Genuis blocks Papal apology again

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The local MP is facing criticism this week after he was the lone vote in Canada blocking unanimous consent to request a Papal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.

The motion, put forward on Tuesday by NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents Timmins-James Bay, was on Tuesday, June 8 was in reaction to the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops residential school and was a reiteration of the same motion tabled in May 2018.

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis went against the entirety of Parliament by failing to give the motion his support. 

Besides asking for the Papal apology for the establishment, operations, and abuses of the residential schools, which was included within the Calls to Action with the Truth and Reconciliation Report, the motion also called on the Catholic Church to live up to its moral obligations and the spirit of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and resume best efforts to raise the full amount of the agreed-upon funding, as well as asking the Catholic Church to hand over all relevant documentation regarding residential schools.


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Due to the lone vote against, no debate was allowed on the motion, but Angus quickly requested a call to order to squeeze in a reaction.

“I just want to confirm that it’s the Conservative Party of Canada that is giving the Catholic Church a free pass,” Angus said before he was cut off.

Wednesday’s proceedings mirrored that of a 2018 vote by Genuis, where he was the lone MP in the country blocking the same request.

In response, Genuis told The News his vote was based on the need to separate church and state. He maintains that residential schools were terrible and everyone who was involved bears responsibility. He welcomes the Pope to Canada to take further steps, a visit during which the MP expects an official apology would be issued.

“Parliament publicly dictating to the church doesn’t effectively advance reconciliation. The government needs to take responsibility for what it’s done and its obligations in terms of the TRC Calls of Action, and other actors have every reason to do that as well and they need to do that themselves,” Genuis stated.

The majority of those on social media were not impressed by the MP’s move, with some local constituents saying Genuis is not properly representing them in Ottawa and that they’re ashamed.

“I accept that my votes in Parliament will never be able to respect 100 per cent of what everybody thinks because residents have different points of view,” Genuis said, adding those critical on Twitter are less likely to provide feedback in town halls, local round table discussions, one-on-one phone calls, and mailed out surveys.


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“I think I’ve been very responsive to what people have been saying on a variety of issues,” he added.

Local politicians also spoke out.

“I am very disappointed by my MP. As elected officials, we need to put aside our personal beliefs and do what is best for our community, and in your case, the country. This vote hurts your community and country. I cannot support your decision,” tweeted Ward 8 Coun. Katie Berghofer.

Genuis will hold a virtual town hall on Thursday, June 17, when constituents are welcome to provide feedback and ask questions. To RSVP, contact the constituency office by emailing or calling 780-467-4944.

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