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Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre Must be Fired for Insult to Residential School Survivors

June 12, 2008
OTTAWA – Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre must be removed as Parliamentary Secretary for the intolerant comments he made yesterday only hours before the government made its official apology for the legacy of the residential school tragedy, Liberal Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville said today.

“Not only did the Parliamentary Secretary taint the day with his comments, but he has yet to apologize,” said Ms. Neville. “Mr. Poilievre’s comments show complete disrespect. How can a Member of Parliament resort to such shameful stereotyping? The sincerity of the Prime Minister’s apology will be tested by his response to Mr. Poilievre’s ill-judged words.”

During an interview on an Ottawa talk-radio program, Mr. Poilievre, who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and a key spokesperson for the Conservative government on a wide range of issues, made derogatory comments about the amount of funding dedicated to the compensation of residential school survivors.

After deriding the “exceptional amount of money” given to First Nations annually, the Parliamentary Secretary targeted the residential school compensation package, saying: “Now along with this apology comes another $4 billion in compensation for those who partook in the residential schools over those years. Now some of us are starting to ask are we really getting value for all of this money and is more money really going to solve the problem?”

“Not only are his comments insulting to survivors, but they display an extraordinarily shallow understanding of this issue,” said Ms. Neville. “This man speaks for the Harper government. Do his remarks represent the true feelings of his colleagues and his Prime Minister? Who was he referencing when he said ‘some of us are starting to ask’? Those are the questions Mr. Harper must answer today.”
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