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Catholic officials said in 2015 they could only fundraise a total of $3.9 million for residential school survivors, but efforts for Catholic cathedrals and other buildings across Canada reached nearly $300 million since November 2005, according to data gathered by CBC News. The actual number may be higher. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops declined a CBC News request this week to ask its member bishops for the information. The figure of $292 million resulted from searches of individual dioceses’ websites and other public sources. These include a $128-million renovation of St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto. The 2016 gala opening — complete with a brass band — was held one year after Canadian church groups went to court to say there was no more fundraising money for survivors. Critics say these figures throw into question the church’s legal claim it gave “best efforts” to help survivors. “They didn’t keep their promise. You can’t just say, ‘Oh we tried. That’s too bad,’ ” Star Blanket Cree Nation Chief Michael Starr said. “There is a lot of hate, a lot of anger out there. The church has to work with us. It has to be tangible. Keep your promise.”

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