TORONTO (Dec. 18, 2002) -- An agreement between the Anglican Church and the federal government over liability for Indian Residential Schools will allow the church to continue to serve society and to forge new bonds with native people, the Anglican Primate says.
In a letter to church members posted on the Anglican Church of Canada's Web site, Archbishop Michael Peers says he is "profoundly encouraged" by the way Canadian Anglicans and Anglican dioceses have responded to the agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, all 30 Anglican dioceses must ratify and agree to contribute $25 million to a settlement fund over a five-year period.
The agreement effectively ends the Anglican Church's involvement in costly litigation that was threatening the future of its national organization.
The text of Archbishop Peers' letter follows:
The past few weeks have marked a watershed in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. Beginning with the announcement of an agreement with the Government of Canada as to how validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in Indian Residential Schools would be apportioned, we are now in a period of discernment and decision together. In each diocese, a process is, or will be, in place to decide the diocesan response to our national responsibility.
Let me offer some background and interpretation for this time of discernment and decision in dioceses and congregations, and for your own reflection as an Anglican and a member of Christ's body.
From 1820 to 1969, the Anglican Church of Canada was involved in residential schools. In 1911, the first contracts were signed between the Government of Canada and a number of dioceses. In 1921, the Missionary Society of the Church in Canada began to assume those contracts. In the words of the Bishop of Keewatin [David Ashdown], a person with experience of the schools decades ago and a partner in dialogue with many former students, this was not a good system with a few bad people in it, but a deeply flawed system with many good people in it. In 1969 we abandoned participation in the schools, and began to forge a new relationship with aboriginal Canadians that would be rooted in justice, solidarity, and mutuality.
More than twenty years later, former students of the schools began to come forward, alleging abuse at the hands of those in authority in the schools. Those allegations have prompted our church to come to terms with two painful realities. First, our partnership with the government in seeking the assimilation of aboriginal Canadians was itself a profound error. Second, some within the schools used their power to take advantage of the vulnerability of children.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defines "remorse" as the discovery that we do not control the telling of our stories -- that we play unflattering and sometimes destructive roles in the stories of others. In the stories of aboriginal Canadians, we hear that our actions were not noble and our impact was not life-saving.
Remorse is hard for us. We did not intend to collaborate in undermining the well being of children. We did not intend to foster a climate in which predators could assault the vulnerable. We did not intend to contribute to a rift between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. Yet we did all those things.
In 1969, we embraced another way of understanding and telling the story of our relationship with indigenous peoples. Together with them, we began to look for a better way. In the past decades, signs of that better way have begun to emerge. For example, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples identifies a unique and vital contribution that the churches can make: "Of all the non-governmental institutions in Canadian society, religious institutions have perhaps the greatest potential to foster awareness and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people".
In November , the Anglican Church of Canada and the Government of Canada reached an agreement on a settlement of validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in schools administered by the Anglican Church. We are asking each diocese to consider the proposed agreement, and to make a financial commitment to the settlement fund. The proposed settlement with the Government of Canada allows us to proceed with integrity along "a better way". We have not evaded our responsibility within the legal structures and systems that our nation has established to deal with such claims. We have acknowledged both our part in the damage that was done and the many good and generous people who -- in a deeply flawed arrangement -- acted humanely. We are involved in significant explorations with the indigenous constituencies of the Anglican Church of Canada as to how we can, together, live up to the potential identified in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
It was "our people" -- people who share with us a faith, and a tradition -- who suffered in the residential schools. In the Anglican Church of Canada, there are whole dioceses in which the majority of our members are aboriginal Canadians. As we continue the hard work of fashioning a church that brings us all together for mission, we can bear witness to the possibility of reconciliation in a nation in which the divide between aboriginal persons and communities and the dominant culture seems to widen with each passing year.
This settlement is not about "getting out" of anything. It is instead a way of getting more deeply into the healing and reconciliation by which we can both strengthen our own common life and extend that life into mission in our own society.
I am profoundly encouraged by the way in which dioceses and their members have begun to address the challenge before us. Several dioceses have already ratified the agreement, and the others have a clear process in mind for coming to a decision. At least four of the dioceses that have ratified the agreement had no formal relationship with any of the schools, and therefore no legal liability. That we recognize both a common "moral liability" and a common vocation to ministry and mission in our society, whether or not we are directly and legally affected by the schools issue, is surely one of the strengths of this Anglican Church of Canada.
In the months and years ahead, I believe we can use that strength to serve our society and all its members. Because we bear witness not only to the deep flaws of our past, but also to the deep need for healing and reconciliation in our present, we are poised to contribute to a crucial process of discernment for a Canadian society in search of a humane future. Because we are entering more deeply into the spirit of partnership between aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons and communities within our church, we are poised to contribute to the emergence of a similar sense of partnership within Canadian society as a whole.
For reasons of our common life, and for reasons of our common mission within Canadian society, I profoundly hope that we will all be able not only to support and contribute to this settlement, but also to celebrate the possibilities it opens up for us all.
Yours faithfully, Michael G. Peers Archbishop and Primate
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Contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Acting Director Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, email@example.com; www.anglican.ca
"The Rev. Robert Flowers has settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit with the Diocese of Algoma out of court but no details have been released. Rev. Robert Flowers and his wife Marolyn had claimed damages of $4.2 million plus costs against the diocese, the then-bishop Rt. Rev. Leslie Peterson and the Archdeacon of Temiskaming, Ven. Leonard Shaw". Good summary of case.
TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2003) -- The last of 30 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada have now ratified an agreement with the federal government which caps the church's liability in residential schools litigation at $25-million.
Completing a process that began last November , the 30 dioceses have unanimously approved the agreement and unanimously agreed to contribute to the settlement fund it creates. Each diocese was required to sign on to the agreement before it could come into effect. At a series of special meetings and synods held since last December  all agreed to do so, many without a dissenting vote.
The last dioceses to vote were Fredericton and Calgary this past weekend. Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador had earlier approved the agreement in principle and confirmed the decision this weekend. Because of time zones, Calgary's officially became the final ratification vote.
The Canadian Anglican Church has also announced the formation of a separate corporation, called the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp., which will administer the settlement fund under the terms of the agreement.
Under the agreement, 30 per cent of compensation will be paid from the settlement fund to former residential schools students who have proven claims of sexual or physical abuse. The remaining 70 per cent will be paid by the federal government.
If compensation for these claims eventually exceeds $25-million, the federal government will pay the rest, and should awards fall short of the amount, the money will be returned to the dioceses.
Canadian dioceses made individual decisions on how they would find the money to contribute their share to the settlement fund.
In the diocese of Toronto, for instance, Archbishop Terry Finlay asked each Anglican to contribute $100 in order to raise $5-million. Athabasca in Alberta is selling an archdeacon's residence to raise $125,000. Other dioceses dipped into reserves or decided to mount capital campaigns to cover both contributions to the settlement fund and other local projects.
Diocese were asked to contribute to the settlement fund according to a formula similar to the one used to determine their contributions to the national church.
In total, Canadian dioceses were called on to contribute $22-million and that goal has been met. General Synod, the national embodiment of the church, will make up the remaining $3-million.
The agreement was intended to move litigation over residential schools out of the courts and into a form of alternate dispute resolution. The large number of lawsuits was taking a long time in the legal system and the process was costing vast amounts of money, to the point where the General Synod of the Anglican Church was facing bankruptcy.
The details of a process to keep claims out of the courts (alternative dispute resolution) have yet to be finalized. Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod and the chief Anglican negotiator with the federal government, said at the time the agreement was announced on Nov. 20  that it would allow the church to use its resources to do what it does best -- minister to people who were harmed in the schools and work at healing and reconciliation -- rather than use them up in legal fees.
After this weekend's finalization of the ratification process, Archdeacon Boyles said that he was "very pleased with the way dioceses have responded so quickly and so positively to the agreement. It shows the strength of the Anglican family in Canada".
With the last of the ratification votes, the formal documents will now be sent to the dioceses for signing, Archdeacon Boyles explained. Once the documents have been signed by the dioceses, representatives of the Anglican Church and the Government of Canada will formally sign the official agreement.
A tentative date of March 11  has been set for the formal signing by Archbishop Michael Peers, the Anglican Primate, and federal Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale, in charge of residential schools resolution. The signing will likely take place at the Anglican national office in Toronto.
The Anglican church was involved, with the federal government, in operating 26 of 80 residential schools from the mid-19th century until the 1970s when the church ended its involvement. In 1993, Archbishop Peers formally apologized to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
TORONTO, Monday, August 14, 2000 -- The Anglican Church will cut more than half a million dollars in grants to support ministry in Canada's north and overseas, and eliminate eight full time positions at its national office.
At the same time, grants available from the church's Healing and Reconciliation Fund, supporting work with Indigenous peoples, will double.
The reductions, amounting to about 11 percent of the church's $10.9 million national budget, respond to continuing financial pressure from the cost of litigation related to residential schools.
The impact of the reductions will be felt around the world. Grants to support ministry across Canada's north will decline by about $125,000 in 2000, with a further $130,000 reduction recommended for 2001. Similar grants to programs in the Third World will decline by almost $400,000.
"With these reductions we will balance our operating expenditures in the current year," said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general secretary, "but our assets will continue to be depleted to pay for our litigation costs."
The church's General Synod (its national structure) and eight of its 30 independent dioceses, or regions, are named in about 350 suits for cultural, physical and sexual abuse at the schools. In some cases the church is named directly, in others it has been brought into the suit as a third party by the Government of Canada, which is also being sued.
The residential schools operated into the 1980s under government control. Churches, including the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Churches, participated in operating the schools until 1969.
Archdeacon Boyles said the church is continuing to urge the Government of Canada to stop pursuing lawsuits as its primary response to the more than 7,000 individuals who are seeking compensation. "We agree with the Law Commission of Canada that a redress mechanism would offer a better means of meeting the needs of people who were harmed in the schools," he said.
"We have told the government that we could make a substantial commitment, both financially and in other ways, to support such a redress program". There has been no response from government, he said".
The church committed itself to a new relationship with Indigenous people in 1969, when its involvement in the residential schools ended. It established its Healing and Reconciliation Fund in 1991, after hearing reports of abuses in the schools. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers gave an apology on behalf of the church for its participation in the schools.
The Healing and Reconciliation Fund is administered by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. It provides grants in support of community-based healing initiatives for Indigenous groups. Since its inception, the fund has provided about $600,000 to assist with 60 healing projects. Financial support for Indigenous ministries, including the work of the Council and the Healing Fund, will increase from $262,000 to $547,000 annually.
The continuing drain of litigation costs and other factors have lead to the current reductions. Other impacts include:
- reduction of work in environmental and social justice areas, and reduction of support for a number of inter-church coalitions working in these areas
- reduction in the number of pages in the national newspaper, the `Anglican Journal'
- elimination of the national Resource Centre, which provided loans of videos and other resources to support parish ministries.
Ten staff positions have been eliminated at the church's national office, but two new ones have been created, leaving a net reduction of eight full time positions. Those affected have been provided with a severance package and relocation assistance, Archdeacon Boyles said. The staff reductions are effective immediately; grant reductions will come into full effect in 2001, if the church's national executive committee approves the proposed budget.
A complete report on the reductions is available at www.anglican.ca/church.
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For further information contact: Archdeacon Jim Boyles, 416-924-9199 ext. 280
Residential Schools, Legacy and Hope (`Ministry Matters' special edition), http://www.anglican.ca/mm/2000/legacy/
Healing and Reconciliation Fund, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/healing/
Other resources related to the Residential schools, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/rs/
`Restoring Dignity': Report of the Law Commission of Canada, www.lcc.gc.ca/
Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); During May 4-7. 416-540-3653 www.anglican.ca
TORONTO (March 5, 2003) -- Representatives of the federal government and the Anglican Church of Canada will officially sign an agreement on residential schools lawsuits, reached last November, at the church's national office next Tuesday, March 11 .
The agreement, announced in Ottawa on Nov. 20, establishes a Settlement Fund to which the church will contribute $25-million and which will be used to compensate former students of residential schools with proven claims of sexual or physical abuse.
It will be formally signed 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Anglican Church's national office at 600 Jarvis Street in Toronto. It comes into effect on March 15 .
Before being signed, the agreement had to be ratified by each of the church's 30 dioceses. The dioceses also had to agree to commit a total of $22-million over the next five years to a settlement fund. General Synod, the Anglican Church's national organization, contributed $3-million.
The dioceses concluded the ratification process last month and the goal of $22-million in contributions was met, with most dioceses contributing a percentage of their budget similar to the amount given annually to General Synod. Although the agreement requires the dioceses to pay into the Settlement Fund in quarterly installments over the next five years, several dioceses have said they will pay the full amount immediately.
If compensation amounts to more than $25-million, the federal government will pay the rest. It is less, the extra money will be returned to the dioceses.
Signing on behalf of the church at Tuesday's ceremony will be Archbishop Michael Peers, the Anglican Primate, and federal Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale, whose portfolio includes responsibility for residential schools resolution.
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod and the chief Anglican negotiator during talks with the federal government, said the church wanted to have the signing at its national office so that General Synod staff who have worked under circumstances of extreme uncertainty for the past three years could attend and witness the signing.
Also attending the signing ceremony will be representatives of both the Anglican and government negotiating teams who worked for several years before an agreement was reached.
The Anglican Church was involved, with the federal government, in operating 26 residential schools from the mid-19th century until the 1970s. In 1993, Archbishop Peers formally apologized to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
The Anglican Church was named in about 2,200 of more than 12,000 lawsuits launched against the federal government.
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Contact: For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Acting Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod, 416-924-9199 ext. 280; email@example.com
TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2003 -- The Anglican Church of Canada's commitment to raising $25-million for a residential schools settlement fund has not changed, despite a British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling that the government is solely responsible for liability arising from abuse at the schools.
In a statement, Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of the Anglican Church's General Synod, said the church will study all the implications of the judgement. He noted that the federal government has 60 days in which to decide if it will appeal the B.C. court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
He also stressed that throughout the residential schools' negotiations with the government, the chief goal of the Anglican church was to effect healing and reconciliation with former students of the schools who suffered physical and sexual abuse.
The has not changed either, he said.
In a unanimous judgement released last week, the B.C. Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the United Church against a previous judgment that had assessed liability at 75 per cent against the government and 25 per cent against the church in a case of sexual abuse by a residential school employee.
In overturning that decision, the B.C. court ruled that "the church should not, in this case, have been held liable for the wrongdoings of (the employee) even if there is some merit to be found in the contention that it was, in some degree, his employer".
Archdeacon Boyles noted that the position taken by the courts is what the Anglican church had argued for several years before it reached an agreement with the federal government capping its liability at $25-million earlier this year. That agreement committed the Anglican General Synod and the church's 30 dioceses to collectively raise a $25-million settlement fund over the next five years. Money from this fund will be used to compensate former residential schools students with proven claims, but the government assumes responsibility for all claims after the $25-million fund has been expended. To date, Anglicans have generously contributed more than $7-million to the fund and $1.5 million has been paid to about 60 claimants.
Archdeacon Boyles noted, however, that there is a clause in the Anglican church's agreement that says if the government and another church negotiate terms more favourable to that church than those in the Anglican agreement, then the more favourable terms will apply to the Anglican church as well. He said he would seek further discussions with the government in this regard.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod, 416-924-9199 ext. 280, email@example.com
"If, however, the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the watchmen responsible for their death." (Ezekiel 33:6)
On March 10th , after prayerful consideration, we, as members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, met with Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, to urge him not to sign the Settlement Agreement between the Anglican Church and the Government of Canada until changes were made to prevent re-victimization of survivors and promote true healing and restoration.
At our meeting from March 6 to 9th, 2003, we reviewed the Settlement Agreement for the first time as a Council. We shared in the Circle our fears and pain concerning the contents of the Agreement and its implications for Indigenous peoples. In essence, we fear that the Agreement and its related documents will have damaging effects upon survivors and their descendants.
We oppose the requirement of survivors to waive all future claims for loss of language and culture in order to gain a settlement for physical and sexual abuse -- a requirement which we understand to be an extinguishment of our Aboriginal rights to our languages, cultures, and traditions. We are appalled by the torturous nature of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process that is currently being drafted by the Federal government, in consultation with the Anglican Church, and fear that such a process will further violate survivors while offering most of them very little compensation in return.
We believe that the effects of the Agreement and its related documents have not been widely discussed or understood in the wider Church due to the lack of meaningful consultation with ACIP [Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples], as well as the rushed timeframe of discussions within the dioceses and their overwhelming focus on the financial aspects of the Agreement.
All of these concerns we have expressed to the Primate, as well as to other leaders of the National church. We are deeply saddened by the fact that these concerns have not been deemed sufficient to warrant a delay in the signing of the Agreement.
In 1994, representatives of our people signed a Covenant in which we agreed to call our people into unity in a new, self-determining community within the Anglican Church of Canada. At that time, we extended the hand of partnership to all those of the broader church who would help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada. In 1995, the General Synod of the Anglican Church accepted that extended hand and pledged to walk in partnership with us.
It is with heavy hearts that we declare that neither the content of the Settlement Agreement itself nor the process by which it has been negotiated reflects that covenant of partnership. Our responsibility now, as representatives of Indigenous Anglicans from across the country, is to inform our people of the pitfalls of the Agreement, and to warn them of the dangers of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.
As the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, we want to declare that on March 11th , when the Settlement Agreement is signed and made official by the Primate on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada, he will not be doing so in our name.
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Contact: Andrew Wesley, ACIP Co-chair 416-922-3871 or 416-504-9416; Todd Russell, ACIP Co-chair 709-896-1377 or 709-896-0592; Maria Jane Highway, ACIP Member 205-627-0015 or 205-623-3311
QUESNEL, Friday, October 13, 2000 -- What may be the final synod, or annual meeting, of the Diocese of Cariboo began this afternoon in the usual way, with worship.
Approximately 85 members of the diocese represent its 17 parishes, which stretch along the Fraser and Thompson Rivers from Merritt to Prince George. Over the next three days, gathered in a community recreation center in Quesnel, they will consider the unprecedented possibility of winding up the diocese as a result of lawsuits arising from abuse that took place more than 30 years ago at St. George's School, Lytton.
St. George's was founded by the New England Company, an independent mission agency based in England, and eventually sold to the Government of Canada. Under the terms of the sale, the Bishop of Cariboo could nominate an Anglican priest as principal. The federal department of Indian Affairs had authority to accept or reject this nomination. The government operated St. George's until the early 1970s.
Derek Clarke, a former dormitory supervisor at St. George's, has been convicted of sexual abuse. Following the conviction a number of Clarke's victims launched lawsuits for damages against the Government of Canada and, in some cases, against the church.
Only one case has come to judgment, and it is now under appeal. The Diocese of Cariboo is a defendant in an additional 14 cases. Twelve of these cases are third-party actions brought by the federal Department of Justice. According to the audited financial statements to be presented to this synod, Cariboo's legal fees in respect of these actions totaled approximately $350,000 from 1998 until August 2, 2000 (the date of the Auditor's report).
The diocese has informed the court that it can no longer afford to be represented in the continuing legal actions.
During the opening session of the synod, Indigenous members of the diocese enacted a story "jumping off the cradle board", representing the way in which Indigenous peoples are restricted by poverty and cultural loss. The play generated a deep emotional response as all members of the synod eventually became drawn into "freeing" a young person who had been symbolically bound.
Earlier, in the opening worship, Archbishop David Crawley drew a parallel between the Diocese of Cariboo, facing possible bankruptcy, and the biblical story of the people of Israel, crossing the wilderness. "Crossing the wilderness is a common theme in the Old Testament," Archbishop Crawley said. It was in the wilderness that the people had their most direct encounters with God.
"If it is true that our church is entering a wilderness, will we also encounter God ? The answer depends on whether we make [the] same mistakes the Israelites made," Archbishop Crawley said. "If we rebuild the temple for our own purposes, and turn it into a kind of club, then we will not meet God and all our building will be in vain. But if we understand that we are going through the wilderness in order to rebuild ourselves as a place of service, a center of reconciliation, then we will meet God."
This evening the diocesan Chancellor, Bud Smith, is scheduled to give the synod an overview of its legal and financial situation. He will present three resolutions (which will be discussed beginning Saturday morning) intended to give the bishop and diocesan executive the ability to respond to changing circumstances over the next few months.
One authorizes the bishop and executive to formally wind up the affairs of the diocese during the next 12 months. Another would allow the diocese to negotiate a settlement with the Government of Canada "provided that any such proposal must be sustainable from resources within the Diocese of Cariboo or its successor and must be of direct benefit to victims of abuse at St. George's Residential School."
The third authorizes the use of an arbitration procedure between the diocese and the government to determine whether parish buildings are owned by the diocese or held in trust for the parish. Government lawyers have claimed that parish buildings are assets of the diocese and should be turned over to the government.
The Right Reverend James Cruickshank, bishop of the diocese since 1992, will give "he bishop's charge" Saturday morning. The synod continues through Saturday afternoon.
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For further information contact: Rt. Rev. Jim Cruickshank, Bishop of Cariboo 250-376-0112; Most Rev. David Crawley, Archbishop of Kootenay and Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon 250-762-3306; During the Synod, Bishop Cruickshank and Archbishop Crawley may be reached care of Doug Tindal, 416-540-3653
Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); www.anglican.ca
General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will continue to work with the federal government on a proposal that addresses abuse claims stemming from the Indian residential school system. While a recent Alberta court decision dismissed lawsuits against General Synod relating to residential school abuse claims in Alberta, General Synod believes it is important to reach a settlement based on moral and financial reasons.
"Given the moral and financial considerations, we believe it is important that we continue to work with the government to negotiate a settlement to address residential school abuse claims," said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod.
"We believe a settlement will move us closer to more positive relations between the Church and Indigenous Peoples. Healing and reconciliation continue to be our primary goal and reaching a settlement with the government will help facilitate that," he said.
"As a Church, we have acknowledged our moral obligation regarding our involvement in the residential school system, and we believe it is important to act accordingly. We've said our primary goal in reaching a settlement with the government regarding liability stemming from abuse claims is to enable our work of healing and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities. This goal remains notwithstanding the Alberta Court decision.
We would like to find a way in which the Anglican bodies involved can make a legitimate contribution to settlements and continue to work towards healing and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities".
In addition to the moral obligation, General Synod is concerned that it still faces severe financial challenges as a result of legal costs given that the Alberta Court decision is likely to be appealed by the government and may not be applicable to claims in other provincial jurisdictions. On October 24 , The Honourable Mr. Justice T.F. McMahon of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta dismissed all claims against General Synod based on the finding that it, at no time, had any responsibility or involvement in the management, operations, supervision or staffing of the Residential Schools in Alberta. While the decision did not dismiss claims against the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada, it did acknowledge that General Synod and the Missionary Society are distinct corporate entities, with neither body bearing liability for the other.
While General Synod welcomed the Alberta Court decision, its legal counsel cautioned that the federal government will likely appeal the decision, and a higher court could overturn the decision. Should higher courts continue to rule in General Synod's favour, General Synod will continue to face considerable legal costs as the matter works its way through the court system. As well, legal counsel has cautioned that the decision may not be considered relevant in other provincial jurisdictions where abuse claims have been filed.
"To date, General Synod has spent a considerable amount on legal costs relating to residential school abuse claims", said Boyles. "A settlement with the government means that funds would be directed to survivors of abuse whose claims have been vindicated, rather than being used up in litigation and for legal costs".
On October 24 , representatives of General Synod presented a draft proposal, developed during nine months of negotiations between General Synod and government representatives, would need ratification by both the Federal Government and the Dioceses that form the Anglican Church of Canada. At present, details of the draft proposal are confidential.