Know the truth, make amends – Erna Paris

Erna Paris on the need to face our history of residential schools and ‘cultural genocide,’ with some interesting contrasts with other countries who have (e.g., Germany, France), or have not (e.g., Japan, USA) faced up to their past:

A new challenge for Canadians will be to acknowledge the endemic disconnect between our myths and our reality. We view ourselves as a tolerant society that values diversity, but what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made clear is that we could believe this only because we excluded native peoples from the picture.

One key to reconciliation will be the rejection of all forms of coercive assimilation. For example, the Quebec Charter of Values, with its discriminatory rules about religious dress codes, was a throwback to attitudes that have historically produced ideas of lesser peoples.

The TRC has shown us where that leads.

The past can never be overcome. It can only be managed. With accountability on the part of lawmakers. With memorials to the victims. And with a major effort to pursue justice – however difficult that may be.

Know the truth, make amends – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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