sábado, junho 14, 2008

Truth? Reconciliation? Who knows I wonder?

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Up, Down.

Stephen Harper & Phil Fontaine do a dance of seven veils & vielles around long evacuated & abandoned Residential Schools.

That's a lie that it is this size!

I swear! It's this big when it's soft!

Bee Gees, Words, 1998 (?).

Smile an everlasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me.
Don't ever let me find you down, cause that would bring a tear to me.
This world has lost it's glory, lets start a brand new story now, my love.
Right now, ther'll be no other time and I can show you how, my love.

Talk in everlasting words, and dedicate them all to me.
And I will give you all my life, Im here if you should call to me.
You think that I don't even mean a single word I say.
Its only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.

Wednesday, June 11 - Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools by Stephen Harper.

YouTube Link Part 1, YouTube Link Part 2, Transcript.

Wednesday, June 11 - National Chief Phil Fontaine - Response to Formal Apology.

YouTube Link, Transcript.

Here's the link to Hansard.

Thursday June 12 - Globe Editorial, Statement of Apology, Canada's expression of sorrow.
Friday June 13 - Issues of apology and power, Rick Salutin.
Saturday June 14 - The day the House stood still, Rex Murphy.
Thursday June 12 - Whose truth? What reconciliation? Margaret Wente.
Friday June 13 - Globe Salon, When is an apology not enough? or too much?.

Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools (Hansard), Wednesday, June 11, 2008.

[in english & some french, sorta simultaneous more-or-less]

Mr. Speaker, before I begin officially, let me just take a moment to acknowledge the role of certain colleagues here in the House of Commons in today's events. Although the responsibility for the apology is ultimately mine alone, there are several of my colleagues who do deserve the credit.

First of all, for their hard work and professionalism, I want to thank both the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and his predecessor, now the Minister of Industry. Both of these gentlemen have been strong and passionate advocates not just of today's action, but also of the historic Indian residential schools settlement that our government has signed.

Second, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my former colleague from Cariboo--Chilcotin, Philip Mayfield, who for a very long time was a determined voice in our caucus for meaningful action on this sad episode of our history.

Last, but certainly not least, I do want to thank my colleague, the leader of the New Democratic Party. For the past year and a half, he has spoken to me with regularity and great conviction on the need for this apology. His advice, given across party lines and in confidence, has been persuasive and has been greatly appreciated.

Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools. The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. For over a century the residential schools separated over 150,000 Native children from their families and communities.

In the 1870s, the federal government, partly in order to meet its obligation to educate aboriginal children, began to play a role in the development and administration of these schools. Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their home, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.

These objectives were based on the assumption that aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child." Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.

One hundred thirty-two federally supported schools financed by the federal government were located in all provinces and territories with the exception of Newfoundland, New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Most schools were operated as "joint ventures" with Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United Churches. The government of Canada built an educational system in which very young children were often forcibly removed from their homes, often taken far from their communities. Many were inadequately fed, clothed and housed. All were deprived of the care and nurturing of their parents, grandparents and communities. First Nations, Inuit and Metis languages and cultural practices were prohibited in these schools. Tragically, some of these children died while attending residential schools and others never returned home.

The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage, and language. While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities.

The legacy of Indian residential schools has contributed to social problems that continue to exist in many communities today. It has taken extraordinary courage for the thousands of survivors that have come forward to speak publicly about the abuse they suffered. It is a testament to their resilience as individuals and to the strengths of their cultures. Regrettably, many former students are not with us today and died never having received a full apology from the government of Canada.

The government recognizes that the absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation. Therefore, on behalf of the government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you in this chamber so vital so central to our life as a country, to apologize to aboriginal peoples for Canada's role in the Indian residential schools system. To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions, that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that far too often these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you. Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry.

The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden of this experience is properly ours as a government, and as a country. There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever prevail again. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey. The government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.

We are sorry. In moving towards healing, reconciliation and resolution of the sad legacy of Indian residential schools, the implementation of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement began on September 19, 2007. Years of work by survivors, communities, and aboriginal organizations culminated in an agreement that gives us a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward together in partnership. A cornerstone of the settlement agreement is the Indian residential schools Truth and reconciliation commission. This commission presents a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians on the Indian residential schools system.

It will be a positive step in forging a new relationship between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians, a relationship based on the knowledge of our shared history, a respect for each other and a desire to move forward with a renewed understanding that strong families, strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a stronger Canada for all of us.

God bless all of you. God bless our land.

Globe Editorial, Statement of Apology, Canada's expression of sorrow, Thursday June 12, 2008.

Even in the context of the culture of contrition in which we live, yesterday's Statement of Apology to aboriginals over the tragedy and shame of residential schools marked a historic moment for Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid bare what was long denied, the ugly facts of the residential schools system, and apologized sincerely and repeatedly for the federal government's role in the disgrace. "We recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country," said Mr. Harper. It was not easy for any Canadian to watch, least of all those aboriginal Canadians whose lives were sacrificed or ruined, and whose families and communities were corrupted. But Mr. Harper's statement was a sincere and necessary repudiation of assimilationist policies of the past. More than that, it served to impose an obligation on Canadians for the future.

Canada's culpability of course did not only involve the prosecution of a supremacist government policy that, masked in benevolent pretensions, sought to eradicate languages, cultures and traditions. Just as the government used its authority to prey on weaker communities, so too did some of those tasked with implementing that policy prey on the weakness and vulnerability of the children in their care. The resulting abuse - emotional, physical and sexual - made flesh the brutality of the government policy. It is important that Mr. Harper directed his expressions of sorrow not only generally, for the abstract policy, but also to the unintended consequences caused to so many young lives. As the Prime Minister said, "we apologize for failing to protect you."

In a reference presumably to the flaccid expression of "profound regret" made by Indian Affairs minister Jane Stewart ten years ago, a gesture that was seen by some aboriginal people to be grudging, Mr. Harper acknowledged that the "absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation." Even yesterday, after listening to Mr. Harper, there were those who expressed dissatisfaction. There are aboriginal people for whom any apology, no matter how abject, is unlikely to be enough. They are not the only critics. There also remain those Canadians who object to an apology, and to the more than $1-billion in settlement money paid out and the reconciliation commission that will follow. They ask why people now should be called to account for wrongs committed by previous generations. But those wrongs were committed in the name of the Crown, which undertook to protect the native peoples of Canada; the Crown's honour was at stake, and it had a duty to set matters right. It has now persuasively done so.

In the process, however, it has raised expectations. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine said the apology signalled a "new dawn" in the relationship between aboriginal people and the rest of Canada. No longer mired in the sins of the past, Canadians and their government must turn their attentions to the sins of the present; to ending entrenched systems of dependency, Third World living conditions, and to the settlement of unresolved land claims. And in turn, native communities should commit to ending the paternalism of aboriginal elites, improving accountability, and avoiding provocations such as illegal occupations and road blockades. In many respects, the process of reconciliation has only just begun.

Commentary, Issues of apology and power, Rick Salutin, Friday June 13, 2008.

'It's a weird thing. I was more impressed with [the school survivors'] power to overcome than feeling sorry," said New York Islanders coach Ted Nolan after Wednesday's apology for residential schools. That rings true to me. I don't think sincerity was the issue, though there was much stress on it. When it comes to public apologies, it's less a question of sincerity than it is, as the Ojibwa coach from northern Ontario said, of power.

For one thing, even sincerity is cheap, compared, say, to the $5-billon cost of the Kelowna Accord with aboriginals, which the apologetic Stephen Harper tore up, or to accelerating the glacial land-claims process.

But the real peril in public apology is that it can disempower those who get one while, in effect, adding strength to the apologizers by granting them the power to "heal." It can reinforce the victor/victim roles. I'm not saying there shouldn't be apologies, there should. But too much apology can be counterproductive, substituting mere sympathy or pity for real respect between equals - which must be established by deeds, not just declared. An apology takes two sides, apologizers and apologizees; what counts is the power relations between them, and the sense of self that each has. In this case, any feeling of equality is still tenuous.

There was, for instance, a smug sense on the part of some apologizers that It's all about us. CTV's Dan Matheson asked Mike Duffy, "Do you think we are ready as a people to say we are guilty?"

"Oh, I think we are, Dan," cogitated Duff. There was an odd, cheerleading air to Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, like a coach before the big game: "It's going to be a great apology because we've done a lot of consulting." This works if it's all about your side, the apologizers.

It's harder for the apologizees to get pumped because they're located as victims. Only after fully overcoming their victimhood would the interchange gain some balance.

Compare other cases of public apology. When people apologized at South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation hearings, apartheid had already been dismantled by the very folks receiving the apologies. The anti-apartheid forces had won, and won respect. When Germany apologized to Jews for the Holocaust, the state of Israel had been created. Jews and others perceived it in terms of self-assertion and equality. Had there been no Israel, Germany would have apologized, but without the same sense of parity.

Poet Milton Acorn once told poet Irving Layton to remember that "fight" also rhymes with "plight" when looking for a word to go with "write," in a poem about injustice. Milt always preferred fight over plight. Union leader Kent Rowley was sometimes reluctant to take workers' complaints of abuse to labour or rights tribunals because he didn't want to bolster any feelings they had of inadequacy, but rather to build up a sense of their own strength.

In this light, the best part of Wednesday's apology was the fight for the natives' right to be on the floor of the House, and speak. The government resisted till the last minute, but the natives won. Without that, it would have been one-sidedly focused on the words of the apologizers. Of course, it's all been one long battle. A former school resident scoffed, "They never moved an inch till the lawsuits started." Good (power) point.

As for individual healing, it doesn't come from an apology. Some people, deprived of family, seemed to inexplicably, heroically parent themselves into adulthood. Some made it with aid from their community. And some simply didn't. "I'm not very impressed," said another ex-resident. "I put in eight years in that dump. ... My life was destroyed and there's no way they can fix it." That has an oddly unvictim-like sound, as if she's on the way now, no thanks to their apology. Maybe when she's in better shape, she can take it in.

Commentary, The day the House stood still, Rex Murphy, Saturday June 14, 2008.

Commentator with The National and host of CBC Radio's Cross-Country Checkup

It is not often we give our politicians the benefit of the doubt, and for good reason. On many of the major issues of the day most of them have all the conviction of a windsock.

When they are forced to declare themselves on a contentious matter, mostly they slip and slide all over the place, more intent in finding a bolthole while the storm rages, than stating their conviction. Every speech of high principle has its built-in escape hatch.

We don't give them the benefit of the doubt because they are so damn slippery. But if we were to look for a break from the pattern, this week's Day of Apology in the House of Commons has, I think, supplied it. It was a remarkable day. Almost without exception, the party leaders dropped their rote partisan masks, looked and sounded like honest people trying to find clean words to address a profound issue. For once, they weren't playing to the bleachers.

The Prime Minister, for example, found a tone persuasive in its plain directness and tuned with a kind of grave charm entirely consonant with the historic nature of the moment. The speech was stripped of that jagged, sullen thrust that colours so many of his other, more normal, performances. He did not wound the moment with even a sliver of captiousness or petty point-scoring. His easy generosity in acknowledging Jack Layton's large role in bringing Wednesday's ceremony (for the afternoon was very much a ceremony) to pass was a display of courtesy and style. It is a real mystery why angry Stephen Harper so often outpaces the rest and better part of his nature. Wednesday he caught up with himself. He voiced the weight of the afternoon and the solemnity of its difficult theme: Canada's enduringly painful and abrasive relationship with its aboriginal peoples.

Stéphane Dion, as many have noted, declared with unremitting candour the Liberal Party's large defaults in that relationship over so many years when it, as was the Canadian norm, was government. Mr. Dion is no good at the Punch and Judy shadow-boxing of Question Period. It isn't him. He is at his best speaking his convictions, which, quite eminently, on Wednesday he was.

Jack Layton, too, shook away much of the stark stock rhetoric of the NDP, left off being just the leader of a faction in the Commons, and became the personification of dignified empathy. And it was he, we learn from press reports, who more than any other (together with Chuck Strahl and Jim Prentice) was instrumental in bringing the native leadership within the circle of the House itself. That choice was the key to the emotional tone of the entire event.

For without the aboriginal leadership present in the Commons, "in this chamber so central to our life as a country (Mr. Harper's words)," we would not have had Chief Phil Fontaine in full ceremonial headdress deliver the central speech of the day, and deliver it in such potent proximity to the Prime Minister and the entire membership of the House.

Never discount the energy and communicative power of symbolism and ceremony. Chief Fontaine's speech was a power in itself, the best of the day. It was simultaneously unsparing and generous, no gloss over past injury but no embedded sense of grievance going forward. Wearing the appurtenances of his office, standing in that chamber, in the company of other aboriginal leaders - drawing out the victory of the moment as he saw it, a victory of understanding and respect - he embodied the occasion.

His was the charismatic presence that charged the entire afternoon and made it so much more than perhaps so many were even willing to hope it could be. The past weighed heavily in his speech; he said correctly that injuries done to native people "impoverished the character" of our country. Thus he expanded what is still unfortunately called the "native issue" and placed it correctly in the broader, common sphere of its impact on all Canadians. He is right. It does impoverish the character of our country.

The drive of his speech, however, was toward the future. He spoke of respect as "liberating" the relationship between aboriginals and the rest of us.

That is a future proposition. And when he caught the essence of the day by saying the apology "is founded upon, more than anything else, the recognition that we all own our own lives and destinies," it was an arrow pointing away from echoes of a past and stagnant victimhood, and toward a dynamic tomorrow. The leaders who followed Chief Fontaine, also often speaking, as it were, face to face with the Prime Minister, gave great charge to the themes of the day.

But it is worth the underline to note that the day of apology called from our sometimes all too predictable politicians a better version of themselves, gave them words and substance that may bring a hopeful new energy into play. For once, then, yes, they have the benefit of every doubt.

Commentary, Whose truth? What reconciliation? Margaret Wente, Thursday June 12, 2008.

Of all the groups who deserve a government apology, the people who passed through Canada's residential schools are by far the largest and most important. The schools inflicted misery and cruelty on thousands of defenceless children. As a social policy, they didn't work, and their objectives were overtly racist. Conceived in an age when cultural imperialism prevailed throughout the British Empire, they forcibly removed children from their families so as to keep them "within the circle of civilized conditions" and "away from the influence of the wigwam." Some were a magnet for sadists and child molesters.

That is the most essential truth about the residential schools. Yet it's not the whole truth. Richard Wagamese's mother recalls her own experience with gratitude. Last month in the Ottawa Citizen, he wrote, "I've heard people credit residential schools with the foundation for learning that allowed them to pursue successful academic careers. Others tell of being introduced to skills that became lifelong careers, and still others, like my mother, talk of being introduced to a faith that guided the rest of their lives."

The hope is that yesterday's apology will be a giant step toward truth and reconciliation. But truth, in the contested history of aboriginal and settler relations, is a slippery substance. And even as aboriginal fortunes slowly improve, the "truth" has increasingly been cast in the most extreme terms. The schools are widely accused of "cultural genocide," and the former students are always called "survivors." Some activists call what happened there another Holocaust. The most militant of these is Kevin Annett, a defrocked United Church minister who claims that 50,000 children died of neglect or abuse in the schools. Without the slightest shred of evidence, he paints a lurid picture of secret mass graves and little bodies shovelled into furnaces for incineration.

Yet, proportion matters. If everything is a Holocaust, then nothing is. Residential schools weren't gas ovens, authorities of the day weren't Nazis. Their official goal, assimilation, was not the same as mass murder. No survivors of a genuine holocaust ever express gratitude for the experience.

Now a five-year, $60-million Truth and Reconciliation Commission will crisscross the country to elicit more horror stories, with gavel-to-gavel coverage by the CBC. Will it find room for proportion? I'm not optimistic. The narrative of oppression, guilt and victimhood that dominates aboriginal issues does not allow for complexity or shades of grey.

The residential schools have now become the Original Trauma, inflicting a legacy of dysfunction down through the generations. Even the grandchildren of survivors trace their problems back to the schools. It is unacceptable to introduce another truth, which is that some children escaped even worse abuse at home, as well as tuberculosis, lice, malnutrition, desperate poverty, and illiteracy.

Understandably, the failure of the residential schools made "assimilation" a dirty word. But the backlash led to a different dead end - the idealization of a pre-colonial past, where people lived in harmony with nature, and gender equality prevailed. If only they can recapture the wisdom of the ancestors, wounded communities will be healed.

Such a focus on the past brings other problems. As Leon Wieseltier, the distinguished Jewish-American man of letters, warns the message minority groups too often get is, "Don't be fooled ... there is only repression."

In her superb book The Uses and Abuses of History, Margaret MacMillan writes: "Dwelling on past horrors such as the Holocaust or slavery can leave people without the resources to deal with problems in the here and now."

Canada has spent billions on truth and reconciliation. We've had a royal commission ($58-million), a residential-schools settlement (around $1.9-billion), a healing fund ($350-million), and now a Truth and Reconciliation Commission ($60-million). By far the biggest winners have been the plaintiff lawyers, some of whom are multimillionaires. What could that money have bought if we'd paid it forward instead of back? What would it have bought in teachers, nurses, training, skills, investment in the next generation, and hope? Yesterday's apology was necessary and overdue. If only we could move on.

Globe Salon, When is an apology not enough? or too much?, Friday June 13, 2008.

Hello, I'm Patrick Martin, Comment Editor of The Globe and Mail, and This is Globe Salon.

Today, we welcome readers to a new feature on globeandmail.com: Whenever major news developments or burning issues arise, we have gathered an impressive list of commentators to join us in discussion, salon-style — as if we've invited these people into our living room to discuss pivotal events.

There are about two dozen "salonistas" and you can read the lineup and see their biographies and pictures below.

Not all of them will join us every time. Today, we'll be joined by historian Margaret MacMillan, now at St. Antony's College at Oxford; by pollster and author Michael Adams; CAW economist and new author Jim Stanford; Christian broadcaster Lorna Dueck; former PQ cabinet minister Joseph Facal; Michael Higgins, president of St Thomas University in Fredericton and noted scholar on the Vatican; former chief of staff to Brian Mulroney and former ambassador Norman Spector: author William Johnson, a past president of Alliance Quebec; Halifax lawyer and former Trudeau adviser Brian Flemming; Nobel laureate and science advocate John Polanyi; Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee and more.

This is not a comprehensive gathering representative of absolutely all Canadians, but our own subjective selection of people we believe our readers would like to hear from. We will learn and adjust as we go on, for this is a new experience for all of us.

But today, our topic is the Prime Minister's apology yesterday, on behalf of all Canadians, to aboriginal Canadians.

Yesterday, we asked our salonistas to view Stephen Harper's speech and tell us:

What do you think of this apology? Is it as "historic" as some people say?

What do think of apologies in general? In other countries? What do they achieve?

Is this part of a national trend to reasonable accommodation v. assimilation? Is this a good thing?

Is there a place for assimilation?

Editor's Note: In keeping with the nature of this discussion, we will be fully moderating reader comments to ensure the highest level of debate. We will be strictly enforcing our written guidelines on comments. Please "Join the Conversation" but please do so in the spirit we hope to create for the GlobeSalon.

Now, we'll hear their responses. The debate will continue throughout the day. Please check back frequently for the latest updates.

First to Margaret MacMillan in Oxford, who's had a few hours headstart on the rest of us:

Margaret MacMillan: Patrick, I had a chance to watch the prime minister's apology for the residential schools and the subsequent speeches. I wish I were in Canada to take part in a moving moment in Canadian history. I hope, as I am sure almost all Canadians do, that as a society we can collectively start to tackle the problems that so many aboriginal communities face.

But, please, let the apology not become an icon, something that we pull out from time to time and admire and then put away again. Let it not be something that makes us feel good about ourselves so that we can avoid thinking about the things that should shame us.

Apologies are a fashion today, and on the whole a good one. This past February, the Australian government finally said sorry for the decades-long practice of seizing its Aboriginal children from their families and giving them to white families to be brought up "white."

Apologies are good both for those who are admitting their past sins and those who receive them. Accepting the past, as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission showed, is an important step towards moving into the future. But words are cheap if they are not preceded by serious thought and followed by serious action.

What did it really do when Tony Blair apologized for the Irish potato famine? Or when the descendant of the notorious Elizabethan Sir John Hawkins apologized for slavery? Are such apologies anything more than easy sentimentality? And what do apologies mean when they are not accompanied by any significant acts of restitution? Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said "sorry," but significantly did not explain what his government was going to do about the lot of present-day Aboriginals.

What is Canada going to do for today's Aboriginals? I am still waiting to know. I don't want to think that dwelling on the past a way of avoiding dealing with the present.

Patrick Martin: Lorna Dueck joins us from Burlington, Ont.

Lorna Dueck: I was in the House yesterday and I can tell you all the senses were engaged for the process of apology. I first noticed that the sombre House was dominated by drums. An interesting technique which First Nations used to fully alert our spirits to the occasion. Aboriginal people explain the sound is symbolic of a heartbeat for their people — the beating heart of nationhood, the beating heart of the Creator, a mother's heartbeat. The sound has several interpretations but it is always a tone calling out to the spirit and it's sound was repetitive all through yesterday's ceremony.

The sight of survivors of the Indian Residential Schools wiping away tears, the aroma of sweetgrass wafting in symbolism to cleanse negative thoughts, the touch of many in embrace. It was a day like no other in Ottawa and I think it was deeply historic for it returned our nation to the path of truth.

We faced the truth that we grossly violated basic human dignity. We faced the truth that we were wrong and destructive in our approach to First Nation Canadians and we are sorry. Among the repentant were church leaders of all the denominations who had been agents for the schools. When the final "I'm sorry" was issued in the House, aboriginal leaders took over the agenda and responded. Despite all the spiritual abuse of the past, their reply was still spiritual, and it modeled that for respect and honour to be restored, we need to build on something very different than physical solutions.

These are issues of the heart, and time will tell if we have the richness of spirit to overcome the estrangement that our faulty policies launched. This apology is the first step forward to that future.

Patrick Martin: Now to Jim Stanford in Toronto:

Jim Stanford: Yesterday's solemn event in the Commons invoked in me a sense of awe and gratitude for the human will to survive, more than pity for the victims of this horrific experiment in white-supremacist social engineering.

Because against all the odds, Aboriginal Canadians have survived. Their culture, their language, their fighting spirit, and their pride are still here, a century and a half after the government first tried to systematically wipe them out — by "killing the Indian in the child" through kidnapping, indoctrination, and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Yes, they've paid an immense price (and hundreds of thousands continue to suffer from those crimes every day). But they're still here, and that's something to celebrate.

And they'll need that fighting spirit and will to survive to move to the next step in their struggle for full equity and participation. Because it's clear that the Harper government won't move beyond this apology (which was historically important, whatever Prime Minister Harper's political motives and calculations in agreeing to make it) unless it is forced by the sheer might of political pressure.

Indeed, the elephant in the room yesterday was the glaring contradiction between the apology's stirring and sincere words, with the reality of continuing Conservative policy — ripping up the Kelowna Accord, rejecting the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples (one of only four countries in the world to do so), withholding the resources we need to address First Nations poverty. Unless and until that changes, white society will have a lot more to apologize for down the road.

Patrick Martin: Now, from Michael Higgins in Fredericton.

Michael Higgins: Apologies by institutions or sovereign powers can have the ring of inauthenticity about them. They may be more the result of expert strategy than genuine remorse, more the result of political expediency than moral necessity.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau was not inclined to issue apologies over past mistakes. The Japanese-Canadian community would have to wait for Brian Mulroney for satisfaction. Mr. Trudeau had his reasons — the dangers inherent in assuming moral culpability for past errors, the pitfalls of revisionism, etc. — and although not insensitive to the consequences of bad policies, he preferred other courts of redress to public apologies.

Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, it is reliably alleged, had some serious reservations over his predecessor's grand millennial ceremony of confession, reparation, and penance acknowledging historic failures of the church. His reasons were not entirely unlike Trudeau's.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apology to the aboriginal peoples of Canada is different in kind and impact. The full recognition of the egregious indignities inflicted upon our aboriginal peoples has been long in coming, regularly resisted through all manner of subterfuge, intrigue, manipulation, and empty professions of solicitous oversight.

Content is critical but the tone just as essential in persuading the citizens of Canada that our Prime Minister is sincere in his apology, that he speaks for us all, that for all the evasions and politicking that preceded yesterday's event, the PM spoke from a text that was far from bloodless.

An apology, in the end, to effectively work its power is more than compensation and calculation, more than a conversion of mind. It is a conversion of heart — national heart. Stephen Harper did not disappoint.

Patrick Martin: What does Joseph Facal, in Montreal, think about that?

Joseph Facal: By expressing what looked and sounded like a sincere and profound apology, Mr. Harper went beyond the "profound regrets" offered 10 years ago by Jean Chrétien's government. It was the right thing to do. Politics being what it is, other political leaders had to follow through.

Among the many fundamental questions this raises, one troubles me particularly. Western liberal societies (and only these) now live in a permanent culture of guilt, contrition and victimhood. Canada, with its long standing image of itself as a self-righteous model for the rest of the world, is at the forefront of this.

This apology comes after the ones to Canadians of Chinese descent and to Maher Arar. Others are waiting in line. Of course, many past injustices have been buried and will remain so: How many Canadians know what happened in 1871, 1896, 1905, 1912 ? (Want a clue? Yup, it had to do with linguistic rights and cultural assimilation). Granted, not many groups had such a powerful and compelling case to put forward as aboriginals.

But how are we to determine how to deal with future claims? On the ad-hoc basis of public emotion and political expediency? Or by setting up cumbersome public inquiries each time, which will obviously highlight all the wrongs and little of the good, incapable of not looking at the past through today's moral eyeglasses? There is probably no way to establish an objective hierarchy of deserving sufferers though we know deep down in ourselves that there is one. Frankly, I don't know the answer. One thing I do know for sure: Lawyers are already licking their chops.

Michael Adams: In 1998, when Environics last asked the Canadian public about an apology to aboriginal people for those who had been victims of the residential schools system, (after a message delivered on behalf of the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien by Jane Stewart the minister of Indian and Northern Affairs) the large majority, 69 per cent, agreed with the government's move. About 24 per cent did not. Ten years later and an apology delivered by our Prime Minister, I believe it will attract almost universal support.

In 1998, Phil Fontaine called the government's action and "an historic step." The same man said much the same yesterday.

Canadian aboriginal peoples have been and still are the victims of colonialism and racism. The values of those whose ancestors or surrogates forcibly took this land from the ancestors of today's aboriginals are a mix of ignorance, guilt, and racism and idealism.

We — I mean non-aboriginals — don't even know what to call these people: Are they Indians, are they aboriginals, are they indigenous peoples, are they First Nations, Métis, Eskimos, Inuit? Are they Canadians? Should we respect them or pity them? How many of them are there anyway? Has anybody ever seen or heard a good news story about Canada's aboriginal people? Is the news really only bad? Can anybody name aboriginal heroes or icons? Who is their Obama? Who is their Oprah? Their Colin Powell, their Bill Cosby? Their 50 Cent?

Has anybody ever talked to an aboriginal person? Do you drop a loonie in the cup of the guy in front of your local Tim Hortons or do you pass by hoping he would just go back to the reserve or somehow disappear?

Residential schools: oh you mean a few Indian kids were sexually abused by a bunch of frustrated Catholic priests who should have been married in the first place. Two obviously predictable tragedies rolled into one. Makes perfect sense to me.

I don't know the answer to many of these questions but I can tell you I'm determined to find some of the answers. About a year ago, I instigated a project to report the voices of our urban aboriginal people living in one of our 10 big cities across Canada, and to take to a sampling of those 7,000 plus young aboriginal people who have won scholarships from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and to dig deeper into the public opinions, attitudes and values of ordinary Canadians.

Our great national project is finding a way for people of diverse backgrounds to somehow get along with each other: French and English, Catholic and Protestant, immigrants from Christian (or post-Christian) Europe and those from another 130-plus non-Christian, non-European countries somehow peaceably, amicably going to school with, working with, competing for party nominations with "the other." I now firmly believe that Canada's next great socio-cultural challenge is dialogue and reconciliation with Canada's aboriginal peoples.

Apologies are the first step. Empathy is the second. Understanding is third. After that, good things, very good things, I believe, can happen.

The idealism and aspirations of aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians will eventually find common ground. I think we will all grow and become better humans in the process.

Nine years from now, in 2017 on our 150th anniversary as a nation/country, I want a party as fabulous, international, emotionally evocative and symbolically meaningful as our centenary celebration Expo 67 — but this time, bringing aboriginal peoples from around the world to Canada to celebrate their and our achievement together.

Go for it Canada! As yes, I want Phil Fontaine there too and I don't want him to be the only person crying with tears of joy.

Patrick Martin: William Johnson, in Gatineau, Que., offers his response:

William Johnson: I spent the summer of 1960 studying an aboriginal community on Hudson's Bay. Yes, the horror story of the Pied Piper actually occurred — in Canada. Generations of children did vanish, not into a mountain, but into planes and trains. Relocated far from home, they were purged of their culture and reprogrammed. An appalling number died of tuberculosis. Others returned to their parents unrecognizable.

Now the ghosts of the past come screaming back from the chambers of horror, accusing, telling their stories, demanding redress. They won an apology. Money is distributed.

But dispossession survives in aboriginal communities. Degradation is now internalized, vested. Rampant alcoholism, irresponsibility, sexual abuse, disease, violence and suicide perpetuate the work of the black robes. Residential schools, transformed into prisons, have taken over reserves.

We apologize, but we cannot cure what we wrought. The schools were but one instrument whereby whole cultures were dismantled, shattered. In fact, psychologist Roland Chistjohn, himself an aboriginal, concluded after studying the effects of residential schools for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples: You can't separate out the effect of the schools from the entire impact of aboriginal experience over hundreds of years. He found no notable difference between those who had attended residential schools and those who had not.

An apology is owed, but collecting it will little avail the "survivors" if it strengthens their inner sense of being victims, an abdication of personal responsibility. That paralysis, the most pernicious legacy of their colonial experience, remains to be exorcised.

Regeneration, renaissance, cannot come from others, nor will it emerge from grappling with the past. Quebec showed a way: It broke a century's societal deadlock by enacting its Quiet Revolution.

Only aboriginal leaders can discover and activate from within the resources needed to lead their people out of residential schools into a land of promise.

Patrick Martin: Brian Flemming in Halifax has some concerns about all this:

Brian Flemming: Why do I always feel uneasy when political leaders make public apologies for the "sins" of our ancestors?

Perhaps it's because public apologies are comparable to grief counselling techniques in which victims are forced to relive a tragic event. Is either practice good psychologically for victim or apologist? Some experts say it's not.

My unease is also rooted in this question: Was every aboriginal child in residential schools abused physically, sexually or emotionally? If not, what percentage of the children suffered significant abuse? What percentage wound up believing they'd had a good experience? We should be told.

I am uneasy because I suspect Canadians, in general, and prime ministers, in particular, do not fully comprehend how much society has moved in the last century from the "politics of integration" to the "politics of identity." Is it possible that the policy-makers who established residential schools thought they were helping aboriginal children?

Most minorities in Canada today feel entitled to celebrate their ethnic identities rather than integrating completely into a broad, amorphous Canadian identity. Will they still want that privilege in 2050? Who knows? What new apologies will surface then?

My final unease is that this apology will not be the last. When, for openers, will descendants of Acadians who were cruelly expelled from the Maritimes in 1755 get their apology — and their cheques?

When will the Ottawa Valley Irish and the Cape Breton Scots who had their languages and culture taken from them get their apology — and their cheques?

When will African-Nova Scotians, many of whom had ancestors who were slaves in Canada, not in the United States, get their reparations?

Or should Canada simply emulate Australia by creating an annual "Sorry Day" so we can seek plenary pardons from the all descendants of people who suffered historic wrongs?

Patrick Martin: In Toronto, John Polanyi:

John Polanyi: On the question of public apologies, the more we can agree about our shared history, the more likely we are to have a shared future. Apologies, since they are the distillation of debate, represent a step on the way to agreeing. Steps are what we need. Agreement will always be beyond reach in a healthy society.

Scientists devote a lot of time to arguing about the history of their subject. For example: "Did x deserve the Nobel Prize? Should it not more properly have gone to y?" This is only partly out of a love of gossip. It is because they care about science.

Unless we can agree to some extent about our history, it will end. I am very much of that view.

Norman Spector: I applaud the Prime Minister's apology, and the opportunity this provides to learn more about a shameful chapter in our history. That said, I would have liked to hear about some more recent history — in order to enhance understanding of the complexity of aboriginal issues, and so as not to play into the hands of those whose goal it is to trash our country (figuratively and literally).

For example, for all our imperfections as a country, I wonder how many Canadians know that the death knell for assimilationist policies was sounded as far back as 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down the Calder decision and Mr. Trudeau decided to negotiate land claims. I wonder, too, why Mr. Dion — aside from apologizing for past Liberal governments — did not refer to the entrenchment of aboriginal and treaty rights in the 1982 Constitution — an act of inclusion in which aboriginal groups rejoiced at the time. Finally, Jack Layton missed a fine opportunity to mention the Nisga'a agreement negotiated by an NDP provincial government, which established a constitutionalized third order of government that, among other powers, runs its own school board.

In creating national narratives, words matter — and I was also uncomfortable with some of the language used by our leaders. "Truth and reconciliation" has become a quasi-metaphor for the South African experience, and no two policies to inter-communal relations could have been further apart than apartheid and assimilation. As for the use of the terms "survivors" and "never again" in relation to residential schools, Auschwitz was about burning babies, not about "killing the Indian in the child," and I doubt you'll find even one person who'd reflect back on the Holocaust experience as having been at all positive.

Antonia Maioni: Patrick, the real challenge of this apology is not only to remember, but to understand what happened. As a mother, I found it troubling and difficult to explain to my children what exactly is going on, especially in trying to put the many stories and experiences of residential schools in context. As a teacher, I believe it is important for students to be able to absorb these events so as to understand them in a larger historical context. As a scholar, I agree with John Polyani that the facts need to be laid bare so that we can agree to a shared history, even if that process is painful and controversial.

We can argue about the process of reparations or reconciliation, as there does not seem to be a consensus on that score, but it is difficult to argue against this kind of apology as a special moment in Canadian history.

Patrick Martin: In Toronto, The Globe's own Marcus Gee has something to say:

Marcus Gee: Those who support the apology argue that it will promote healing among natives and allow them to move forward. I fear that instead it may only lead them to dwell on the grievances of the past. Those grievances are real enough. Awful things happened in the residential schools. Those who suffered deserve the compensation and the sympathy they are getting. But the apology campaign has reinforced the tendency in the native leadership to blame everything on the government and focus its energy on getting more from Ottawa — more money, more land, more compensation, a more heartfelt apology. That reinforces dependency and breeds a culture of complaint that traps natives in a cage of futile resentment.

The idea has taken hold that, because residential schools sought to assimilate natives, the answer to their troubles is to reject the Canadian mainstream and seek revival in native traditions, native self-government and other separate paths.

Those paths lead to a dead end. A true revival will mean facing the fact that not all native troubles stem from white misdeeds and that picking at the scab of past oppression heals nothing. A true revival will mean striving for a way to succeed as integrated (not assimilated) participants in 21st century Canada.

To move forward, natives need to focus not on what was done to them in the past but what they can do for themselves in the present.

Patrick Martin: I think Jim Stanford has something he'd like to say about Marcus Gee's last comment:

Jim Stanford: National Chief Phil Fontaine just gave a moving address to our big CAW convention here in Toronto. He talked about the apology and its historical significance. He also thanked the skilled trades members in our union who have been volunteering to build clean water facilities in several aboriginal communities in Canada, and presented the CAW with an aboriginal "gratitude" mask. He has an awesome dignity but determination about him. Frankly, I'd like to see him as Prime Minister for all of us — not just leader of the First Nations!

Maybe that would address Marcus's fear about aboriginals' so-called turn away from the "mainstream!" Listening to Fontaine, I get the impression there's nothing he and his people would love more than access to mainstream opportunity, mainstream health outcomes, and mainstream living standards.

Marcus Gee: I've met Fontaine, Jim, and he's an impressive individual. What troubles me about the residential schools issue is how it has come to dominate discussion of native problems. Listening to some native leaders, it almost seems as if they think what happened in the schools explains all the dysfunction and suffering in native communities. It's much more complicated that that and I fear that by focusing almost to the point of obsession on the schools, natives are putting on a mantle of victimhood that weighs them down instead of taking them forward.

Patrick Martin: Randal Oulton of Toronto has just asked some interesting things in the comments area of this article. Here's what he wrote:

"Hello, Patrick, interesting read. I'm curious as to why all the commentators assembled for this were non-Indians?

"I think it's very appropriate that Lorna Dueck was on the panel, at any rate, to bring in the viewpoint of the faith communities, and to remind us that the Indians are, amongst other things, also a faith community, something we are used to overlooking.

"Brian Flemming raises an interesting point, which I wonder if we're all dodging because of the terrible consequences of thinking it through: 'Is it possible that the policy-makers who established residential schools thought they were helping aboriginal children?'

"I would propose that it is in fact quite likely that was one of the motives for many people involved. Were those Canadian policy-makers any less self-assured in their idealism than today's? Are yesterday's government policies mixed with Christian idealism any more damaging for some than today's government policies mixed with secular idealism? Who are we harming today, by knowing what is best for them, and making sure — whether they want it or not — that they get it. Are Canadians any less arrogant in our assuredness in our own goodness? Sometimes the most brutish evils are delivered with the best of intentions.

"By dodging our side of the story, we may perhaps risk repeating our mistakes all over again, with Indians, or with other groups."

Patrick Martin: Mr. Oulton: On your first point, we have invited Stephen Kakfwi, former premier of the Northwest Territories, and former president of the Dene Nation, to write his response to the Prime Minister's apology. He says:

"Is this the dramatic turning point we have all been fighting and praying for? The Prime Minister has said "sorry" to the First Peoples of this country. I don't know exactly what motivated him. I imagine that political and legal factors were carefully weighed. Or is it because he understands what it is to be a father? Surely all parents can imagine the horror of having your children forcibly stolen as little more than babies, to return as young adults . . . strangers, who no longer speak your language. You completely missed their childhood . . . They did too.

"Whatever the PM's reasons, I hope the Canada he represents will now work with us to restore strong, healthy and vibrant families, communities, and Nations, not begrudgingly, but because it is the right thing to do. Today, you offer an apology, which I accept. But that restoration work will deliver the forgiveness, which you also seek."

[The full commentary by Stephen Kakfwi will be published Friday, and will be found then on the both the Home Page and Opinions Section of globeandmail.com].

Perhaps some of our salonistas will take up Mr. Oulton's other observations.

William Johnson: Some of the comments from the general public on this discussion have trivialized yesterday's apology, suggesting that people at home by the fire or drinking in a bar were more concerned about what happens to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think that confuses matters of passing interest — such as the love life of Julie Couillard and Maxime Bernier — with matters that go to the very identity and cohesion of our country.

In my lifetime, Canada has existed with two deep fault lines, two cleavages left over from the 17th and 18th centuries. The second has caught most attention: The alienation of much of the French-speaking population as a result of the fall of New France. Though still far from entirely healed, that historic wound seems to be on the mend. But the earlier wound — a clash of civilizations from the time that the Europeans invaded — shows no sign yet of improving.

Yesterday's apology is very important in that respect because of its solemnity, its performance in the very political heart of our country. The issue was brought into our mainstream, to the attention of every Canadian. It means that it is now on the national agenda as never before. That in itself is a reason for some hope.

Patrick Martin: Norman Spector in Victoria wants to chime in here.

Norman Spector: Patrick, for some time, and to an increasing extent, we've been unable to have serious discussions of what it would take to solve serious problems facing this country.

In a different climate, yesterday's apology would have been both meaningful and useful. In modern times, it was an ideal opportunity for politicians to blame their predecessors and present themselves (and I include aboriginal leaders in this observation) as representing a fresh approach.

The media lapped up the drama, the colour, the symbolism, the potential for confrontation and the emotion. And there was virtually no discussion of the difficult work and the hard choices that would be required to actually do something about the problem.

I fear that the caravan will move on, just as it did on health care.

Patrick Martin: Margaret Wente, whose column on this subject Whose truth? What reconciliation? was published in today's Globe, wants to weigh in responding to Mr. Oulton and others:

Margaret Wente: Yesterday's apology was a fine and moving moment. But I do not think it will do much to restore "strong, healthy and vibrant families and communities," as Mr. Kakfwi so eloquently puts it.

In fact, both the native leadership and the government continue to collude in perpetuating the illusion that families and communities can thrive on remote reserves cut off from the mainstream of society, with no way to support themselves, no future for their kids, and trapped in welfare dependency. This is just a recipe for more of same — poverty, despair, and dysfunction.

The only reserves that have any hope of prospering are those that are located close to commercial opportunities and jobs. It's no accident that aboriginals who leave the reserves fare better on the whole than the ones who've stayed behind.

We have to start telling the truth, which is that the only way aboriginals can become self-sufficient and take charge of their future is by becoming better educated and joining the modern economy.

Patrick Martin: David Beers in Vancouver has just connected with us:

David Beers: I can't agree with Norman Spector that an official apology from the colonizer to the colonized is the time to brag about progress made by the colonizer in the past several decades. I believe such self-congratulation would signal insincerity. Nor can I agree with Norman's problem with pursuing "truth and reconciliation" within Canada, as the phrase "has become a quasi-metaphor for the South African experience, and no two policies to inter-communal relations could have been further apart than apartheid and assimilation."

Apartheid and assimilation both assume the culture of the colonized is worthless and poisonous to the divinely ordained superior culture of the colonizer. In which case you either wall the heathens out, or "convert" — assimilate — them. Both actions flow from the same basic assumption.

In a recent review for The Tyee of two histories of residential schools in B.C. (Jan Hare and Jean Barman's Good Intentions Gone Awry, based on the letters of Emma Crosby, and The Letters of Margaret Butcher, edited by Mary-Ellen Kelm) Crawford Kilian gauged this mindset among two women who helped run such schools in Port Simpson and Kitamaat.

"For modern readers, however, it's striking to see that Emma expressed zero interest in the people the Crosbys were trying to convert. She never discusses the Tsimshians' culture or history . . . She refers in passing to the dirt and disease of the natives, but doesn't even mention the catastrophic smallpox pandemic that a decade earlier had killed a third of the native population on the B.C. coast . . . "

"Maggie Butcher, a 46-year-old nurse and midwife" offered this assessment of her students: 'They are a slow, indolent, dirty people . . . bound very strongly by custom and superstition. Matron says the young folk who have been educated in this school and at Coqualeetza will have more chance when some half dozen of the old folks of the village, who still hold fast to their ancient customs, are dead and one hopes that it is so. In all our bunch of 37 children, there are only two who appear cunning and they are half-breeds'."

Maggie and Emma likely would have felt right at home in South Africa. And we must apologize unreservedly for all that has flowed from such thinking.

Patrick Martin: So I have a question for Michael Higgins, our resident Vatican specialist. Michael, with all this talk of apologies, why hasn't the Catholic Church apologized for its role in the residential schools? Other churches have.

Michael Higgins: Good question, Patrick. Given the size and reach of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, it is not unreasonable to conclude that it is a national entity, but ecclesiologically and canonically it is not. Unlike many of the major denominations and principal players in the administration of the residential schools, the Roman Catholic Church consists of jurisdictionally independent dioceses and archdioceses that do not function as a national unit. They are accountable through their bishop or ordinary to Rome and not to some pan-national body that enjoys special theological or legal status.

This is also true of the religious orders and congregations of women and men that exercised oversight for residential schools or maintained a ministry to, or presence in, aboriginal communities. Indisputably, some of these bodies, like the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Jesus, have issued apologies, negotiated compensations, and effected reconciliation protocols. Roman Catholic leaders are not absent from the scene but they do not speak for the national episcopate per se.

Patrick Martin: Norman Spector wants to follow up on that thought.

Norman Spector: But Michael, why has Rome not apologized?

Michael Higgins: Norman, it would be like the UN apologizing for every misdeed for every member. Rome has certainly taken strong stands — particularly under John Paul II — on pro- indigenous issues but does not see itself as the final moral arbiter on the local scene.

Norman Spector: Michael, I would feel more comfortable with that analogy if it weren't for the fact that Cardinal Bernard Law has been given several appointments in Rome since he resigned as head of the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002 — under circumstances with which I believe you are familiar.

Michael Higgins: I share your view, Norman, regarding Boston's former Cardinal Archbishop and the folly of appointing him Archpriest at Santa Maria Maggiore.

Patrick Martin: Gwyn Morgan, also on the West Coast, has just returned to his home and is ready to comment:

Gwyn Morgan: I'm happy that the apology was sincere and fulsome. I'm sad that one of the five previous prime ministers since the end of the residential schools ended failed to do it earlier. I'm happy that the many wrongs have been clearly articulated for Canadians to understand. I'm sad that the dedicated and caring work of the majority of residential school workers has been repudiated by the unforgivable abuses of some. I'm happy that aboriginal Canadians have the opportunity to move beyond victimhood to taking responsibility for creating a better future for their children. I'm sad that the abuse by strangers in the residential schools has too often been replaced by abuse by family members at home.

Patrick Martin: Lorna Dueck has some final thoughts . . .

Lorna Dueck: Thankfully we don't have to vote on each other's ideas, but if we did, Michael Adams wins mine. He hits the heart of this while other comments sound like we're putting the gas pedal to public policy discussions at an inappropriate time. We all agree on the need for more effective solutions. Those are different discussions than apology. Apology is a reality that sparks the spiritual imagination. It is deeply personal, relational and motivating. When someone gives or receives an apology it prompts an internal decision. It means both parties have asked: "What can I do about this thing that binds and restricts me?" The aggressor can repent, and apologize, the victim can release. Truth, even without reconciliation, helps all move forward in new freedoms — freedom to change, to respect, to grow, to win. The possibilities ignited through the spiritual imagination are immense.

Patrick Martin: Margaret MacMillan in Oxford wants to add something to Lorna Dueck's comment:

Margaret MacMillan: This surely is not about winning or losing in a debate but having a discussion — and a very important one at that. I cannot agree with Lorna Dueck that it is somehow heartless and inappropriate to ask what useful next steps can come out of this apology. The act of apology may be, as she says, motivating. It can also be a momentary thing which makes the giver feel good and the receiver hopeful that maybe this time things really will get better. The danger too, as others in this discussion have pointed out, is that the past gets blamed for everything. But are we doing any better now? Assimilation, we say confidently, was a wicked policy. Okay, then what are the alternatives? This is precisely the moment at which we ought to be asking such difficult questions. What ought we do? What can we do? What can be done to save the lives of aboriginal peoples stuck in miserable villages where there are no jobs? to get the young a decent education and give them a future? There seem to me to be an awful lot of words around and lashings of fine sentiments, but not nearly enough hard thinking. I am worried that Canada will wake up from this happy moment one day soon and find that nothing has changed.

Patrick Martin: Well, folks, we're going to leave it there. That wraps it up for our first GlobeSalon. Thank you to all who contributed and thank you to all who followed along and to those who commented. I look forward to the next time we convene GlobeSalon.

Globe Salon, Meet The Globe Salonistas.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the participants in today's inaugural GlobeSalon, which is debating Prime Minister Harper's apology yesterday to aboriginal Canadians.

Michael Adams is the president of the Environics group of research and communications consulting companies which he co-founded in 1970. He is the author of four Canadian best sellers: Sex in the Snow: Canadian Social Values at the End of the Millennium, Better Happy Than Rich? Canadians, Money and the Meaning of Life, Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values, and American Backlash: The Untold Story of Social Change in the United States. His current book entitled Unlikely Utopia: The Surprising Triumph of Canadian Pluralism, focuses on the promise and challenge of Canadian multiculturalism.

David Beers is an award-winning writer and founding editor of The Tyee, one of Canada's leading independent online sources of news and views. He has been a senior editor at Mother Jones and The Vancouver Sun where he edited the "Fate of the Strait" environmental series, winner of Canada's National Newspaper Award. With a strong interest in sustainability issues and solutions-oriented journalism, he is a lecturer at the UBC School of Journalism, and former vice chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission.

Journalist Lorna Dueck is Executive Producer of Listen Up TV, a newsmagazine examining spiritual themes in news and current events, aired on nine networks worldwide. She works extensively in Canada's non-profit and charitable sector, including Samaritan's Purse, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Toronto City Mission, Feed The Hungry, and Greater Europe Mission. She is completing a Bachelor of Religious Education degree from Tyndale University College, and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Christian Ministry from Trinity Western University. She is a recipient of several leadership and journalism awards.

Joseph Facal was born in Uruguay and arrived in Canada in 1970. He is currently associate professor at HEC Montréal, which is the business school of the Université de Montréal, where he teaches sociology and management. He writes a weekly column for the daily newspaper Le Journal de Montréal and is a regular TV and radio commentator on public affairs. From 1994 to 2003, he was an elected member (PQ) of the Quebec National Assembly and also served in several cabinet posts in the governments of Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). He has also written three books.

Brian Flemming, is a Halifax-based international lawyer, writer and public policy adviser. He is a former senior aide to Prime Minister Trudeau. During the past 14 years, he was a weekly columnist for a Halifax daily newspaper, writing on politics and public policy issues. His columns have been carried in every major Canadian newspaper. In the public sector, Flemming has been the head of several Crown corporations, federal panels and agencies. From 2005 to 2007, he was a founding member of the federal Advisory Council on National Security. He is a QC and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Marcus Gee is a Globe reporter and columnist covering the Asia-Pacific region. Born in Toronto, he graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1979 with a degree in modern European history, then worked as a reporter for The Province, Vancouver's morning newspaper. He spent four years in Asia in the early 1980s, the first three in Hong Kong as an editor, writer and correspondent for Asiaweek magazine, the last as a reporter for United Press International in Manila and Sydney. He joined the Globe in 1991 as an editorial writer and has won two National Newspaper Awards for his commentary.

Michael W. Higgins is President of St. Thomas University in Fredericton and past president of St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo. He is also the author and co-author of numerous books including: Thomas Merton: Pilgrim in Process; Women and the Church: A Sourcebook; Portraits of Canadian Catholicism; My Father's Business: the Biography of Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter; The Jesuit Mystique; Heretic Blood: the Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton; The Muted Voice: Religion and the Media; and Stalking the Holy: In Pursuit of Saint-Making.

William Johnson was a Jesuit for 10 years, taught sociology at the University of Manitoba and the University of Toronto, spent 20 years with The Globe and Mail as reporter and columnist and nine years with The Montreal Gazette as national affairs columnist. He attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Loyola College, Regis College, the Université de Montréal, the University of Toronto and the University of California at Berkeley, specializing in philosophy, French literature and sociology. His books include Anglophobie made in Québec, A Canadian Myth, Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, and Young Trudeau, 1919-1944. He won the National Newspaper Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Margaret MacMillan is the Warden of St. Antony's College, a Professor of International History at the University of Oxford, and a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Her books include Women of the Raj (1988, 2007); Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World (2002); and Nixon in China: Six Days that Changed the World. Her most recent book is The Uses and Abuses of History. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Antonia Maioni is Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Associate Professor of Political Science and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University in Montreal. She is a graduate of Université Laval, the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and Northwestern University. Her research interests focus on health and social policy in Canada and the U.S. She is a frequent media commentator on Canadian politics and public policy, in both English and French, and lives in a bilingual household with her spouse, Pierre Martin, and their three young sons.

Gwyn Morgan is a nationally known business leader who devoted three decades to building Canada's largest energy company — EnCana, with an enterprise value of approximately $50 billion. He stepped down as founding CEO at the end of 2005. Gwyn has been recognized as Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year and also as Canada's Most Respected CEO. He has a strong belief that a corporation should be a positive social, community and environmental force. He is a Trustee of the Fraser Institute, the Manning Centre for Democracy and the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.

Prof. John Polanyi, educated at Manchester University, England, was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and at the National Research Council of Canada. He is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (P.C.), and a Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.). His awards include the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of London. He has written extensively on science policy, the control of armaments, peacekeeping and human rights. He lives in Toronto with his wife Brenda Bury.

Norman Spector, a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, is also a former academic, federal and provincial deputy minister, ambassador and newspaper publisher. He's been writing in The Globe and Mail since 1995 and in Le Devoir since 2003. For the past three years, Norman has been providing a daily review of the Canadian and international press on his website Norman's Spectator His book, Chronicle of a War Foretold: How Mideast Peace Became America's Fight, was published by Douglas and McIntyre in 2003. The following year, he contributed an afterword to William Kaplan's A Secret Trial, published by McGill-Queen's University Press.

Jim Stanford is an Economist with the Canadian Auto Workers, Canada's largest private-sector trade union. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1995 from the New School for Social Research in New York, and also holds economics degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Calgary. Jim is the author of Paper Boom (published in 1999) and Economics for Everyone (Pluto Press and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2008). In 2007 he was appointed vice-chair of the Ontario Manufacturing Council. Jim writes a regular economics column for The Globe and Mail. He lives in Toronto with his partner and two daughters.

Globe columnist Margaret Wente is a past winner of the National Newspaper Award for column-writing. She has had a diverse career in Canadian journalism as both a writer and an editor. She has edited two leading business magazines, Canadian Business and ROB Magazine. She has also been editor of The Globe's business section, the Report on Business, and managing editor of the paper. Her columns have appeared in the Globe since 1992. Ms. Wente was born in Chicago and moved to Toronto with her family when she was in her teens. She has won numerous journalism awards. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, and an MA in English from the University of Toronto.

The following people are members of The Globe Salon who are not participating in today's discussion but who will be doing so in future instalments.

John Duffy is one of Canada's leading government relations and public affairs consultants, serving a wide range of ROB 500 corporations in Toronto and Ottawa. He has been actively involved in Liberal Party politics, both federally and in Ontario, for more than 20 years. He has served for two decades as a volunteer adviser to former prime minister Paul Martin, playing senior policy and strategy roles. Mr. Duffy has also served as a strategic consultant on the last several Ontario Liberal election campaigns. He is the author of Fights of Our Lives: Elections, Leadership and the Making of Canada, a bestselling examination of Canada's five pivotal federal elections.

Camilla Gibb is the author of three internationally acclaimed novels, including Mouthing the Words (winner of the City of Toronto Book Award), and Sweetness in the Belly (shortlisted for the Giller Prize and winner of the Trillium Award). She has served as Writer-in-Residence at the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, and is currently an adjunct faculty member with the University of Toronto's MA in Creative Writing Program. She holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University.

Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine. He is the author of 11 books of political and cultural theory, including the national bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), and Concrete Reveries (2008). Mr. Kingwell is the winner of the Spitz Prize in political theory as well as National Magazine Awards for both columns and essays.

Naomi Klein is the award-winning author of the international bestseller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. Translated into 28 languages and with more than a million copies in print, The New York Times called No Logo "a movement bible." She writes an internationally syndicated column for The Nation magazine and The Guardian newspaper. Her articles have appeared in Harper's Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King's College, Nova Scotia. Her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, was published worldwide in September, 2007.

Irshad Manji directs the Moral Courage Project at New York University. She is the best-selling author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith, now translated into almost 30 languages. Irshad is also been a presenter of the Gemini-nominated documentary, Faith Without Fear. The World Economic Forum has selected Irshad as a Young Global Leader. Maclean's magazine has her on its Honour Roll of "Canadians Who Make a Difference." And The Jakarta Post in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, identifies Irshad one of three women creating positive change in Islam today. Her official website is www.irshadmanji.com

Preston Manning served as a Member of the Canadian Parliament from 1993 to 2001. He founded two new political parties — the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance — both of which became the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament. Mr. Manning served as Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2000. In 2007 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. Mr. Manning is currently a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute and President and CEO of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

Clifford Orwin is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Fellow of St. Michael's College and of the Centre for International Studies, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow and Member of the Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Born and raised in Chicago and educated at Cornell and Harvard, he has spent his entire academic career at Toronto with the exception of visiting appointments in the U.S., France, Portugal, and Israel. After eight years of writing a monthly or so column for The National Post, he moved to The Globe in 2006.

National Chief Phil Fontaine - Response to Formal Apology.

Prime Minister, Chief Justice, members of this house, elders, survivors, Canadians. For our parents, our grand-parents, great grand-parents, indeed for all of the generations that, which have preceeded us, this day testifies to nothing less than the achievement of the impossible.

This morning our elders held a condolence ceremony for those who will never heard an apology, never received compensation, yet courageously fought assimilation so that we could witness this day. Together we remember and honour them, for it was they who suffered the most as they witnessed generation after generation of their children taken from their family's love and guidance. For the generations that will follow us we bear witness today, in this house, that our survival as First Nations peoples in this land is affirmed forever.

Therefore the significance of this day is not just about what has been but equally important what is to come. Never again will this house consider us the Indian problem just for being who we are.

We heard the Government of Canada take full responsibility for this dreadful chapter in our shared history. We heard the Prime Minister declare that this will never happen again. Finally, we heard Canada say it is sorry.

Brave survivors t'rough the telling of their painful stories have stripped white supremacy of its authority and legitimacy. The irresistability of speaking truth to power is real. Today is not the result of a political game, instead it is something that shows the righteousness and importance of our struggle. We know we have many difficult issues to handle. There are many fights still to be fought. What happened today signifies a new dawn in the relationship between us and the rest of Canada. We are and always 'ave been an indispensible part of the Canadian identity.

Our peoples, our history, and our present being are the essence of Canada. The attempts to erase our identities hurt us deeply, but it also hurt all Canadians, and impoverished the character of this nation. We must not falter in our duty now. Emboldened by the spectacle of history, the spectacle of history, it is possible to end our racial nightmare together. The memories of Residential Schools sometimes cut like merciless knives at our souls. This day will help us to put that pain behind us.

But it signifies something even more important, a respectful and therefore liberating relationship between us and the rest of Canada. Together we can achieve the greatness our country deserves. The apology today is founded upon, more than anything else, the recognition that we all own our own lives and destinies - the only true foundation for a society where peoples can flourish. We must now capture a new spirit and vision to meet the challenges of the future. As a great statesman once said, "We are all part of one garment of destiny. The differences between us are not blood or colour and the ties that bind us are deeper than those that separate us."

The common road of hope will bring us to reconciliation more than any words, laws, or legal claims ever could. We still have to struggle but now we are in this together. I reach out to all Canadians ... I reach out to all Canadians today in the spirit of reconciliation.


Three StoogesStephen harperPhil FontaineTalking Heads David ByrneTalking Heads David Byrne

Travelling Wilburys: Dirty World #1, Dirty World #2.

He loves your sexy body. He loves your dirty mind.
He loves when you hold him, grab him from behind.
Oh baby, you're such a pretty thing.
I can't wait to introduce you to the other members of my gang.

You don't need no wax job, you're smooth enough for me.
If you need your oil changed I'll do it for you free.
Oh baby, the pleasure be all mine.
If you let me drive your pickup truck and park it where the sun don't shine.

Every time he touches you his hair stands up on end.
His legs begin to quiver and his mind begins to bend.
Oh baby, you're such a tasty treat.
But I'm under doctor's orders, I'm afraid to overeat.

He love your sense of humor, disposition too.
There's absolutely nothin' that he don't love about you.
Oh baby, I'm on my hands and knees.
Life would be so simple if I only had you to please.

Oh baby, turn around and say goodbye.
You go to the airport now and I'm going home and cry.

He loves your ... electric dumplings.
He loves your ... red bell peppers.
He loves your ... fuel injection.
He loves your ... service charges.
He loves your ... five-speed gearbox.
He loves your ... long endurance.
He loves your ... quest for junk food.
He loves your ... big refrigerator.
He loves your ... trembling wilbury.
He loves your ... marble earring.
He loves your ... porky curtains.
He loves your ... power steering.
He loves your ... bottled water.
He loves your ... parts and service.

Dirty world, a dirty world, it's a ...ing dirty world.

ee cummings, she being brand new

she being Brand
-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was

careful of her and(having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good


was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on

brakes Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
to a:dead.