FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Premier Brian Gallant in response to the release of the findings and call to action report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:

With deep gratitude, I wish to acknowledge the survivors of residential schools for the courage and bravery they have shown in sharing their personal stories with the commission and all of Canada.

I also thank Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, Chief Wilton Littlechild and all those involved with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for the tremendous work that has gone into this report.

The findings and call to action in this report are important steps in recognizing the wrongdoings of our past. There are periods in our history on which we look back with sadness and shame. The policy which saw aboriginal children being removed from their homes, families and communities to attend a residential school is one of those periods, and the trauma that resulted from these actions continues today.

As a government, we will take the necessary time to review the report and its recommendations, and will work to repair and rebuild the relationship with First Nations.

Our government will work collaboratively with First Nation communities to establish, develop and strengthen our relationship, and we will work with other levels of government and institutions to respond appropriately to this report.

We have been consistent in our support for a national inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. We are also working with our partners to end violence against aboriginal women and girls living in New Brunswick.

We are currently renewing the Enhanced Education and Service Agreements with our First Nation partners to improve outcomes for aboriginal learners. We also support the community-based Healing to Wellness Court in Elsipogtog First Nation as it incorporates First Nations practices and culture.

With the release of this report, it is my hope that the survivors and all those affected by the residential school system can begin to heal. May our response as a province contribute to the first step in the beginning of a new relationship between Canada and its aboriginal people.