Bill C-15: An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Mr. Speaker, there is so much to say here and so much to clarify. The arguments are extremely nuanced. The implications of this bill are profound. There are voices that must still be empowered through this process. This is for all of Canada. Canadians deserve a fulsome debate. MPs deserve the opportunity to contribute to that fulsome debate.
Would the minister agree that even good, progressive legislation has to go through the parliamentary process? We need to have these conversations out in the open. There are many voices, on either side of the bill, who should have their day in the House of Commons. Would the minister agree?
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague so much for her incredible, impactful words today. She has articulated so many of the things that need to be said more often in this House.
I have struggled with this bill. I have high hopes, but I also have those same concerns and that same mistrust. I am thinking of court cases, child welfare, residential school survivors, the boil water advisories, the lack of action on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, the snail’s pace of implementing the TRC recommendations, the poverty, the state of housing.
I wonder, will this bill truly address the situation? For communities on the ground, day-to-day band operations, what will this mean in practice? That is the question I am having trouble articulating. Is it symbolism over substance, or can I believe in Canada this time around?
Madam Speaker, resource development and extraction have offered some opportunities for first nation communities: training, jobs, accommodation agreements and perhaps economic prosperity in certain cases. The trouble with highlighting only the positive is that it lacks integrity; it comes off as disingenuous. We know many of the ways that resource development and extraction have actually used and abused indigenous territories and peoples.
Could the member comment on some of the ways that missing and murdered indigenous women are impacted by, say, man camps that accompany this development?
Madam Speaker, we have heard about how quickly we need to pass this piece of legislation, and I understand that perfection in a perfect world is not necessarily what we can aim for.
Significant amendments must be made to this bill. I would like to hear the member’s comments on that, specifically about the lack of true intent around including the word “racism.” It is not there. We see instead “systemic discrimination”, and a measure to address injustices. Why does a hesitancy to address racism exist? Could the member comment on that?
Madam Speaker, I want to ask quickly about some of the words we use. Language is so important, and “reconciliation” has been said time and time again in the House. I have heard from many people who feel that this word is actually losing some of its meaning. In fact, if we think of reconciliation, it means to reconcile, to improve what was perhaps once a good relationship, which we know was not the case.
Could the member speak about reparations and what we could actually be doing in Canada to ensure that we repair a broken relationship?