Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis is saddened by recent violent acts against the Catholic church.
The local member of Parliament took to Twitter late in June to speak up after several Catholic churches were burnt down or vandalized across Canada. Many of these attacks are believed to be in reaction to over 1,500 unmarked graves found so far at several former residential school sites.
Residential schools were set up by the Canadian government and administered by churches with the intention of assimilating Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian and Christian ways of living. The schools ran for over 150 years, with the last school closing in 1996 and caused many long-term problems among Indigenous communities.
"Of course, everybody agrees that what happened in residential schools was absolutely horrible," said Genuis. "I think it's right to be angry about acts of injustice that happened in the past and present, and there are lots of constructive ways for people to respond to those injustices."
In his comments on Twitter, Genuis stated there has been wrong done in the name of every religion but blaming all Catholics or the entire Catholic church for the "actions of a few" does not help with reconciliation and risks encouraging further violence.
"I think it's pretty clear cut that these kinds of things shouldn't be happening in Canada or anywhere else."
He encouraged people who are angry about what happened to get involved with their government and get their representatives to speak up on their behalf.
Genuis also believes it is important for the federal government to give more economic development opportunities for Indigenous communities and move beyond the framework of the Indian Act, the primary law the federal government uses to govern the Indigenous peoples, which has been amended several times due to discriminatory issues, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.
St. Jean Baptiste Church in Morinville was recently burnt to the ground in a suspicious fire, though it has not been confirmed if the fire is related in any way.