OTTAWA – Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes spoke in the House of Commons last night in an emergency debate to show her concern with funding cuts for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation is a not-for-profit, Aboriginal-run institution that endows grants for programming which provides support for the survivors and families of the Residential School System. It is an integral part of the healing process for Aboriginal people who were impacted by residential schools. The foundation, which was established in 1998, and has been funded by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, has been removed from this year’s federal budget.

“It is not enough to simply make apologies for the residential school system,” Hughes exclaimed in the House of Commons. “It is essential that these programs remain in place to help those who have been touched by these wrongdoings to allow their voices to be heard. We need programs in place to help those who are still suffering from the torment of abuse to be able to allow their emotional scars to heal. We need programs like the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to ensure that the apology the government has made to the aboriginal people of Canada adds up to more than just flowery language.”

“The Aboriginal Healing Foundation is of vital importance to the reconciliation of First Nations people in Canada,” Hughes exclaimed. “The foundation provides services and community-based Aboriginal healing initiatives from a community perspective. Instead of being a top down government run organization, the AHF works in collaboration with communities to provide grants that allow for healing initiatives that operate at the local level.”

The debate, which began at 6 p.m., continued until midnight.