Debates of the Senate  
  2nd Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 144, Issue 69.
    Thursday, June 12, 2008
Apology to Students of Indian Residential Schools
  Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I wish to echo my esteemed colleague, Senator Watt, in thanking all the honourable senators for the support that they have given me in the Senate, for their kindness and for their support for all of the work that went toward the historic apology yesterday.

Yesterday was a monumental day. I believe that the apology by the Prime Minister was heartfelt and sincere, as were the apologies from the leaders of all the parties. It was a very moving event.

I wish to accept the apology of the Prime Minister on behalf of my mother, who was a residential school survivor she is no longer alive and of her siblings. All of her family were subjected to the residential school experience. It is an experience which they never shared with us because I think they did not wish to make us feel bad, or because the experiences were so terrible that they were not able to speak about them. Nonetheless, I think we are moving forward in Canadian history.

I accept the apologies and I fully expect that all Canadians Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal accept the view that this is merely the first step, and that the words will translate into action such as outlined by my esteemed colleague, Senator Watt. One of those actions would be the signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Within the Senate chamber itself, we have had Bill C-292 on the Order Paper since May 6. It is a private member's bill, put forward by former Prime Minister, Paul Martin. It might not have weight behind it as a private member's bill but third reading is here. I would love to vote "yes" to that bill; I urge all senators to pass it. Whether it leads to something concrete or not, it provides an opportunity. I fully expect that we will deal with it at some point in the future. That is my expectation as I rise here in the chamber.