IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Truth and Reconciliation Commission and closing the gap with First Nations

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, more words are not needed; action is needed.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was clear, in order to achieve reconciliation we need a new relationship based on mutual respect, a nation-to-nation relationship.

    However, despite the many moving stories Canadians heard yesterday, the Prime Minister is still insisting that he will not implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    In the spirit of reconciliation, I ask the Conservatives again, will they listen to the commission and implement the UN declaration?

    Mr. Mark Strahl (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I said, Canada is one of the only countries in the world where aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized in our Constitution.

     We have endorsed the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We have also done more than that. We have extended the rights on reserve to women. Women living on reserve were given the same rights as women living off reserve. We brought the Canadian Human Rights Act to bear on reserve. When we do that, the opposition also votes against it.

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): 

    Mr. Speaker, reconciliation is about more than just words. It is also about taking concrete action. We need to start fresh, in a nation-to-nation relationship, and that is what the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples would allow us to do. However, the Prime Minister is still caught up in his ideology.

    Why is he refusing to protect the fundamental rights of aboriginal peoples? Why?

    Mr. Mark Strahl (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC): Mr. Speaker, actions do speak louder than words. Every time that we take action to improve the lives of first nation people, the NDP votes against it. We have brought in matrimonial property rights for women living on reserve. We have brought in water and waste water standards, like all other Canadians expect, for Canadians living on reserve. We have brought in the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect people living on reserve. The NDP always votes against aboriginal Canadians whenever it is presented with the chance here in the House.

 

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