Ottawa foots the bill for travel to TRC gathering: Duncan

Opening provides chance for Ottawa to self-promote


Ottawa helped pay the cost of bringing hundreds of students and counsellors to Inuvik this week for the Truth and Reconciliation gathering there, John Duncan, the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, said June 28 in a statement.

Duncan, who attended the June 28 opening in Inuvik, said his department spent $400,000 to help 170 former students attend the event and also paid to bring other “key partners” to Inuvik.

Health Canada, whose minister is Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, spent another $400,000 to cover travel costs for former residential school students to Inuvik, he said.

Duncan also mentioned the presence of 120 trained health support workers there — “many of whom are aboriginal and former students themselves,” he said.

The TRC event also provided Duncan with an opportunity to list what his government has done for aboriginal people, such as finally endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and apologizing “on behalf of all Canadians “to Inuit communities for the suffering caused by the relocation of Inuit families to Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in the High Arctic in the 1950s.

“These gestures illustrate our commitment as a government and a nation to fostering a spirit of reconciliation between aboriginal people and all Canadians,” Duncan said.

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