NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he and many Canadians reacted with "horror at what had happened to these children."
"We as a nation saw people around the country continue to hold memorials to reflect on this horror, to reflect on what this means," Singh said. "What it means very clearly is these residential schools were not schools; they were institutions designed to eradicate and eliminate Indigenous people. They were institutions that were designed to perpetuate a genocide."
Several NDP MPs pressed that point. Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East, urged Pam Damoff, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of indigenous services, to adopt the word "genocide" in reference to residential schools.
"In order to move forward on closure and to honour the children and the lives that's been lost, we must also accept and acknowledge and admit that this was genocide," Kwan said. "Will the member call this a genocide and not a cultural genocide but genocide as defined by the UN convention on genocide?"