October 26, 2005

PM needs to talk to Pope, lawyer says

CBC News

Last Updated Oct 26 2005 09:29 AM CDT

A Regina lawyer says the Prime Minister should get in touch with the Pope in an effort to settle compensation issues between the Catholic church and victims of abuse at Indian residential schools.

Tony Merchant, whose firm handles thousands of residential school claimants, says the Anglican, United, and Presbyterian churches have contributed to settlement programs.

According to the Indian Residential School Department, agreements have been reached with some Catholic organizations, including the Jesuits of Upper Canada, the Daughters of Mary, the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, the Diocese of Prince George and the Grandin Oblates.

However, Merchant believes the Catholic church has not made a "meaningful" offer to compensate victims and so it would be useful for the prime minister to get involved.

"An approach by Paul Martin to the Pope, or through the papal nuncio [the Pope's ambassador in Canada], to say, 'You have to break the log-jam. You have to do the responsible and Christian thing.' "

Federal officials say there wouldn't be much point in going to Rome to deal with the issue and that a made-in-Canada solution would be best.

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 01:03 PM