(NDP MP Charlie Angus in Ottawa Monday)
Two federal NDP MPs will try one more time to get an apology from Pope Francis for Indian residential school survivors in Canada.
Last week, the motion from Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou) was defeated during a free vote in the House of Commons.
This Thursday, Angus says the motion will be debated and needs only a majority to pass.
“The Catholic church must step up,” Angus (Timmins-James Bay) told a news conference in Ottawa Monday.
“We’re asking the Pope to work with us.”
Angus said top Catholic leaders in Canada showed last week they’re not on the same page.
“We have to close this chapter. We believe that the Parliament of Canada has a role to play in reaching out,” he said.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops held their own news conference in Ottawa to say that Pope Francis might apologize but they weren’t going to ask him to do so.
Saskatchewan MDP-MP Georgina Jolibois said it was important to her – as an Indigenous woman and practicing Catholic – for the Pope to come.
“It would be an honour for the Pope to come to Canada and visit the Indigenous people and issue an apology,” she told reporters.
However, Angus said there was more to it.
As the “single largest developer of residential schools in Canada,” he said the church had a moral obligation to say sorry.
He said it’s clear politicians need to bypass the Bishops to ask Pope Francis to respond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
“If that’s the bishop’s position then it’s up to Parliament to reach out to the Pope directly,” Angus said.
“We do have the power to invite the Pope to walk with us and to make the issue of reconciliation real.”