Members of the all political parties stood together in the House of Commons May 2 to call for an official government apology to residential school survivors.

The Liberal motion passed 257-0.

Despite full Conservative support for the motion, Tory Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said a formal apology could be years away as he concentrates on implementing a compensation deal worth more than $2 billion. Prentice said he prefers to wait until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission deems an apology necessary or warranted.

“How can Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Indian Affairs Minister still argue that an apology is not warranted?” countered Liberal Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville.

“The facts behind the sad legacy of the residential schools era are well established. Indian Residential schools were places of disease, hunger, overcrowding and despair. Many children died.”

The offer to about 80,000 former residential school students is expected to be finalized by September.

The former Liberal government acknowledged in 1998 that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant for much of the last century.