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Canada’s minister of northern affairs says the religious leaders who operated the residential school system in Canada should be held accountable for any crimes committed. “Of course they need to be charged. This is the sort of thing you read about in another country, you don’t read about this in Canada, but if people are still alive, then we need to do all things necessary to achieve justice, of course we need to bring charges forward,” said Dan Vandal in an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday. However, the minister didn’t indicate concrete plans to lay charges. His comments come days after the discovery of more than 700 unmarked graves at the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. Weeks earlier, 215 remains were found at the site of the former Kamloops, B.C., residential school. Since then, Ottawa has faced mounting pressure to take action. In early June, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said the federal government would distribute $27 million in pre-announced funding to assist Indigenous communities in locating and memorializing children who died at residential schools.

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