CAROL HUGHES, NDP ABORIGINAL HEALTH CRITIC
OTTAWA - Victims of Residential Schools will no longer be able to turn to special services designed specifically to match their needs now that Health Canada is cutting the Resolution Health Support Program, according to NDP Aboriginal Health Critic, Carol Hughes.
The Resolution Health Support Program provided Cultural and emotional support as well as professional counselling and assisted with transportation when necessary.
Hughes was echoing the concerns of Justice Murray Sinclair, who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that these services are being terminated while there is still a strong need for them.
“The Conservatives are preparing to cut the program that provided mental health support to former students of Indian Residential Schools,” Said Hughes. This does nothing to support reconciliation.”
Hughes said the Prime Minister promised honest reconciliation as part of the historic 2008 Residential School Apology but has changed his tune and is now leaving individuals to fend for themselves.
The MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing notes that the need for special support services will persist despite the line in the sand drawn by Health Canada and feels the government owes it to survivors, especially those who testified at hearings, to ensure the support is available to match that need.
“How insensitive can the government be? It took great strength and courage for survivors to come forward and participate in Truth and Reconciliation hearings.’” said Hughes. “Will the government do the right thing, reverse their decision and maintain funding to the Resolution Health Support Program in order to meet the needs of survivors?"
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission wrapped up hearings over the weekend in Edmonton and is scheduled to report on its findings in 2015.