National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity for us to honour the important contributions that Indigenous peoples make to Canada — and to celebrate their rich culture, traditions and history.
Today, we must also recognize that Canada can do better.
Too many First Nations communities lack the properly funded schools and adequate housing options that other Canadians enjoy. Slow progress on settling land claims and respecting treaty rights is leading to growing frustration. They are tired of having their concerns ignored — on everything from education policy to resource development to justice for missing and murdered aboriginal women.
When Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government for the residential schools policy, he promised a new direction. Instead, he seems to have forgotten why it was necessary to apologize in the first place.
After years of paternalism and systemic discrimination from successive federal governments, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples deserve better.
That’s why my New Democrat team is committed to building new relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. Because we know that the only path forward is through nation-to-nation dialogue built on a foundation of respect.