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Manitoba opposition leader confronts new Indigenous minister over residential school remarks

CA, 16 Jul 2021
Manitoba’s leader of the Opposition confronted the province’s new Indigenous reconciliation minister Thursday over the new minister’s comments about residential schools.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew interrupted a press conference question-and-answer period Thursday after Alan Lagimodiere, who was shuffled into the new post an hour before, said he believed children were sent to residential schools to learn new skills.

“From my knowledge of it, the residential school system was designed to take Indigenous children and give them the skills and abilities they would need to fit into society as it moved forward,” Lagimodiere said.

At that point, Kinew stepped in and firmly challenged the new minister’s statements.

“I cannot accept you saying what you just said about residential schools. It was the express intent of residential schools to ‘kill the Indian in the child,'” he said.

“It is not cultural relativism, it is not revisionist history for us to say that that was wrong.”

Lagimodiere apologized immediately after the press conference.

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