My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Love it or leave it! Peace.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Truth Commission: Ottawa interference? LaForme concerned.

"We have to make sure that our $58-million budget isn't eaten up and virtually clawed back by the government of Canada," he said.

Worry over Ottawa interference delays residential schools truth commission

TORONTO — The head of a commission set up to help exorcise the demons that haunt the aboriginal survivors of Canada's residential school system is warning that federal government control over spending and administration could threaten the integrity of his mandate.

In an interview, Justice Harry LaForme said political or bureaucratic interference could compromise his fledgling Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the concerns are delaying its startup.

The Ontario Court of Appeal justice said the panel cannot allow itself to be "shackled" by bureaucratic requirements, and that the commissioners, not government, must be able to decide how to spend their $58-million budget.

"It's an issue that's very important," LaForme told The Canadian Press.

"If we've got to answer for the mandate, then we've got to have control of the mandate."

LaForme said it came as "a surprise" to discover the feds had created a secretariat as a government department staffed by civil servants reporting to the minister of Indian Affairs, instead of allowing the commission to set up its own office.

The government is also insisting it appoint the secretariat's executive director as part of its desire to ensure financial accountability.

"There is the potential for this friction with our independence," LaForme said.

LaForme called it imperative the panel, set up June 1 as part of a $1.9-billion class-action settlement, not be seen as an arm of government. He noted that part of its five-year task is to encourage former students and others affected by the tragic legacy to share their experiences in a culturally appropriate and safe manner.


It isn't about financial accountability. Sounds to me like a good portion of the TRC money is already being spent, by the Government of Canada, on its own defense! Canada is the accused party to the court's orders. The TRC does NOT pay for Canada's role as a defendant. There's a very important distinction to be maintained here. 1) The TRC is a judicial body created by order of the court. It is independent of politics and political control. That's one budget line. 2) INAC represents Canada, the guilty defendant in a successful class action suit and thus a party to the legal proceedings, with a role in providing their information to the TRC on request, just like the churches, RCMP, etc., and that's from their own budget! To be clear ... The TRC budget does not pay for Canada's information and staffing needs related to Canada's obligations to fully disclose information to the TRC. That doesn't come from the TRC budget. That's INACanada ... but INAC is now unilaterally and systematically sucking back the TRC budget to fund its own obligations. This is outrageous. Email: I am glad Judge LaForme is asserting judicial independence. It is absolutely necessary. INAC is totally out of line, setting itself up to do its own work, by usurping the TRC budget!! g

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My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.