NDP leader Singh visits Kamloops Indian Residential School, calls for action on reconciliation

NDP leader visits Tk'emlups

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called for more action to seek reconciliation and support Indigenous communities after a meeting with Tk'emlups te Secwepemc leadership on Thursday.

Singh met with TteS Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir and council members before visiting the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and the memorial to the hundreds of children found buried near the school.

The stop in Kamloops was part of Singh’s week-long tour of Indigenous communities across Canada.

Singh said it’s the country’s responsibility to take action and seek justice for Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school system.

"It is not good enough to just show symbolically that we care, we have to do something to make this right,” Singh said.

“Our commitment is, we need to implement all the Truth and Reconciliation [Commission] calls to action. They are calls to action. They aren’t recommendations, they are calls to action. That’s how we walk the path of reconciliation, we make sure that every single kid is brought home.”

Singh called for an end to the federal government’s legal battle against residential school survivors, and for action to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis, which Singh said disproportionally affects Indigenous communities.

He also called for a funding commitment for communities dealing with intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools.

“We've heard stories about how painful and how horrible that trauma is, because we need to support communities with healing with rehabilitation with supports, we need to invest in language, we need to make this right,” Singh said.

“I feel really inspired because Canadians agree that we need to make this right, and to do that it's going to require action.”

Singh said a main takeaway from his meeting with Casimir and council was that Indigenous communities have solutions ready, but they need to have adequate funding to provide services to their community.

“There was an overlying theme of the Indigenous community and leadership have a lot of the answers, they are on the ground, they know problems, and they have a lot of the solutions. They just need an ally, a partner that's working with them, not telling them what to do, but working in partnership, and I think that’s an important approach,” Singh said.

"It is to the benefit of all Canadians that we can work harmoniously in partnership with Indigenous communities, we can build a better future together.”

Bill Sundhu, NDP candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, attended the meeting with Singh, saying the country is at a “watershed moment” in terms of a commitment to truth, justice and reconciliation.

“This has been a real shocking reality recognition for many Canadians, even though Indigenous peoples have told us they always knew,” Sundhu said.

“We know that if we live the reality of our commitment to truth and justice, then we have to do the needful. And that means stand shoulder to shoulder with indigenous peoples to work towards truth of justice, to helping bringing those spirits to rest for those children, and the full realization of the rights and dignity of indigenous peoples.”

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