An article by Adrian Humphreys, published in National Post, 39 May 2008, available at: http://www.nationalpost.com/most-popular/reconciliation+truth+compatible/552834/story.html. Canada is one of the few consolidated democracies to establish a truth commission. Here are some excerpts:
On Monday morning, when the three commissioners gather for the first time in an Ottawa office to begin their monumental five-year task of leading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into aboriginal abuse in the residential school system, Canada will take its historical place alongside such tarnished regimes as South Africa, Chile, El Salvador and Sierra Leone. As the first democratic, Western government to host such an emotionally laden and politically charged forum — a name and a process that is as acclaimed for its positive therapeutic value as it is criticized for assuaging guilt without punishment — there is much hope for constructive change and fear of colossal disappointment. There are questions of appropriateness and outcome; of scope and purpose; of who is getting the truth and who will be reconciled. As the commission begins its work, critics are already asking victims to boycott it, calling it a “sham” and a “whitewash.” Questions also come from the man named to lead the commission, Justice Harry LaForme, an Ontario judge who was the first aboriginal person to sit on any appellate court in Canada.