Manitoba’s family minister says she’s deeply concerned about recent events and is committed to reconciliation after her government’s new native reconciliation minister came under fire for comments about housing schools.
Rochelle Squires said that as a Canadian and Provincial Secretary of State – and also a person whose granddaughter is a native – she deeply cares about reconciliation.
“I want nothing more than for my grandson and all the natives to live in a country brave enough to accept the awful truth of what happened and commit to doing better,” she said in a statement to CBC. News.
“That is why I am deeply concerned about recent events and comments. I take the time to reflect, listen to the dialogue and better understand my own responsibility to reconciliation.”
Minutes after he was sworn in as the province’s new minister for initial reconciliation and northern relations Thursday, Alan Lagimodiere said those who ran housing schools thought “they were doing the right thing.”
Prime Minister Brian Pallister has also been under fire last week for suggesting that the colonization of Canada was carried out with good intentions. Lagimodiere’s predecessor, Agassiz MLA Eileen Clarke, resigned from the cabinet after Pallister’s comments.
The premiere stuck to his comments Thursday, saying he paid tribute to Canadians and builders before Canada.
At a news conference Friday morning, Mental Health Minister Audrey Gordon said she supported the Prime Minister and Lagimodiere, saying the latter’s comments on housing schools were “not what he intended to convey.”
She said she also respects NDP leader Wab Kinew, who immediately and publicly confronted Lagimodiere about his remarks.
“I feel that individuals should always have the opportunity to speak what is in their heart, and I feel that he did,” she said.
After this confrontation, another member of the PC caucus in Manitoba, McPhillips MLA Shannon Martin, tweeted that there should be no confusion about the legacy of residential schools.