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Photos for December 2015

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, chat with BGen General Guy Chapdelaine, the Roman Catholic Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, at the National Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa Nov. 11.  Trudeau says he will seek a formal apology from Pope Francis for the Catholic Church’s role in Indian Residential Schools in Canada.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is flanked by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, left, and Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould as they arrive for the release Dec. 15 of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission members Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Justice Murray Sinclair (chair), and Dr. Marie Wilson unveil their final report in Ottawa before hundreds of people, including residential school survivors, church representatives and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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The volumes of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission lay on top of the Bentwood Box, a lasting tribute to all Indian Residential School survivors. The box traveled with the TRC to all of its national events throughout Canada. It reflects the strength and resilience of residential school survivors and their descendants, and honours those survivors who are no longer living.

IMG_5786Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), pauses for a moment as he places his hands on the final report of the TRC in Ottawa Dec. 15, the publication of which closes the Commission’s six-year mandate.

IMG_5817Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restates his commitment to renew the federal government’s relationship with Canada’s indigenous people. Drawing loud applause and cheers, Trudeau adds, “I give you my word that we will renew and respect that relationship.”

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The hundreds of people who attend the release of the final report of the TRC Dec. 15 give a standing ovation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The PM restates his commitment to renew the federal government’s relationship with Canada’s indigenous people.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for photo with TRC Commissioners, Justice Murray Sinclair, right, and Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson after being presented with a digital copy of the TRC’s final report.

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Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, assures Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the government in keeping its promise of a new relationship with Canada’s indigenous people.

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“The truth that we have in the volumes of the (TRC) final report and the truth that has been told over the course of this entire process should change us,” says Natan Obed, the new president of the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). “It should reach our heart. It should affect us not just today, but throughout the entirety of our lives.”

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Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, chair of the committee of Catholic entities that ran residential schools, says the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals in Canada is going to take a long time.

IMG_5913Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, chair of the committee of Catholic entities that ran residential schools, poses for a photo with TRC Commissioners Justice Murray Sinclair, right, and Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson, after being presented with a digital copy of the TRC’s final report.

IMG_5889Almost 30 years ago the United Church of Canada “accepted responsibility for its active role in this history, and for our false assumptions of cultural and spiritual superiority,” says the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, Moderator of the United Church of Canada. “We are still not where we need to be and so, we commit ourselves anew to the difficult and transformative work of healing and reconciliation.”

IMG_5961The Rev. Karen R. Horst, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, says her church is committed to walking with Aboriginal people on the journey to reconciliation. In 1994 the church acknowledged its role in the Indian Residential Schools legacy.

IMG_5969Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC presents the Rev. Karen R. Horst, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, with a digital copy of the TRC’s final report. With them are Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson, the two other TRC commissioners.

hiltz3Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, thanks the TRC Commissioners for calling the government and the churches to account for their participation in “an arrogant and flawed policy of assimilation to address the so-called ‘Indian problem’ and for every form of abuse experienced by survivors from those schools.”

sinclair2The six-years of work have taken their toll on families of the TRC Commissioners. “I have a wife and a family who need me and whose love and support have carried me to this point,” says Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC, his voice breaking. “They have supported me in this work but at great loss to the relationships we could have had and which we will now try to recapture.”

sinclairThe day before the final report of the TRC commission was released, the Ottawa-based national think bank, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute names TRC chair Justice Murray Sinclair “Policy-Maker of the Year” for 2015.

hiltz4Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, was among a group robbed at gunpoint Nov. 23 following a visit to a small Anglican church in Belém, Brazil, the Anglican Journal reported Dec. 3. He and his principal secretary, Archdeacon Paul Fehely, were in a car after their visit when young gunmen robbed them of their wallets and phones, and took watches and rings from their hands. The robbers managed to get Hiltz’s bishop’s ring but not his wedding ring. “Yes, I lost my watch; I lost my wallet; I lost a ring; some folks lost phones. But you know, we all could have been shot,’ ” Hiltz told the Journal. “[And] we’re going to get on a plane and fly away, and these people— this is what they live with.” He said the incident helped him “understand even more why the church needs to be present in that community, to bring a sense of hope and calm in the midst of just a lot of chaos.”

ambroseThe Speech from the Throne continues the Liberals’ “spending spree” but ignores farmers and turns the new government’s back on the threat of Islamic State terror, says Rona Ambrose, the Leader of the Official Opposition. “At a time when our allies around the world are stepping up their fight against ISIS, Canada is stepping back,” Ambrose said in a news release following the speech Dec. 4. In his statement on the speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “This plan was developed by listening to Canadians. It reflects their priorities, interests, and ambitions.”

IMG_5393The 31st edition of the ‘Christmas Lights Across Canada’ program was launched Dec. 2 at an official illumination ceremony on Parliament Hill that included a 13-minute multimedia show that cost $350,000. The show features a musical soundtrack and a quest for light by the main characters – a bear, a fox and a snowman. The show plays continuously each evening until Jan. 7, and will be reprised in the annual program in the following two years.

belanger3Ottawa-area Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, seen here with his wife, Catherine, announced Nov. 30 that he has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The popular MP dropped out of the race to become the new Speaker of the House of Commons and says he will chronicle his ordeal so Canadians can learn more about the disease and the medical search for a cure. On his Twitter account to Belanger, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote, “My thoughts are with you my friend. Stay strong. We will always have your back.” The average life expectancy for those with ALS is 2-5 years.