen. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC, said it was sad to see the church try and distance itself from the issue now.
“They’re not taking responsibility and that’s a shame,” he said.
It took survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, who shared the stage with the politicians, to clarify the subject.
“The church has acknowledged wrongdoing,” she said. “So all we’re asking for is a verbal apology.”
Korkmaz attended notorious St. Anne’s residential school in Angus’s riding, whose survivors are battling Ottawa for the same compensation offered other survivors.
Angus, who has been championing their fight, said the church has to apologize and noted he was “distressed” Canadian bishops weren’t insisting he do that.
But Gagnon defended the head of the church.
“I agree with the way the Pope is handling this in waiting for an opportune time,” he said.
“He has been invited to Canada from the prime minister, from three of our presidents of the Catholic conference of bishops of Canada…His response had to do with Call to Action No. 58 and its rather strict confines.”
Pope Francis has apologized to Indigenous peoples in Bolivia for the impact of colonialism and said sorry to survivors of priestly sexual abuse in Ireland.
“We have a track record with this Pope who is not afraid to confront the hard issues,” Gagnon added.