Canada's NDP


March 21st, 2024

NDP calls on Liberals to support searches of Residential Schools sites

Liberals have no plan to support communities to search Residential School sites beyond 2025

OTTAWA – On Thursday, NDP deputy critic for Indigenous Services Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski) was joined by First Nation leaders and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to call on the Liberals to support communities like Pimicikamak Cree Nation who are trying to conduct searches of residential school sites to bring their children home.

This call comes as media headlines report that federal funding for Indigenous Services—that include programs to help with residential school site searches—will run out in 2025, and the Liberals have no plan to renew it. The NDP calls on the Liberals to reverse these cuts in the next federal budget.

“First Nations like Pimicikamak have been clear for three years that they are ready to move forward with searches of residential school sites in their areas, but the Liberals haven’t been there to support them,” said Ashton. “Now, the funding intended to support this critical work is set to end by 2025. We call on the Liberals to renew this essential funding in the next federal budget.

“New Democrats stand with First Nations like Pimicikamak that are clear these searches must happen for the sake of truth and justice.”

The lack of support by the Liberal government for Pimicikamak Cree Nation is slowing down their searches at residential school sites in their region. The chief of Pimicikamak Cree Nation called on ICMP, an intergovernmental organization that addresses the issue of persons missing as a result of violations of human rights, to help his community with these searches. However, the Liberal government hasn’t provided the support ICMP requires to get the job done.

“The needs are great, but so is the need for further truth and reconciliation efforts by all stakeholders that have the ability to do something,” said Sheila North, ICMP Canada Program Manager. “One phrase kept coming to mind as we met with people impacted by the legacy of residential schools in Canada, and it remains with me: ‘they where children’.”