Ottawa, churches withholding documents…

The Globe and Mail

[with videos]

[interim report]

Ottawa, churches withholding documents, residential schools commission says

Tamara Baluja

OTTAWA— Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

Ottawa is restricting access to federal archives and withholding several key documents on church-run residential schooling, says the Truth and Reconciliation Commission charged with exposing the dark legacy of this period in aboriginal education.

The commission’s mandate is to create a comprehensive historical record of residential schooling in Canada with a purpose of helping victims to heal and encourage reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. But in an interim report released Friday in Vancouver, the commission says the federal government and some churches are frustrating their efforts to search through their archives and causing “considerable delay.”

“It is unlikely that the document collection process will be completed without a significant shift in attitude on the part of Canada and those parties who have been reluctant to co-operate,” Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the commission, wrote in the report.

The commission was established in 2008 through the court-approved Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that was negotiated among legal counsel for former students, the churches, the Assembly of First Nations and the federal government.

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