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Quesnel BC Council to face tough questions from Frances Widdowson

Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Widdowson, co-author of Grave Error: How the Media Misled Us (and the Truth about Residential Schools) author to attend Quesnel council meeting on April 2

CALGARY, AB – TheNewswire – April 1, 2024: Frances Widdowson, one of the authors of the book Grave Error: How the Media Misled Us (and the Truth about Residential Schools), will be travelling to Quesnel on April 2 to attend the city’s Regular Council meeting and ask questions in the Gallery.

On March 19, city councillors made the following motion:

MOVED Councillor Goulet, Seconded Councillor Roodenburg and resolved THAT Quesnel City Council stands with Lhtako Dene and all Indigenous Nations denouncing the book “Garve Error: How the Media Misled Us (and the Truth about Residential Schools;

AND THAT Quesnel City Council agrees with the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Widdowson doubts that any of the people denouncing Grave Error have actually read it. “The major issue discussed in Grave Error,” says Widdowson, “is the fact that it has been falsely claimed that there were over 200 clandestine burials at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. There is no evidence that this is the case, and it is highly unlikely as not one parent has claimed that their child went missing there.”

On May 27, 2021, an indigenous group in Kamloops issued a press release announcing “the confirmation of the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School” in an apple orchard next to what was the residential school.

In July, Sarah Beaulieu, the young anthropologist who scanned the site with ground penetrating radar (GPR) then clarified that she had found only “targets of interest”, not evidence of any bodies.

Widdowson, a political scientist fired from Mount Royal University for saying that the residential schools provided benefits that children might not otherwise have received, states that “no author is denying that abuse occurred at the schools or that many people were harmed.” According to Widdowson, “the schools were often underfunded and insensitive to the social dislocation indigenous people were experiencing.”

Facing opposition is nothing new for Widdowson. In February 2023, Widdowson calmly interacted with hundreds of protesters at the University of Lethbridge. She is now suing the University of Lethbridge for violating her Charter rights.

“It is important not to be intimidated by people who want to suppress ideas,” Widdowson points out, “as we need to hear different positions to improve our understanding. Even at the University of Lethbridge, I was able to have a good conversation about the residential schools with an indigenous man in the crowd”.

Tom Flanagan, one of the editors of Grave Error and a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, says that he knows Widdowson well and thinks that she is one of the best people to ask Quesnel city councillors questions about why they denounced the book. “Widdowson is a principled defender of free speech and she knows what is at stake”.

For further information contact:

Frances Widdowson

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