Pope Francis travels this Wednesday from Edmonton to Quebec, in eastern Canada, to begin the second stage of the six-day tour of the North American country that began on Sunday and that until now has focused on asking for forgiveness from indigenous people. for the role of Christians in the controversial boarding schools that operated for almost the entire 20th century with practices that he described as “colonialist.”
The pontiff departs from Edmonton, in the west of the country, at 9 a.m. aboard the Ita Airways Airbus A330, in which he is accompanied by an envoy from Télam and other media throughout the tour, and will arrive in Quebec at 3 p.m. locals (16 from Argentina) after four hours of flight.
Once there, the pontiff will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then address civil authorities, representatives of indigenous populations and the diplomatic corps, scheduled for 4:45 p.m. local time (5:45 p.m. in Argentina).
Trudeau, who received the Pope on Sunday upon his arrival in Canada, highlighted in a statement the request for forgiveness that the pontiff made on Monday to indigenous peoples for the behavior of Christians in boarding schools that operated between 1883 and 1996 and that marks the visit schedule.
Francis, Trudeau said in a statement, “recognized the abuses experienced in residential schools that resulted in cultural destruction, loss of life, and ongoing trauma experienced by indigenous peoples in every region of this country.”
In addition to the request for forgiveness that he expressed on Monday for the “evil” that some Christians did during the residential school regime that was applied in Canada between 1883 and 1996, the Pope described the experience of these boarding schools as “disastrous” and described as a “tragedy” that caused a “cultural destruction” the prohibition that was applied to the natives to use their language.
For Francisco, as he stated in his first speeches in Canada, they were colonialist practices that had “terrible effects” on the local inhabitants.
Francisco concentrated his first three days of activities on gestures towards the local natives, to the point that he visited their territories around Edmonton, used their languages in fragments of his speeches and allowed himself to be photographed wearing a typical feathered headdress given to him by one of the indigenous chiefs.
Alone, and using a wheelchair with which he travels in Canada, he starred in two prayers in emblematic places for the Inuit, Métis and First Nations peoples: a cemetery next to one of the old residential schools and a lake where the natives considered miraculous more than a hundred years ago.
The pope will stay in Quebec until Friday, when he will travel to the northern city of Iqaluit for the last leg of the trip and return to Rome later that afternoon, where he is scheduled to land at 7 a.m. Saturday.