Ottawa – Conservative Party Critic for Indigenous Affairs, Cathy McLeod, and Deputy Critic Todd Doherty, responded today to the release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada we would like to thank the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild for their hard work and dedication to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said McLeod. “Over the past six years, Canadians have heard the very tragic experiences of former students and anyone who had been affected by the Residential Schools legacy.” “All Canadians can be proud that it was Prime Minister Harper and the previous Conservative government which issued the first ever formal apology to former students of residential schools,” said Doherty. “Through the apology, the Government of Canada rightfully recognized that the residential schools policy had a damaging impact on indigenous and aboriginal culture, heritage and language.” “In their calls to action to redress the legacy of residential schools, and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Commission many positive recommendations. However, in its zeal to try and play politics during the recent election, the Liberal Party was irresponsible in its response by unilaterally accepting all 94 recommendations with no detailed impact analysis or comprehensive costing,” stated McLeod. “We are also concerned that existing Canadian laws could be superseded by the automatic acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically text in the Declaration in regards to free, prior and informed consent when used as a veto. What is the Liberal Party now saying on this matter?” asked Doherty. “The Liberal Government has made the UN Declaration an immediate priority and the right to veto was the first priority in the Minister’s mandate letter,” said McLeod. “While the courts have been clear that First Nations have a right to be consulted on major development projects, it is important that the federal government must maintain final authority for those projects which are in Canada’s national interest. Will the Liberal Party be clear with Canadians on that point?” “As the Official Opposition, we will be closely watching the Liberal Government’s approach in the coming weeks and months to the outcome of the Commission,” said McLeod and Doherty. “This Liberal government must be clear with all Canadians on the actual costs and impacts that their policy decisions will have.”