OTTAWA – Members of Parliament on all sides of the House of Commons voted Tuesday to extend a formal invitation to Pope Francis to apologize in person to Indigenous Peoples for decades of abuse meted out in residential schools across Canada.New Democrat MPs Charlie Angus and residential school survivor Romeo Saganash introduced the motion, which passed by a margin of 269-10. Cheers erupted for both MPs as they stood to vote; Angus held aloft a feather as his vote was acknowledged.“I’m very, very confident that Pope Francis will respond and I’m hopeful that the Catholic bishops in Canada will hear this message and say, ‘Yes, we have come to the table,” Angus told a news conference following the vote.Angus said he would “not lose any sleep” over the handful of MPs who voted against the motion, all of whom were Conservatives, and instead chose to focus on the “overwhelming response” from members of all political backgrounds.“This to me is an incredible outpouring of support and solidarity for the issues of reconciliation.”Among the 94 calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a request for an apology — to be delivered in Canada by the pontiff himself — for the church’s role in the residential school abuse of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children. An estimated 150,000 of children were forced to attend the schools, many of which were operated by the Roman Catholic Church.But in March, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that while the Pope acknowledged the commission’s findings and expressed regret for past wrongs, he “felt he could not personally respond.”The Pope’s decision pushed NDP MPs to launch the motion soon after, which also calls on the Catholic Church to pay money owed to residential school survivors and to turn over relevant documentation regarding the government-sponsored schools.The vote comes two weeks after Conservative MP Garnett Genuis opposed a bid for unanimous support for an earlier version of the motion, which urged the bishops to invite Pope Francis to apologize.Last month, the conference described reports of the Pope’s decision as “misinformation,” saying it was the role of Canadian bishops, not the pontiff, to work towards advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.Northwest Territories regional chief Bill Erasmus, who holds the portfolio for residential schools for the Assembly of First Nations, says having the Pope travel to Canada to deliver an in-person apology is a necessary step to right the wrongs of abuse.“Part of the reason people want an apology is to first of all have the church admit they did harm,” Erasmus said. “Then you can forgive them, you can actually accept the apology.”Erasmus said both his father and grandfather were residential school survivors, although his father did not live to see the Canadian government’s apology in 2008 for its role in running the schools.Still, hearing the Pope also accept responsibility and seek forgiveness would have made his father happy, Erasmus said.“It makes it real and it helps the healing — it helps to sort things out, so people can move forward and move on with their lives.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Genuis opposed unanimous support for the latest version of the motion.
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Harper government doesn’t appear prepared to move immediately on recommendations issued Wednesday morning by a national First Nation education panel created by Ottawa and the Assembly of First Nation to find fixes for the crumbling school system on reserves.The National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education called for immediate funding increases for First Nation education to coincide with the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.The $3.1 million panel, created last June, also recommended the creation of a First Nation education ministry in conjunction with new education legislation, to be introduced within the next 18 months, and the creation of regional education boards.Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, however, called the timelines issued by the panel’s report “aspirational” and wouldn’t say whether the federal government would be injecting new funds toward First Nation K to 12 education in the coming budget.“We are very much concentrated on jobs and the economy. The timelines in the report are indeed very tight,” Duncan told reporters on Parliament Hill. “Those timelines are aspirational. They are based on what they would like to see happen…We will do what we can.”Assembly of First Nations, National Chief Shawn Atleo, however, released a statement highlighting the tight timelines as the right response to the urgent need for change.“I thank the members of the panel for their effort and acknowledge the tight timeframe for this work to be completed,” said Atleo. “I am encouraged that this report acknowledges the urgency as well as the need to build First Nation education systems that respect First Nation rights and responsibilities.”The panel’s report, titled Nurturing the Learning Spirit of First Nation Students, is the result of months-long consultations across the country.The report calls on the federal government to increase funding for First Nations schools equal to the percentage increases for schools in their respective provinces. The report also recommends teachers working in First Nation schools receive pay equal to what their counterparts earn in provincial schools.Duncan, however, said money wasn’t the only thing the education system needed.“I am not going to speculate on the budget,” said Duncan. “Money can’t do everything, what we need is to change structures.”The structural changes called for by the panel’s report will cost money.In addition to calling for an immediate increase to education funding, the panel recommended the creation of a First Nation Education Commission to act as a ministry of education for reserve schools. The panel also recommended the creation of regional First Nation education organizations which would act like school boards.Increased funding was also top of mind for many of the people the panel met on their consultations across the country.“It was the single most frequently mentioned issue as we talked to people across the country,” said panel chair Scott Haldane, president of YMCA Canada. “We believe in order to close this gap there is going to need to be more money invested than the average investment in the provinces.”The NDP called on the Harper government to immediately begin implementing the panel’s recommendations.“The fact is the gap between delivery of education of First Nations and non-First Nations students has widened,” said NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Linda Duncan. “First Nations students should not be forced to wait any longer for their right to education to be honoured.”The Liberals issued the same call.“Any reform to First Nations education must put the child first and funding must be based on real, community needs,” said Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett. “The Harper government must implement the national panel’s urgent fiscal recommendations in the upcoming budget.”
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, NOVEMBER 7, 2013- Just a few months since his resignation from LIME, Drexwell Seymour is now announcing the opening of a HLB TCI, located at Regent Village, Grace Bay on Providenciales. The new accounting company sees a merging of minds with Bahamian Philip Galanis of HLB Galanis & Co. The firm will provide a wide range of financial services including Accounting, Auditing, Business valuation and Consulting Services. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:
Sapno Ki Pagdandi, refers to the path of dreams in English, which is exactly what this theatrical production tried to portray. It celebrated the dreams, desires and aspirations of children of Jagdamba Camp. Creative workshops and annual festivals offered a platform of creative learning and expression for the children.Held at Sri Aurobindo Society Campus, Adhchini , the performance was a part of the third annual creative arts festival of Pagdandi, Swechha’s non-formal learning programme for marginalised children. A total of 65 children in the age group of 6-18 years were a part of the musical production that was presented in three slots last weekend. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The shows were directed by master puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee’s Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust and mime and circus artist Andreas Ceska from Austria.The performance was marked by the use of elements of mime, circus arts and shadow puppetry. While the first day show was exclusively performed for the community (Jagdamba Camp), the other shows were open to all.The participating children had been learning the art of shadow puppetry, mime and circus arts for the past two months. Through these different art forms, a child’s world of dreams with butterflies, flowers, animals, friends, cars, planes and numerous other objects was beautifully presented. The show ended with a small percussion act by the kids using drumming and rhythmic instruments made from buckets, stones and waste bottles. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe campus was adorned with shimmering lights, stars, wings and huge colourful toffees. Outside the amphitheatre, there was also a huge installation of the children’s dreams using waste paper, flex and rice sack. The space also exhibited photographs clicked by the photography club initiated with adolescent girls, just out of school in Jagdamba camp.Swechha initiated Pagdandi in 2009 as an alternative non-formal space for the children of Jagdamba Camp, a slum community in Delhi. It caters to the learning needs of over a hundred children in the community. All the activities are conducted by volunteers, experts and Swechha staff.