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July 22nd, 2021

REALITY CHECK: Liberals think Indigenous people need to “get over” the injustice they face

Over the past few months, many Canadians have been forced to confront the violence and injustice faced by Indigenous people throughout our history and into the present day. And while the Liberal government has come out with nice words and symbolic gestures, underneath has made little effort to fix the bigger issues facing Indigenous people.

Back in 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau said: “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Our Government is working together with Indigenous Peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship – one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.” ( PMO June 21, 2017)

But in the six years the Liberals have been in power only a fraction of the 94 TRC Calls To Action have been into place and they have done little to address the MMIWG crisis.

This government seems to only care about appearing to do the right thing when it comes to Indigenous relations. In reality, they don’t care. And with the news of the culture in Minister Bennett's office, now we see why they’ve done so little to advance reconciliation with Indigenous people.

Indigenous employees in the Minister’s office were told to “get over” and “move on” from the atrocities committed by Canada against Indigenous people and that discussing a murdered relative, during a meeting about MMIWG, was “not warranted”. (CBC, July 21, 2021)

In Minister Bennett’s office, Indigenous staff were often left out of the inner circle, excluding them from decision making. The PMO was even informed but did nothing to address the toxic culture. (CBC, July 21, 2021)

And Minister Bennett has played a vital role in denying residential school survivors from St Anne’s the compensation they are owed and continuing legal battles against Indigenous children. Bennet even stated that Cindy Blackstock’s ongoing challenge to compensate First Nations children is for “her own ego”.

Why should Indigenous people in Canada have confidence in the Liberal government, when those in power and those working behind the scenes consciously choose to ignore the voices of Indigenous people and minimize their trauma.

As the long as this government is in power, we will get no closer to reconciliation.

Indigenous people deserve better.