OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is Canada’s fault that 215 Indigenous children were buried in an unmarked, mass grave at a one-time residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

He says Canadians can’t close their eyes and pretend this didn’t happen; they must acknowledge that the country failed in its duty to those children, their families and their communities.

And he says they must recognize that last week’s grisly discovery in Kamloops is just part of a larger tragedy that saw many Indigenous children “disappear without trace” after being torn from their families and sent to residential schools across Canada.

Trudeau made the remarks in the House of Commons during a special “take-note” debate tonight on the tragedy.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the discovery is a stark reminder of a dark chapter in Canada’s history and he’s calling on all parties to support immediate implementation of six recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the documentation and commemoration of children who died at residential schools and protection of their gravesites.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and other New Democrats are calling on the government to admit the residential school policy amounted to genocide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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