OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — A motion to condemn incidents of arson and vandalism of churches across Canada was stuck down by Liberal and NDP Members of Parliament (MPs).
On October 24, Liberal and NDP MPs at the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee voted to adjourn rather than consider a motion proposed by Conservative MP Arnold Viersen which would denounce the arson and vandalism of 83 Canadian churches, especially those within Indigenous communities.
“What has happened over the past few years with reconciliation and with churches and with the Pope coming to apologize, there’s a deep need for reflection and reconciliation, but I really want to get to the end of this study,” Liberal MP Jaime Battiste argued.
“We’ve called to adjourn debate on this,” Battiste added. “I would like to call to adjourn debate on this if that’s what we can do, so we can hear the rest of the study, but if we have to, then I would rather discuss it in camera because it does have a way of triggering a lot of people who went through residential schools and the things they are going through.”
Battiste’s motion was quickly passed with seven votes in favor and four against.
Viersen, an Alberta MP, had requested that the committee “in particular extend their condolences to the community of Grouard and Kapawe’no First Nation with the loss of Saint Bernard Church, one of the oldest churches in Alberta, a piece of history and a building that holds memories for generations of community members and that the committee reaffirm freedom of religion and assembly and call for those responsible for these attacks to be brought to justice.”
Viersen’s suggestion came as over 100 churches, mostly Catholic, have been burned down or vandalized in Canada after the government and media began pushing the misleading narrative that potential “unmarked graves” – soil disturbances picked up by ground-penetrating radar – had been discovered at Catholic-run residential schools.
At one such location in Manitoba, a four-week-long excavation led by the First Nation’s tribe Minegoziibe Ashinabe failed to discover any human remains.
In 2021 and 2022, the mainstream media ran with inflammatory and dubious claims that hundreds of children were buried and disregarded by Catholic priests and nuns who ran some of the schools.
Last year, Canada’s House of Commons under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, declared the residential schools to be formally defined as a “genocide” despite no indication that was the case.
Despite the lack of real evidence, Trudeau has failed to apologize for accusing the Catholic Church of abusing and murdering Indigenous children at residential schools.
Trudeau in 2021 waited weeks before acknowledging the church vandalism, and when he did speak, said it is “understandable” that churches have been burned while acknowledging it to be “unacceptable and wrong.” He later also demanded that Pope Francis apologize for the Church’s role in operating the now-defunct, government-mandated school program.
Viersen condemned the decision to end the debate, saying, “On Oct. 24, I introduced a motion at the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee where I serve as a member to condemn the arson attacks on over 80 churches across Canada, extend condolences to local affected communities, and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”
“These losses of church buildings have been devastating to these communities as these churches are places of milestones—weddings, funerals, baptisms,” he added.
“Many of the arson incidents targeted churches on First Nations territory, including St. Bernard Catholic Church in Grouard, Alberta which was completely engulfed in flames earlier this year as a result of an arson,” Viersen explained.
“In my community this past summer, Grouard, the St. Bernard church, one of the oldest churches in Alberta, was burned down,” he said. “Community members were gathered there – many from Kapawe’no First Nation – remembered the funerals, the baptisms and the weddings that had taken place in that community.”