An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)

Sponsor

Georgina Jolibois  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of April 2, 2019

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-369.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends certain Acts to make National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, observed on September 30, a holiday.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

March 20, 2019 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-369, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)
Sept. 26, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-369, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous Peoples Day)

National Day for Truth and ReconciliationStatements By Members

March 20th, 2019 / 2:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the span of 130 years, 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly taken from their parents and placed in Indian residential schools. The goal was to assimilate them into Canadian society and make them forget their culture and their history.

Today, I will be voting in favour of Bill C-369, which seeks to designate September 30 as a national day for truth and reconciliation. The date was chosen to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, which was created by Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley. I want to thank them for their leadership, and I also want to thank the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River for introducing this vitally important bill.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2019 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code, regarding national indigenous peoples day.

As we spoke about this and had several witnesses come to the committee, it became evident that there was no consensus on this issue. There were a lot of differences of opinion and a lot of different ideas expressed. Not being able to reach consensus, one of the amendments I proposed was to just withdraw one of our national holidays as it is named and replace it with this particular one. That was not accepted and had to be withdrawn. However, let me say why I would suggest that.

The goal of the legislation is absolutely laudable for reconciliation with indigenous peoples as a national objective, but I am not sure that adding a different national holiday, as described in this process, makes sense because of the variety of opinions and reasons we heard discussed at the committee.

The residential schools were a dark chapter in Canada's history. We understand that. In 2008, Prime Minister Harper delivered a historic apology to former students, their families and communities for Canada's role in the operation of the schools.

Our former Conservative government also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the 2007 Indian residential schools settlement agreement. That agreement recognized that the residential school system had a profoundly lasting and damaging impact on indigenous culture, heritage and language. I know there are several members in the House who had connections to those residential schools. I can only speak from the opportunity I have had to visit those residential schools in recent times.

My mother was a teacher who taught in a former residential school, after it had been changed from a residential school to a band-controlled school, so it was a different building at that time. I have had the opportunity to walk through residential schools with elders and listen to the stories they tell about the disastrous, horrendous things that happened to them as children in these particular schools. I have had that experience. Although that is nothing comparable, I have had a little insight.

We must remember this dark chapter in our history and do our best to achieve reconciliation. However, the government must also keep its promises to improve the lives of indigenous peoples. I sat in the committee for the last number of days, hour after hour, listening to great indigenous people talk about indigenous languages and what they need to do to deal with those languages, because it is such an integral part of their lives, their communities and their nations.

I think about the historic challenges we have with that piece of legislation as proposed, and we have had all sorts of members in the House bring up issues about clean drinking water for reserves, improved education and improved housing. When I think about a national holiday, we have to look at the cost of this if all federal employees were on a paid holiday. What does that do for reconciliation if those people have a paid holiday?

What if we were to take those hundreds of thousands of dollars, and some people would say hundreds of billions of dollars, up to a bigger number, and put that directly into the indigenous languages program? We do not have the funding in there now. Other than this term “adequate” and three commissioners, there is no funding and most of our witnesses talked about the issue of funding for indigenous languages.

If we were instead to take the money that would have given federal employees a holiday and put it into the indigenous languages program, which is so critical to the foundation of these particular bands, indigenous cultures, Métis and Inuit settlements and put that money into reconciliation, into something that would work for them, that would be a benefit for their culture because it would bring their languages more to life.

We could also talk about drinking water. If we took those hundreds of millions of dollars and put it directly into drinking water, that would also be a good move.

There have been many issues brought up and addressed with housing and the horrendous conditions of housing. If we took that money and instead of giving it as a holiday for federal employees, put it into housing, it would make much more sense. I suggested an amendment that we take one of our national holidays now and substitute this one in. Some indigenous groups came to see us. I understand totally that June 21, the solstice, the first day of summer, is an incredible day, one that is celebrated. Many heritage activities take place. Many schools are involved in it.

In many parts of the country there are many Remembrance Day activities that occur without a national holiday. Many of the witnesses at committee talked about the importance of June 21 as a celebration, a solstice, as the beginning of summer. We would all like to have it warm up a little here and spring to come soon, but the significance of June 21 was important to many of our witnesses.

The other important one is Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is specifically for reconciliation for the residential schools. Many of our witnesses talked about the importance of recognizing Orange Shirt Day and many of the stories we heard from witnesses were about residential schools, the challenges and the horrendous things that happened and why Orange Shirt Day was important.

Again, there was a difference of opinion. Some of them would say we should have recognition on June 21 and other people wanted Orange Shirt Day as recognition. I proposed removing one of the statutory holidays we have now because there was no agreement between either date. Some would say if we cannot agree on one or the other, just do both. That is not quite what the witnesses wanted either.

It occurred to me that we had a very short time period trying to make a decision for other people again. When we talked to witnesses, the consultation was too short. It did not give them the time to look at this issue and discuss whether it was June 21, Orange Shirt Day or another day that could be used. They did not have the time to consult across the country and bring a voice back to us to say this is what they want. We have a piece of legislation telling them what they should do. Let us do more of what we thought we should have done in the first place. This is a very important issue, but if we set it out and say this is what they should do, we have not consulted on this in the right way.

Orange Shirt Day is a critical piece of reconciliation. June 21, the solstice, is celebrated now in many parts of the country. It is a learning experience in schools and in communities with indigenous people, but we should not be dictating the day for them. We should take the time to consult, work with it and get the answer from them that they would like, rather than passing legislation saying that this is what they should do.

We should not give a paid holiday to government employees when we could take that money and do something about indigenous languages, housing and water. Let us not waste it. Let us get something appropriate done.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2019 / 5:45 p.m.
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Dan Vandal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today on behalf of the people of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital to talk about this bill, which is extremely important for our country.

It is a great honour to rise to speak to Bill C-369, a bill very close to my heart. It seeks to create a new federal statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation.

First, it is imperative that we acknowledge and thank the hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River for bringing the bill to the floor of the House for debate, but, more important, for being an extremely strong advocate for indigenous rights and advocating for indigenous people not only in her riding but across Canada.

I have had the honour to speak in the House many times about our country's path toward reconciliation. It is quite clear to me that reconciliation does not belong to a single political party or an individual. Instead, it is a shared path for all Canadians. The pathway toward reconciliation is one that we must walk together, and this bill exemplifies the journey. It was honour to work with my colleagues from all political parties on the legislation.

I had the privilege to sit in on testimony at the Standing Committee for Heritage, which studied the bill. It was this testimony that we heard that ultimately shaped my views on the bill and solidified my belief on the importance of passing it into law.

In the greater conversation about reconciliation, it would be too easy to dismiss the bill and neglect to see its importance.

First, we must recognize that the act of creating a new statutory holiday is not minor in itself. In fact, this day will be the first new holiday created at the federal level in over 60 years. It joins in ranks of importance with Canada Day and Labour Day, highlighting the significance and importance of this day.

Second, we must consider the importance that this day will have personally for indigenous people. Throughout the witness testimony, we heard from many organizations and groups that highlighted the significance of a day of commemoration, the important need to have a day to reflect on the harm that had been historically inflicted on first nations, Inuit and Métis people. The importance is reflected by its inclusion as a call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I was disappointed to hear my hon. colleague from the Conservative Party, in the House last Tuesday, say that the party would not be supporting the bill. The hon. member argued that rather than creating a new holiday, an existing holiday should be appropriated and transformed. Of course, I disagree with that.

The question would become this. Which other day should be appropriated? Would it be Labour Day, a day to celebrate the hard-won fights of the labour movement in Canada? Would it be Canada Day, a day meant to unite all Canadians in pride of this great nation? Would it be Remembrance Day, when we solemnly commemorate the sacrifices of our veterans, including our honoured first Nations, Inuit and Métis veterans? Which holiday would the Conservatives prefer to see reimagined?

Moreover, none of the existing holidays have any significance to the indigenous community relating to the legacy of residential schools. It is my belief that it is the survivors who should have the ultimate authority over which day should be chosen.

September 30 was a date chosen deliberately for its significance to indigenous people. Currently September 30 is the date of a grassroots movement, started by the formidable Phyllis Webstad, called Orange Shirt Day. lt was named for the orange shirt that Ms. Webstad painstakingly selected for her first day of residential school only to have it ripped away from her upon her entrance into the school. Her orange shirt is symbolic of the culture, language and childhoods that were ripped away from the students of residential schools.

We heard at committee that September was a painful time for many indigenous people, as it was the month that their children were taken, year after year, to return to school, leaving their loved ones and communities behind.

It is appropriate to mark this pain with a solemn day of reflection and reconciliation in action. This bill represents that.

It has always been my belief that one of the pillars of reconciliation is education. The creation of a national day for truth and reconciliation is emblematic of education in action. Students still return to school each year in September. Beyond the great symbolic importance of this new date, it would also provide a magnificent opportunity for learning and education within our school systems.

I envisage a day when schools across the country mark the holiday with ceremonies and a day of learning. lt is my hope that schools will invite elders to come into classrooms to teach both indigenous and non-indigenous children about the painful history of indigenous people across the country, but also about the hope all indigenous people have for the future.

I think of the way schools across the country use Remembrance Day as a learning tool for children of all ages to learn about the horrors and conflicts Canada has been involved in, and believe this new day for truth and reconciliation would be a perfect opportunity to be a learning tool for another important part of Canada's history.

Unfortunately only half of Canadians are familiar with the residential school system and its long-term effects on the indigenous population. This, frankly, is a devastating and unacceptable statistic. The key, in my opinion, is to fix this statistic through education.

I must emphasize the continued great work of our party and government on reconciliation and the advancement of indigenous rights.

ln my home province of Manitoba, I am extremely proud to celebrate with the community of Shoal Lake 40 on the progress of Freedom Road. After many years, it was our government that stepped up and pledged the necessary funding to ensure this community was finally connected to the mainland, after the construction of Winnipeg's aqueduct in 1919 turned Shoal Lake into an island. The completion of Freedom Road will allow the community to build its own water treatment plant.

On the topic of access to clean water, our government has committed to ending all long-term boil water advisories by 2021, a task previous governments have neglected. Our government recognizes and affirms the right of communities to access clean and safe drinking water. I am proud to say we have been able to lift 80 long-term drinking water advisories since 2015.

lt is my honour to serve as the parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Indigenous Services. Today, we tabled important legislation on the welfare of first nations, Métis and Inuit children in care. There is an ongoing crisis in indigenous communities. Too many children are being removed from their homes and communities. This crisis is particularly staggering in Manitoba. This legislation would reaffirm the inherent right of indigenous people over their own children. I look forward to the upcoming debate in the House on this very important legislation.

I have had the privilege to again attend meetings of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as it undertakes a study on an act respecting indigenous languages, which also seeks to implement several important calls to action. My own indigenous language, Michif, is at risk of extinction. The bill would allow for its preservation, but also for more Métis across the country to learn and revitalize it.

There is much more work to be done, but we can be proud of what we have accomplished together in the last three years of government. I look forward to further advancing these files and continuing to work hard for indigenous people across our great country.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2019 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my absolute honour to rise today in support of Bill C-369.

It is also my honour to recognize that we are gathering today on the unceded territories of the Algonquin peoples.

This bill has been tabled by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. I wish to share here that I witnessed how powerful it was for her to finally deliver her first speech on another bill in her Dene language, a language shared by many in her riding and across our northern communities. Having travelled with her in her northern Saskatchewan riding last summer, I can attest to how important it is that she can now finally speak in this place in one of the indigenous languages spoken by her constituents back home. What a joy it was to experience her in her community with her fellow community members, speaking their indigenous languages.

The intention of this bill is to create a statutory holiday on September 30 each year, starting this year. This delivers on call to action 80, issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The title of the report, “Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future”, conveys the depth of the tragedy and the need for action.

It may be noted that the Prime Minister, early in his mandate, publicly committed to deliver on all 94 calls to action. Therefore, we need to be grateful that my colleague has brought forward the opportunity to deliver on at least one of them.

I want to read call to action 80. It states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

It is my understanding and my hope that there is now multiple-party support by members in this place for this bill. I noted that my colleague, in speaking to her bill yesterday, reminded us that we are all responsible for becoming actively engaged in reconciliation.

The intent of the bill is therefore twofold: first, to recognize the continuing need for support for healing for survivors of the residential school system in recognition of the continued impacts down through generations, and to recognize it as a cultural genocide; and second, to directly inform and engage Canadians in knowledge of the residential school system and the harm it caused.

I wish to honour the dedication of the commissioners, Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson, in undertaking the momentous process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is important to honour the many residential school survivors and their families who came forward to share their experiences.

The report conveys the principle that reconciliation is a relationship. I would like to share what the report says. It states:

For many Survivors and their families, this commitment is foremost about healing themselves, their communities, and nations, in ways that revitalize individuals as well as Indigenous cultures, languages, spirituality, laws, and governance systems. For governments, building a respectful relationship involves dismantling a centuries-old political and bureaucratic culture in which, all too often, policies and programs are still based on failed notions of assimilation.

My hon. colleague spoke to this when she spoke to this bill previously, and we were very close to the place where the residential school was unfortunately created.

It also states:

Schools must teach history in ways that foster mutual respect, empathy, and engagement. All Canadian children and youth deserve to know Canada’s honest history, including what happened in the residential schools, and to appreciate the rich history and knowledge of Indigenous nations who continue to make such a strong contribution to Canada, including our very name and collective identity as a country. For Canadians from all walks of life, reconciliation offers a new way of living together.

Canada already celebrates our first nations, Métis and Inuit cultures and languages every year on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is during the summer solstice. My understanding is that initially, my colleague proposed that it be that day. However, she has very graciously agreed to change her bill, so we are going to have a day of celebration in June during the solstice, and then we would have a day of recognition and learning at the end of September each year.

I have had the delight of attending many of the events on June 21 in my riding, joining in the round dances and attempting a jig. Who can resist another bannock burger? It is wonderful to see all the schoolchildren joining in those activities.

The day proposed by Bill C-369 would be a more solemn day, however, to learn about the sufferings of those who were torn from their families, forced to travel far from their families and stripped of their language, beliefs and cultures. For far too many, this was for their entire childhood.

As was pointed out by my colleague, it will be necessary that the government commit well in advance of September 20 this year the necessary funds to ensure that the intents are achieved and that there are clear plans for the day. It is absolutely important that this be in direct consultation with the first nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, in particular in the communities where the activities would occur, which I hope will be every community across this country. The intention is to honour the suffering and provide opportunities for teaching.

My colleague has asked that this day also be recognized as a time for reconciliation for those children torn from their language and culture during the sixties scoop and those from the day schools and boarding schools not yet recognized.

I have been inspired by the initiative of many indigenous people to engage us in the process of reconciliation. My dear friends Hunter and Jacquelyn Cardinal, children of my friend Lewis Cardinal, have founded the Edmonton company Naheyawin, which is reaching out through theatre, through the arts and through round tables to teach people about the treaties. It is a very important action that has not been done across this country. It is so important to my province, where we are the land of the historic treaties and there have been constant calls by first nations leaders for recognition of those treaties.

As Jacquelyn has shared, she wants people to move past feelings of guilt from past wrongs and focus on a better future. She wants people to get past the guilt many feel for the past and look forward to making things better. She hopes the round tables will be based on the Cree word tatawaw, which means, “There is room for you. Welcome.”

I am also very grateful that the famous Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival last year featured and honoured indigenous culture and incorporated many ceremonies to honour first nations, Métis and Inuit throughout the festival.

I am very grateful to my colleague, and I wish to thank her.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2019 / 6:15 p.m.
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Marc Miller Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour I rise today to speak about this significant piece of legislation. We can all agree on the importance of acknowledging the impact of Indian residential schools on first nations, Inuit and Métis people.

Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), calls for a day of commemoration, but an essential part of this day would be about educating Canadians.

I represent an area of Montreal that is traditional indigenous territory. It does not have a reserve on it, but it has many indigenous people and was a meeting place for indigenous peoples well before my people arrived.

The challenges we face as non-indigenous people in understanding what has gone on in the past are great. Before the word “reconciliation” comes the word “truth”, and that is perhaps the biggest challenge we face not only in this House but across Canada. What we still do not know is the truth. Often the truth is exceedingly painful.

I have had the privilege of starting on a very long path of learning an indigenous language, and not surprisingly, it has come with some surprises. As someone who was taught English and French, and has taken them both for granted, my conception of language is kind of a string on two soup cans between the people talking. It just vibrates, and that is what language is.

Naively, I embarked on this attempt to learn Kanyen'kéha, or Mohawk, thinking, like an idiot, “How hard could it be?" It is exceedingly hard. Having put perhaps an hour a day into it, I come out of these learning sessions, whether I am doing passive listening or working in my workbooks, with my brain completely fried.

One would think of it as if I were embarking on learning another Indo-European language that had some similarities with English and French. It is quite the contrary. It is a process of learning root words and piecing together ideas and images that are then conveyed onto other people. In this, one gains a very small glimpse into a window—

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 28th, 2019 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Georgina Jolibois NDP Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are elder teachings, and many elders teach throughout Canada. I am going to make a comment to reflect this very moment.

To not love is to be fearful, to not be humble is to be self-centred, to not be honest is to be dishonest, to not be courageous is to be cowardly. In my line of work, historically and until now, when I am in the circles with indigenous people in communities, elders are very significant. The use of a circle, the teachings and learning to be humble are very significant.

I want to thank all hon. colleagues in the House of Commons for their time and for sharing their thoughts on Bill C-369. How we will fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action requires an active, all-party effort from everyone, and I appreciate that we saw that effort for call to action no. 80.

We still have a little time before all members gather here to vote on my bill, and I want to take a moment to respond to some of the points of debate that came up.

First, as I said a few nights ago, I welcome the amendments to my bill that came from a multipartisan effort to make sure this holiday was done in consultation with survivors of residential schools, with elders, with regional chiefs and with the major national indigenous organizations. The committee was thorough and well-meaning and ultimately came to the correct decision.

June 21 will remain National Indigenous Peoples Day and be celebrated by all Canadians, including first nations, Métis and Inuit people from coast to coast to coast. September 30 will be known as the national day for truth and reconciliation and will serve as an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the history of residential schools and how the impact of our national shame continues to live on in Canada.

I have expressed my concerns about how the government will be honouring this holiday. Yes, a holiday will be created, but it is only meaningful if the resources are provided for Canadians to truly understand what that holiday means. That means a comprehensive engagement process with federal government employees to understand how their offices can meaningfully work with first nations, Métis and Inuit people. That means providing funding for cross-country memorial ceremonies done in partnership with survivors and first nations, Métis and Inuit organizations. That means creating culturally appropriate learning materials for education systems across the country, so that generations of Canadians will never forget what happened to indigenous people in this country. We are still waiting for answers to all of these questions.

Second, there has been some conversation about replacing other holidays that already exist. That is a fair question, but a debate that should happen at a different time. Generations of indigenous people have been told time and time again that they are in the way, that their concerns are secondary to everything else going on in Canada. For generations, indigenous people have been left out of political processes, left out of decisions that affect their ways of life, left out of decisions that say what languages they can speak and what gods they can pray to. If members of this House want to discuss the number of holidays in Canada, that debate should not be associated with the importance of this bill. The loss of a colonial holiday should not come at the expense of survivors and indigenous people gaining a holiday. I refuse to believe that this holiday will bear the weight of inconvenience to a colonial system.

As a final thought, I want to return to the positives of this bill, because far too many of our conversations rely on reliving trauma and discussing the problems in our first nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

This bill will not solve the housing crisis indigenous people live through and it will not fix the overrepresentation of indigenous children in foster care and it will not close the education gap that leaves indigenous children behind.

However, it will give Canadians the opportunity to fully understand why those problems exist. It would give space and time for the government to reflect on its failures and remind itself why it so important to work for and with indigenous people every other day of the year.

Progress will take time, but through my bill, we are taking the time to make progress and are moving forward.

February 26th, 2019 / 7 p.m.
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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak to Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code, national day for truth and reconciliation. This was introduced by the member representing Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

This bill proposes to amend the relevant legislation in order to establish a paid non-working holiday for all employees under federal jurisdiction. The goal of the bill is to create a statutory holiday that would become a day for truth and reconciliation in order that all Canadians might have some time to reflect on the history and the legacy of Indian residential schools and the deep wounds that have been created in our past and that persist today.

Renewing the relationship with first nations, Inuit and Métis is a priority for Canada and all Canadians. As members know, the Prime Minister has said that there is no relationship more important to this great nation than the one with indigenous peoples. I am confident that we can chart a path to a better, more inclusive future that acknowledges our past and looks forward to building a stronger Canada that we can all reside in together, in a manner that is not only conducive but inclusive to all Canadians.

The work that was done by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has provided us with a way forward to address indigenous issues in a Canadian society. The commission's final report sets aside a series of 94 calls to action that address a number of important issues, including call to action 80, which states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

The government remains committed to implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as partners in reconciliation and, most important, resurgence.

While it is easy to support the commission's recommendations in principle, the more difficult work comes in taking concrete action, but we are intent on walking the path toward reconciliation together.

Over the past three months, the Standing Commission on Canadian Heritage heard from survivors, leaders of national indigenous organizations and other key stakeholders during the review of the bill. Survivors shared very moving and difficult testimony regarding the history and impact of Indian residential schools. There was also discussion of the importance of giving Canadians opportunities to move together on the journey of reconciliation. It is extremely important that we move together, nation to nation, shoulder to shoulder.

Education, reflection and remembrance are essential components of the reconciliation process. Creating a national day for truth and reconciliation on September 30 will set aside a special day for commemoration and for honouring those whose lives were affected by residential schools. As well, it would also create a space for all Canadians to have important conversations about the dark chapters in our history and to acknowledge that reconciliation is a process that we all do together. As well, it would acknowledge the harm done to first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

With just over half of Canadians familiar with residential schools and their lasting impacts, a national day for truth and reconciliation would, in my opinion, improve Canadians' understanding of this legacy of loss.

I applaud the initiative put forward in the bill by the hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. I would also like to recognize the work of those in the community and throughout this great nation who have taken steps to rebuild relationships and further reconciliation. I applaud those who at the grassroots level have shared their stories and helped teach us about our past.

We should all be moved by people like Phyllis (Jack) Webstad and the story of her orange shirt. Her story is remarkable but it is not unique. On her first day of school, Phyllis arrived proudly dressed in her new orange shirt. They made her change out of her clothes. Her orange shirt was taken from her and she never saw it again. That orange shirt is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, of freedom and of self-esteem that was experienced by indigenous children over generations.

During its mandate, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission engaged extensively with the community. It was guided by principles that ensured broad representation. The commission was advised by a committee of Indian residential school survivors and it travelled to all parts of this great nation to hear from thousands of indigenous peoples who were affected by residential schools, to document their experiences and also to gather ideas that would help to move the reconciliation process. The 94 calls to action are a result of this process.

There have been over the past months a number of petitions expressing support for the creation of a day highlighting reconciliation. We hope that the bill will be a first step toward establishing a holiday that encourages all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, to take time to reflect on our journey of reconciliation with indigenous peoples, to gather together to honour survivors of residential schools, their families and their communities, and to encourage public commemoration and promotion of the shared values of inclusion and of mutual respect.

Let us make sure that the spirit of reconciliation is part of nation building and our national values. In this way, I believe we can aspire to an outcome that is aligned with the commitment to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, based on recognition, based on rights, based on respect and based on co-operation.

It is obvious that for too long, first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have had to fight for rights and recognition. We know that we must make this recognition the basis for all relations with indigenous peoples. The bill represents an ideal way to commemorate and recognize their experience. I am therefore pleased to contribute to today's debate and to call upon the House to support the bill. This support is a part of the work that helps us build a Canada that includes every one of us.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2019 / 7:20 p.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by acknowledging that the land on which we are gathered today to speak to the important bill introduced by colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River is part of the traditional unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.

I think it is especially important to point that out because, from a reconciliation perspective, I want every elected member of the House to remember that historical fact during this evening's debate.

Call to action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

It is in this context that my colleague introduced her bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday in Canada. As everyone is well aware, there are currently no federal statutory holidays dedicated to indigenous peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day does exist and has been celebrated on June 21 since 1996, but it is not recognized as a statutory holiday under the Canada Labour Code.

Bill C-369 calls on the federal Parliament to show some leadership and set an example for the provincial and territorial governments that have not yet created this statutory holiday, in response to the call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Reconciliation is not an indigenous issue, it is a Canadian issue. To achieve true reconciliation, we may be called upon to re-examine all aspects of Canadian society.

That is why the commission is calling on all levels of government in Canada to take concerted action and measures across the entire country and in all communities in the interest of reconciliation with first nations, Métis and Inuit.

To achieve that goal, merely recognizing the existence of these peoples is not enough. We must also recognize their history, their rights, their cultures and their languages.

By passing Bill C-369, the House of Commons would be sending a clear message about its intention to create space for reconciliation.

Once established, this national holiday would serve as a reminder to us all of what it really means to have a treaty-based nation-to-nation relationship. It would be an expression of respect for the historic and cultural importance of first nations, Métis and Inuit.

The people we wish to recognize by creating this statutory holiday are the first inhabitants of this continent, who arrived when the glaciers disappeared from these lands.

When the first French settlers arrived, indigenous people helped them survive by showing them how to adapt to the environment and the harsh climate, which was unfamiliar to the first Europeans to set foot in North America.

Of course, the bill would not tackle all the socio-economic problems faced by indigenous people, which my party raises all the time in the House.

In passing, I would like to mention the atrocious and intolerable living conditions found in too many indigenous communities throughout the territory that we now call Canada. The federal government continues to drag its feet. We need a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people.

Naturally, the creation of a holiday must be accompanied by significant action to improve living conditions for indigenous peoples in Canada. However, dedicating a holiday to indigenous peoples would provide a time and space for reflection on our colonial history and its lasting effects on the rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Canada.

For example, this holiday could become an opportunity to organize events to commemorate and raise awareness about victims of residential schools and Canada's colonial system, the effects of which still weigh heavily on indigenous peoples today.

My colleague's bill is not a new idea. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, launched a campaign to have National Aboriginal Day recognized as a national holiday.

It was not until 1996 that June 21 was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day by then governor general Roméo LeBlanc.

This date was chosen after consultations with indigenous peoples and statements of support from numerous groups, some of which wanted the summer solstice to become National Aboriginal Day.

When my colleague originally introduced this bill, she also asked that National Aboriginal Day, June 21, be designated a federal statutory holiday.

At the time, the national day for truth and reconciliation was not clearly defined. Since 2016, Orange Shirt Day has become the appropriate day to commemorate the legacy of residential schools and honour their survivors. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which was in charge of studying Bill C-369, consulted first nations, Inuit and Métis, and they all agreed that September 30 should be considered the day of commemoration. The bill was amended to designate that date as the national day for truth and reconciliation.

As I said earlier, other governments in Canada have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 80 by making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. It is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and has been a holiday in Yukon since May 2017.

In June 2017, my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River introduced the bill we are debating today to get the federal government on board. In September 2017, provincial NDP MPP Michael Mantha introduced a bill in the Ontario legislature entitled An Act to proclaim Indigenous Day and make it a holiday.

The federal government has stated many times that its most important relationship is its relationship with indigenous peoples. The government also committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Elected officials in other governments get it. This bill gives the government another opportunity to move from words to action.

Inspired by the commission's call to action 80, this bill would give hope to indigenous peoples by fostering awareness of the consequences of residential schools and paying tribute to residential school survivors and victims of foster family abuse, as well as their families and their communities.

In addition, a statutory holiday would give Canadians an opportunity to better understand and acknowledge our shared history, which is a crucial component of reconciliation. This bill gives the federal government, as well as the House of Commons, a chance to participate in the reconciliation process by designating a day to reflect on our dark colonial past and to pay tribute to the contributions, heritage, and diverse cultures and languages of indigenous peoples.

Long before the environment became a topical issue, indigenous people respected the environment and took a sustainable management approach. They developed democratic political and social systems. They understood the importance of forging alliances, and their diplomatic structure played an important role in the early days of settlement. We also have a lot to learn from their customs, including sharing and showing profound respect for elders. Many prominent indigenous figures and indigenous-led projects have helped give them a voice and earn recognition for indigenous contributions, heritage and cultures.

Kondiaronk, also known as Sastaretsi, sacrificed his life to help put an end to devastating wars by signing the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. In Quebec, Wapikoni Mobile helps young people and gives them a voice. That is how Anishnabe rapper Samian found fame. Cindy Blackstock advocates on behalf of indigenous children who have been abandoned by the Canadian government. Melissa Mollen Dupuis, an Innu from the North Shore who co-founded the Quebec chapter of the Idle No More movement, advocates for environmental protection and for access to education, health care and adequate housing.

New Democrats are not the only ones who support the creation of a statutory holiday to recognize indigenous peoples. The Assembly of First Nations has been calling for this for years. Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, has supported this measure since 2017. Robert Bertrand, the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, has also publicly expressed support.

I would like to conclude my speech by reading an excerpt from the farewell message of our friend Paul Dewar, who was taken from us too soon. At Paul's celebration of life, indigenous leader Claudette Commanda talked about how Paul had been given an eagle feather, which represents honesty, integrity and authenticity, and she thanked him for what he had done for her people.

Paul said:

Ottawa, don’t stop now. Let’s show our strength together. Let’s embrace the vision of Algonquin elder William Commanda for an authentic and organic future, rooted in the wisdom of the Indigenous people upon whose land we reside.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

September 24th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous Peoples Day).

This bill would make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. As a result, about 6% of the labour force would be impacted by this change. This bill would grant a holiday for employees of the federal government and federally regulated businesses only. It would not affect employees who are not subject to the Canada Labour Code.

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been proudly supported and celebrated by Conservatives, both while in government and as the official opposition. Indigenous peoples form an integral part of our country and their histories, cultures and traditions should be recognized and celebrated by all Canadians.

Every year our party encourages Canadians to take part in the local National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations so that we can all learn more about the rich history and traditions of indigenous peoples throughout this country, as well as the tremendous contributions which indigenous peoples have made to this country to make it what it is today, a better place to live.

In my city of Saskatoon, National Indigenous Peoples Day events are always something to look forward to. They are celebrations that help bring the whole community together in the spirit of diversity, understanding and, of course, learning. Every year in June, National Indigenous Peoples Day is one of the major events in my city of Saskatoon. The event is held in Victoria Park where the celebrations begin in the morning with a pipe ceremony. The event this year was followed by Rock Your Roots and a walk for reconciliation which was very well attended. Hundreds of people lined the streets of Saskatoon on this walk. It is an excellent opportunity for everyone to come together in the spirit of reconciliation. I was very proud to see the display of unity in my city.

The celebrations offered a very important opportunity for children and youth to learn about the rich and diverse cultural heritage of first nations and Métis peoples within my province of Saskatchewan. Additionally, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre hosted numerous activities this year, which allowed young people to both observe and participate in a first nations dance, along with songs and teachings. I think this is particularly important for the young people of our province. These celebrations are very successful and they are important to the entire community.

When we discuss the impact of the addition of a new statutory holiday, we need to really think about whether we have gathered all the right information to make an informed decision. As my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo has stated before in the House, we need to know the economic impact related to the implementation of this new statutory holiday. If we do not have this information available to us, it is hard for us to know what kind of effects the addition of a new statutory holiday would have on Canada's economy. It is important to note that in discussing whether to add a new statutory holiday to Canada's Labour Code, we are not considering at all whether we should re-examine any of the existing statutory holidays. Specifically, we are not looking at whether we should remove some of the existing holidays going forward.

These factors are very crucial to our understanding of the economic impact associated with this bill, which in turn informs our decision-making. We must also consider whether statutory holidays have the desired effect on increasing the learning and awareness of these events and traditions which they are meant to honour and celebrate.

Currently, National Indigenous Peoples Day ceremonies and celebrations across the country enjoy a wide attendance by people from all walks of life. In June, here in the national capital region, I was happy to attend this year's ceremony near the Canadian Museum of History. A number of people attended the morning ceremony. Traditional sunrise ceremonies are enjoyed by all as they mark the beginning of a day filled with diverse cultural celebrations across the country.

We need to be concerned about the impact a statutory holiday might have on all of these celebrations and cultural festivities. Similar concerns have been raised by officials. We have had a debate in the House about whether Remembrance Day should be a statutory holiday. Different regulations exist throughout the country concerning the status of Remembrance Day in terms of whether it is a statutory holiday or not. Keep in mind that since 1970, the Royal Canadian Legion has come out against the resolution to make the day a statutory holiday. One official from the Royal Canadian Legion, Bill Maxwell, highlighted his concerns with making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday and stated that by institutionalizing it as a statutory holiday, the impression is that people would stay at home and would not make an effort to attend a ceremony downtown on November 11.

Last Thursday afternoon, I sat in on a meeting of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, echoed those same sentiments. He said that we do not really need a statutory holiday for Remembrance Day and he wonders if we even need one for National Indigenous Peoples Day. With a day as important as National Indigenous Peoples Day, we need to take great care to ensure that it does not risk becoming a holiday that is robbed of its significance by being viewed by employees as simply a day away from work.

Reconciliation with our first nations, Métis and Inuit communities is a process that all Canadians should be committed to and should support. We must make every effort to guarantee that indigenous peoples across the country receive fair and equitable access to education, economic development and employment and training opportunities. These are all fundamental aspects of reconciliation and they are vital issues which the Liberal government is failing to address.

In 2016, a report by the C.D. Howe Institute found that only four in 10 young adults living on reserve across Canada have completed high school compared to graduation rates of seven in 10 for indigenous peoples living off reserve, and nine in 10 for non-indigenous Canadians. These statistics are totally unacceptable and clearly show the vast difference in the kinds of education opportunities that are available to communities on reserve compared to everywhere else in the country. These differences act as a barrier to reconciliation, yet the Liberals have broken their promise to close the education gap between on reserve and off reserve. The consequences of this broken promise for the on-reserve communities are numerous and severe. The same 2016 report highlighted that these low graduation rates had many negative repercussions on reserve, which include unemployment, poverty and limited social and economic opportunities.

While we need to make sure we know what the impact of the designation of National Indigenous Peoples Day as a statutory holiday would be, the empirical data on the question is lacking. As a result, we cannot be clear at all in our discussions on the matter because we are missing key personnel information. The intentions of the bill may be well meaning, but we must also think about whether a statutory holiday is in fact the best way to preserve the meaning of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

September 24th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House today to support not just Bill C-369 but the tireless efforts and tremendous work of my colleague, the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

The member is a Dene woman from Saskatchewan, who served her community as mayor of La Loche for 12 years and worked with the RCMP's aboriginal advisory committee for almost a decade to help build safer communities in the north. She is a role model for all Canadians, especially for young indigenous women across this country. As a passionate advocate, she continues to demand action from government so that the people in her community are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. As an indigenous woman, her consistent and persistent advocacy aims to ensure that the voices of the first peoples are heard.

On this note, the member has brought before us Bill C-369. This bill would make June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, a statutory holiday in Canada. This bill would also fulfill recommendation 80 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. While I was relieved to hear over the summer that, after months of silence, the Liberal government was ready to support the member's bill, I was truly disappointed that it made a partisan effort to undermine the work of my colleague. In going forward with this approach, the government did not even pause to stop to consult with my colleague on a bill which she brought forward. Throughout our society and history, successive governments have actively sidelined the role and voice of indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women, and it was very disappointing to see the government continue to do this even while attempting to engage in acts of reconciliation.

I believe it is of utmost importance to continually reflect on the words of the TRC, when it stated, “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one. Virtually all aspects of Canadian society may need to be reconsidered.” This calls for collective actions across communities, across levels of government, across party lines and across Canada for reconciliation and the recognition of the history, rights, cultures and languages of first nations, Métis and Inuit people throughout our country. It is a reminder that reconciliation falls on settler society, not on indigenous people.

Passing Bill C-369 would not tackle all the socio-economic challenges met by indigenous communities, but it would provide a time and space for reflection on Canada's colonial history and its current effects on the rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit communities across the country.

The government has signalled that there are two dates being considered for a statutory holiday and also that changing the name to the national day of truth and reconciliation is being considered. June 21 is a date significant to first nations, Métis and Inuit people and is already established as National Indigenous Peoples Day. It is already marked by celebrations across Canada. It falls on the summer solstice, a date that historically has marked a celebration of indigenous culture and heritage. It is my understanding that the government is thinking about changing the date to September 30, Orange Shirt Day.

While Orange Shirt Day is an important one, a day that first nations, local communities, local governments and schools come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come, I share the concerns of my colleague that by co-opting and renaming National Indigenous Peoples Day as Orange Shirt Day as a day of truth and reconciliation would be harmful to the ongoing project of reconciliation. It would be an act of taking a day of celebration and changing it to a day of recognizing settler violence and apologies. In effect, it would be shifting the focus away from indigenous people and toward settler society. This would undermine the valuable and difficult work under way from coast to coast to coast of indigenous activists in communities, which are tirelessly working to build up and restore indigenous lifeways in Canada.

By extension, recognizing September 30 as a statutory holiday would also further the narrative of violence experienced by indigenous people in Canada. Without doubt, settler societies' understanding of the legacy of residential schools is critical and important. However, continuing to limit the national experience of most Canadians to that of recognizing a day of violence toward indigenous people would do little to empower indigenous communities and to foster an environment in which first nations, Métis and Inuit life ways could grow and flourish.

My riding of Vancouver East is home to the Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society, to name just two of the many important indigenous organizations in my riding. Last year, Freida Gladue of the Family Services Society and Susan Tatoosh of the Friendship Centre Society were interviewed by the Vancouver Sun about making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. Ms. Gladue noted the importance of providing Canadians from all walks of life the opportunity to learn about, experience and participate in the celebrations of indigenous people. She stated, “It should be a stat holiday for everyone. A lot of my friends are calling to say they can't come because they have to work today.”

As most of us may recall, this year the House was sitting on June 21, so like far too many Canadians, I was unable to attend the celebrations in my community because I was here in the House of Commons. Ms. Tatoosh described the importance of the day, stating that it is “a day where we get to promote our pride, our culture and our status as citizens of Canada. We share our culture, our achievements, our culture and dances and through this outreach, we support the concept of reconciliation.”

I do not want to diminish the critical work of reconciliation through the recognition of generations of injustice, mistreatment, discrimination and the further generational impacts of the events that continue to this day. However, that work should not erase the need to acknowledge the beauty of Canada's indigenous peoples, their cultures and languages by honouring and celebrating them.

Promoting and sharing the depth of first peoples' culture and teachings through events that celebrate them helps build bridges between communities. Through this effort, we are moving the goalposts from the notion of tolerance to appreciation, and from appreciation to respect, and from respect to celebration. In doing so, we are working together to change the necessity of preserving indigenous culture from an act of defiance to an act of appreciation, from an act of tightly holding on to one's identity to an act of sharing with others who you are, with open arms. It means creating the space for indigenous cultures in Canada not only to survive, but also to thrive. That in my opinion is what true reconciliation entails.

Establishing June 21 as a statutory holiday across Canada would help provide that space. It is far overdue, and I hope that all members will stand united in taking this step toward reconciliation and support my colleague's bill.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this significant moment in our history, a moment to move forward to celebrate and acknowledge our first peoples and the gift they have given to all of us as immigrants, namely, a place to call home and a place to belong. It is absolutely time for us to ensure that the first peoples are equal partners at the table and for all Canadians to understand the importance of first peoples in Canadian history.

Once again, I call on all members to support this bill.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

September 24th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that the lands on which we are gathered to discuss the important legislation introduced by my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River are part of the unceded traditional territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.

From a reconciliation perspective, since that is precisely the focus of my argument, I think it is especially important to emphasize that point so that everyone here in the House is well aware of the context surrounding our debate on this bill.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute the Mashteuiatsh Innu first nation and the Saguenay Native Friendship Centre, which are located in my region, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.

It is time to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday in Canada. There are currently no federal statutory holidays dedicated to indigenous peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day exists and is recognized, but it is not a statutory holiday. We do have precedents, however, as other jurisdictions in this country have enacted legislation to make June 21 a statutory holiday. Bill C-369 calls on the federal government to do the same, to show some leadership and set an example for the provincial and territorial governments that have not yet created this statutory holiday.

In its report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made it clear that reconciliation is not an indigenous issue; it is a Canadian issue. To achieve true reconciliation, we may be called upon to re-examine all aspects of Canadian society. This is indeed a call to action, to concerted action on the part of all governments in Canada and all communities in the interest of reconciliation with first nations, Métis and Inuit. Merely recognizing these peoples is not enough. We must also recognize their history, their rights, their cultures and their languages.

By passing Bill C-369, the House of Commons would be sending a clear message about its intention to create space for reconciliation. Once established, this national holiday will serve as a reminder to us all of what it really means to have a treaty-based nation-to-nation relationship. It will also be an expression of respect for the historic and cultural importance of first nations, Métis and Inuit.

Obviously this bill is not necessarily going to resolve all the socio-economic problems that indigenous peoples face, problems that my party raises in the House all the time, but it will provide a time and place for reflecting on our colonial history and its lasting effects on the rights of the first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across the country.

For example, a statutory holiday could become an opportunity to organize events to commemorate and raise awareness about victims of residential schools and Canada's colonial system, the effects of which still weigh heavily on indigenous peoples today.

It is rather obvious that my colleague's bill is not a new idea. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, launched a campaign to have National Aboriginal Day recognized as a national holiday. It was not until 1996 that June 21 was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc.

That date was chosen following consultation with indigenous peoples and statements of support from numerous indigenous groups. Some of these groups wanted the summer solstice, a day that holds a special significance to indigenous peoples in Canada, to become National Aboriginal Day.

As I mentioned before, other governments have made National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday.

These include the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, which made it a holiday in May 2017. In June 2017, my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River introduced the bill we are debating today to get the federal government on board. In September 2017, provincial MPP Michael Mantha, a New Democrat, introduced a bill in the the Ontario legislature entitled An Act to proclaim Indigenous Day and make it a holiday.

The Liberals have stated many times that the relationship with indigenous peoples is the one the government values as most important. The government also committed to follow through on the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Elected officials of other administrations have understood it, and this bill is a new opportunity for the government to move from words to action. Inspired by the call to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this bill would give hope to indigenous peoples and Canada mainly by fostering an awareness of the consequences of residential schools and by paying tribute to the survivors and the victims of foster family abuse, to their families and to their community.

A statutory holiday would give Canadians an opportunity to better understand our shared history and ensure that they would acknowledge this history, which is a crucial component of reconciliation. This bill gives the Liberal government, as well as the House of Commons, a chance to participate in the reconciliation process by granting a day to reflect on our dark colonial past and to pay tribute to the contributions, heritage, cultures and languages of indigenous peoples.

New Democrats are not the only ones who support making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. The Assembly of First Nations has been calling for this for years. At its 2016 annual general assembly, members adopted a resolution calling on the government to institute a statutory holiday on June 21. Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, expressed support for this bill in June 2017. In addition, Robert Bertrand, the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, attended the press conference as a public show of support when this bill was announced.

I would also add that we are not the only ones here in the House calling for the creation of this holiday. The Liberal member for Winnipeg Centre circulated a petition asking that National Indigenous Peoples Day be made a statutory holiday. We know that he is not the only one in the Liberal caucus who supports our initiative. That is why we are hoping that everyone here in the House of Commons, regardless of party, will support my colleague's bill.

Like the member who spoke before me, I too was unable to attend the National Indigenous Peoples Day events organized by the native friendship centre in my community on June 21. It was a beautiful day, and the centre had invited me to participate in the activities it organized at Place du citoyen. Unfortunately, I had work to do here in the House. The House was in session, and we were here very late voting. We did not get much sleep last spring. My thoughts were with them on June 21. However, I think that supporting my colleague's bill will make all the difference. I am asking the House to vote in favour of this bill.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

September 24th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to speak in support of my colleague, the Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, and her Bill C-369, a bill that would create a national indigenous peoples day.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the traditional lands of the Algonquin people. I thank them for sharing this beautiful land with all of us.

I live in the traditional lands of the Syilx people, the Okanagan nation. Most large public gatherings in the Okanagan are opened with a traditional prayer and the signing of the Okanagan song. The part of that song that I have taken to heart is, “We are beautiful. We are beautiful because our land is beautiful.” Those words emphasize the relationship between all of us and the land that sustains us, that we are nothing if we treat our land without respect. They are powerful words.

I grew up on the boundary of the Penticton Indian Reserve and I still live in the house in which I grew up. I like to tell my friends from the Penticton Indian Band that I grew up on the res. However, I did not grow up on it like those people. As I grew up, I knew nothing of the struggles of the kids I went to school with from the reserve. We did not talk much. I knew nothing of the struggles of them and their families, of the residential schools situation. I did not really know anything about their culture, heritage, or language. I did not even know there were still people speaking a traditional language there.

In 1978, I was out on the Chilcotin Plateau and went into a café. I realized soon that everyone in the café was speaking Chilcotin. I had never heard an indigenous language spoken before. I realized how little I knew of the cultures of the people who were here first, the first peoples of Canada.

In 1981, I met Jeannette Armstrong, someone whom I have come to know and respect a great deal. She grew up a couple of kilometres from me in Penticton. My father knew her mother and yet I never had met her before. She spoke of her family's struggle to retain the culture and language. She spoke fluent nsyilxcen, the language of the Okanagan people. I was totally blown away. I had no idea there were still speakers of that language, that the culture was still retained and so rich.

Since that time, I have learned a lot from my colleagues in the first nations communities of the Okanagan about that culture and what they have been doing to retain it and make their people proud of it and get their kids learning the language again.

Recently, I had the honour and very humbling experience of sitting in on an immersion class in Penticton that taught nsyilxcen. It was humbling to sit there for a day, hearing people speak a language that I knew very few words of, a language that was formed in my home valley. It was literally the language of my land and yet I knew nothing of it.

I still know very few words in nsyilxcen. I know a few of the plants and animals as I am a biologist. Probably the only word I knew as a kid, because my father would call bitterroot, was “speetlum”. Speetlum is one of the four food groups of the Okanagan people. It is the root that gave them sustenance through the year. I know the word for Saskatoon berries, “seeya”, again one of the important foods of the Okanagan people.

However, it was not until I moved back to the Okanagan in the 1990s and started working a lot with people in the local first nations communities on the conservation of their lands, as they were very concerned about conserving the environment of their lands, that I got to hear more of their personal stories. People who were working with me, very dedicated workers, had real personal struggles, such as families torn apart, addictions, life in residential schools, which had sent them to Alberta and northern British Columbia as kids, yet they had come back to work to rebuild their communities.

At the same time, my wife Margaret was working for the Osoyoos Indian Band, building the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, one of the most magnificent interpretive centres in the country. If people are ever in the Okanagan, I urge them to visit it. It is a real celebration of the Syilx culture and is very well presented. Through her, I met other people who knew their culture and their language. It was such a rich experience, learning all of this from my neighbours. As Canadians, we do not have that opportunity very often.

Some of the projects I worked with brought kids together, kids from the first nations community and non-indigenous kids, to do habitat rehabilitation, plant trees and shrubs. At the same time, they were planting seeds of reconciliation in our communities.

I have seen such a change over the last 20 or 30 years in the Okanagan Valley with respect to the building of reconciliation. People are feeling a lot better about the relations between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. When I first went there in the 1990s, it was very touchy. However, that has really changed, as people are now taking the time to learn about each other's cultures.

Many of us celebrate July 1 every year as our national day. As well, many of us celebrate June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day. Although it is not a holiday, I attend the events in my community when I can. I know a lot of people do. In those events, we learn about indigenous cultures, their heritage and their languages. However, it would mean so much more if it were a national holiday.

Therefore, I really want to support my colleague's initiative to create a national statutory holiday. Yukon and the Northwest Territories have set a precedent by making June 21 a holiday in those territories to ensure that people have the time and the mindset to really set aside a day to learn about these important issues, and to take important steps toward reconciliation.

Lim’limpt.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

March 20th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Georgina Jolibois NDP Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

moved that Bill C-369, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous Peoples Day), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House of Commons to present the first hour of debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-369. In short, my bill seeks to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a national statutory holiday.

My bill proposes that June 21 be designated a day to honour and recognize the unique culture and views of first nations, Inuit, and Métis status and non-status peoples and the contributions they have made to our collective society.

As a first nations woman and the member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, I stand in determination not only for the communities in my riding but in solidarity with the first nations, Inuit, and Métis from coast to coast to coast. I also stand with those indigenous youth who are no longer with us.

It is important for this House to recognize that my bill was originally meant to be presented on February 14, but it was pushed back because of the take-note debate on the indigenous experience in Canada's justice system.

The lives and memories of indigenous peoples affect us all, in both profound and simple ways. I would encourage all members to take a moment to reflect on these influences today.

One aim of my bill is to bring a sense of hope to indigenous communities across Canada by creating a day that recognizes their lives, their culture, and their influence. My bill responds to one of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The commission said:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

It does not get any clearer than that. If we, as partners in reconciliation, want to take the process of reconciliation seriously, it is crucial that the members of this House support my bill. My bill would create a public opportunity to better engage and understand the impacts of critical issues affecting indigenous peoples and settler society. Among these issues are the long-lasting impacts of residential schools, the 60s scoop, child foster care issues, our treaty relationships, and missing and murdered indigenous women.

These are not issues that exist in the past. First nations, Métis, and northern children and youth are hurting. Their families and communities are struggling to secure employment and make ends meet. Families do not have access to services and they become trapped in the cycle of poverty and foster care.

In Saskatchewan alone, 87% of children in foster care are indigenous. We must ask ourselves what our children see. Do indigenous children and youth, girls in particular, see a country that, in both word and deed, champions their intrinsic importance? Do the different levels of government and those in different positions of authority, communicate that their lives are valued?

Let us reflect on these questions as we consider the overrepresentation of indigenous children in foster care, the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the overrepresentation of first nation, Inuit, and Métis in corrections facilities and prisons.

More than two years ago, the ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal was clear. The Canadian government was guilty of racially discriminating against tens of thousands of first nation children in systematically underfunding federal services. The tribunal's ruling called on the federal government for immediate, medium-, and long-term reforms so that children can receive the treatment they deserve. Children are entitled to feel safe, to be cared for, and to feel and be valued, and they deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.

Now that we see the budget for 2018, we acknowledge the commitment of the government to help indigenous people in Canada. However, funding is only one aspect of the reconciliation project. Canadians also need encouragement towards understanding indigenous history, identity, and nationhood, in tandem with Canadian history.

In order to strengthen the public's awareness and increase support of the nation-to-nation process that is vital to reconciliation, my bill provides an opportunity for all people living in Canada to celebrate, recognize, and honour first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples' diverse historical, cultural, and linguistic contributions.

Passing Bill C-369 allows for a national opportunity, not only to reflect on our history but also to celebrate indigenous culture. My bill would create time for all Canadians to reflect on our treaty relationships and other agreements with indigenous nations. It creates a platform for us all to gather and involve ourselves in the conversation that leads to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within indigenous communities. Only when we work together can we make progress toward reconciliation. After all, we are stronger when we are together.

My bill is not the first time that National Aboriginal Day has been brought up in the House. National Aboriginal Day was the result of consultations and statements of support made by indigenous groups across the country. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, launched a campaign to have National Aboriginal Day recognized as a national holiday. In 1986, June 21 was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc.

Those who are paying attention will note that June 21 is also the summer solstice, which holds a special significance to many indigenous peoples in Canada. Now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21 is recognized as a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories, and last May it was declared a statutory holiday in Yukon. A similar bill was tabled in the Ontario legislature in September 2017, which was titled “Indigenous Day Act: A Path to Truth and Reconciliation”. My bill is not unprecedented, and its principles have had success in Canada in the past.

The Assembly of First Nations has been pushing for National Indigenous Peoples Day to be recognized federally for years. In fact, in 2016, the AFN passed a resolution at its annual general assembly calling for June 21 to be a statutory holiday.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has supported my motion. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples supported Bill C-369 when it was tabled under its original name. National Chief Robert Bertrand was present at the press conference to voice his support publicly. UFCW Canada has endorsed this bill, and reports that in six collective agreements in four different provinces, National Indigenous Peoples Day is recognized as a paid holiday. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has endorsed the call for National Indigenous Peoples Day to become a statutory holiday. The Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society has expressed the need to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. We have received numerous letters and calls from Canadians, indigenous and non-indigenous, who are in favour of making June 21 a statutory holiday.

Despite the historical precedent and significant support, I want to speak to some of the criticism I have received about my bill. It is no surprise to members of this House that the nature of our jobs brings criticism from those people who do not believe we are doing our jobs well enough. However, a lot of what I have heard with regard to this bill has been unprofessional, illogical, uncalled for and, plainly put, racist. Being a first nations woman from northern Saskatchewan, I have heard this type of language before, and I will hear it again in the future. Too many indigenous peoples live with this language on a daily basis, and I firmly believe that taking steps toward reconciliation will alleviate at least some of the pain caused by this language.

My bill has also been discussed publicly at the same time as the verdicts in the cases related to Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine. While much of the public conversation about Colten and Tina has been filled with love and calls for justice, too much of it has been about hate, misconceptions, biases, and individuals saying that the system worked. This is the language that a settler society uses to continue its oppression of indigenous peoples.

Individuals will always be free to speak their minds, but if the government is committed to changing the conversation with and about indigenous peoples in this country, we need to take steps that will change the spaces in which those conversations take place. My bill is one such step. We as a government cannot change the hearts and minds of Canadians or limit their expression, but what we can do together is change the environment where the process of reconciliation is taking place.

As I have already said, my bill creates a day of reflection and celebration of indigenous history and contributions to our collective society. It takes the extra step of allowing most Canadians a day off work to join our indigenous friends and neighbours in celebrating their cultures and remembering their history. My bill is a necessary step toward changing the public conversation about indigenous people in this country. It is on us as members of this House to make time to do those things.

We all know it is not unprecedented for this House to make time for everyone in Canada to celebrate together. Every year, Canadians gather on July 1 to celebrate the history of our nation, and most people are given the day off to celebrate with their neighbours. Every year, Canadians are given the day off work to celebrate Christmas or to take the day to spend time with their families and celebrate their own religious holidays. We also recognize new beginnings and give Canadians January 1 to think about the new year ahead of them. These days, among others, are days of national celebration.

Further, this House recognizes days of reflection and mourning as part of our national experience. November 11 is our day of remembrance, a day to understand and appreciate those who have served Canada in war, armed conflict, and peace. We also use Labour Day to remember the workers who have suffered in dangerous conditions and enshrined workers' rights as human rights.

In both of these respects, celebration and reflection, my bill fits with the historical precedent of statutory holidays in Canada. Let us not be bogged down by the conversations I have both listened to and been a part of that another statutory holiday is unnecessary and goes too far. Canada is a complex country full of complex peoples and complex ideas. In many ways, we have too much to celebrate and too much to remember, but that should not take away from our national project of reconciliation.

It feels as though the time will never be right for a bill that asks for special recognition of indigenous culture and history, but the government has continuously stated that the most important relationship is the one with indigenous peoples. That same government has committed to answer the calls of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the spirit of healing and truth. It begs the question, when is the right time?

If the burden of reconciliation is too difficult for us to take on as a country, then we must seriously consider our roles as elected leaders in Canada. If reconciliation is too hard for our government to support in full, then we must seriously reconsider our government. Reconciliation was not meant to be a label or a chapter title for a settler government to adopt as a symbol of progress. Reconciliation is not a feel good promise of better days ahead for a colonial society. Reconciliation is not seeing the indigenization of our institutions for the betterment of those who are already in power. First nations, Inuit, and Métis people are tired of waiting for the right time to come along. Indigenous people cannot wait for the next election year to get another empty promise from the government.

I ask that as elected officials we go beyond talking points and formally make June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, a statutory holiday. This would create an opportunity to share, to celebrate, and to open up a dialogue for all people living in Canada to better understand and empathize with first nations, Inuit, and Métis people. I encourage hon. members on all sides to consider this bill to begin building the bridges of understanding between Canada and the first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

March 20th, 2018 / 7 p.m.
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Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-369, an act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous People Day), introduced by the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

The bill proposes to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code to modify the definition of holidays within each of these acts to include National Indigenous Peoples Day as part of these definitions. As a result, it would establish National Indigenous Peoples Day as a paid non-working holiday for approximately 904,000 employees working in the federally regulated private sector. This represents about 6% of Canada's workforce.

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been celebrated across Canada for 21 years. In 1996, the Government of Canada, in co-operation with national indigenous organizations, designated June 21, the summer solstice, as a day to recognize indigenous peoples in Canada. This day was designated National Aboriginal Day by way of a proclamation signed by the Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc, the then Governor General of Canada, on the advice of the Queen's Privy Council. In 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the government intended to rename June 21 National Indigenous Peoples Day.

This day aims to highlight the unique and significant heritage, cultures, and contributions of first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day fosters greater knowledge and understanding of our history and of the traditions and customs that played a key role in shaping the country we know today as Canada. It provides the perfect opportunity to learn about the people, places, and events that are a part of the history of our land and it permits us to realize the importance that diversity plays in our great country.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is one of the four celebrate Canada days. This suite of special days starts on June 21 with National Indigenous Peoples Day and includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and Canada Day on July 1. The celebrate Canada days put a spotlight on Canada's diverse cultures. They help us honour the heritage and backgrounds of those who came before us and those who continue to strive for a Canada that is reflective of all its citizens, a Canada that is truly inclusive.

Celebrations in 2017 were an opportunity for a greater number of Canadians to participate in activities in all parts of the country. Indeed, as we marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation, more Canadians than ever took part in community events and celebrations on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Through its celebrate Canada program, the Government of Canada made such investments so as to provide funding for over 1,700 community celebrations in 2017. Events were held in each province and territory. Additionally, high impact events marking the day were held in eight cities across Canada and were broadcast through a partnership with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and through social media. An unprecedented 1.2 million Canadians had the chance to take in these celebrations.

Every year, there is a wide range of activities on offer, including ceremonies, cultural displays, and stage performances. These activities highlight the traditions and contemporary vision of indigenous peoples. They give children and families a chance to taste foods, listen to stories, and marvel at the art and artistry of the descendants of the first inhabitants of this land.

From traditional smudging ceremonies to concerts, National Indigenous Peoples Day showcases a broad spectrum of indigenous culture and proves that it is alive and important.

The legacy of residential schools is a stain on our past and we must seize every chance we get to rebuild relationships between indigenous communities and the rest of Canada. As the Prime Minister has stated, no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with indigenous peoples.

In 2015, the truth and reconciliation commission presented a report that included 94 calls to action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation. The Government of Canada committed to implementing these recommendations, including call to action 80 that urges the federal government, in collaboration with aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a national day for truth and reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure the public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

To that end, the hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River has introduced a bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a paid statutory holiday for some of Canada's workforce, namely federally regulated private-sector employees.

Under the Canadian constitutional framework, this is the first step in establishing a new statutory holiday. It is important to note that in order for us to designate this day as a paid holiday for all Canadians, federal public service collective agreements have to be amended, and the provinces and territories have to amend their respective laws if they have not done so already.

I should note that June 21 has been a paid statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories since 2001 and in Yukon since 2017.

I am pleased to contribute to today's debate and to call upon the House to carefully consider all the implications of the bill before us. I think we can aspire to an outcome that is aligned with the commitment to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, and co-operation in the same way the designation of National Indigenous Peoples Day 21 years ago was the result of a process that engaged and co-operated with the community.

Bills of Exchange ActPrivate Members' Business

March 20th, 2018 / 7:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join this important debate on my colleague's private member's bill, Bill C-369, which proposes to turn National Indigenous Peoples Day into a statutory holiday.

Conservatives have proudly marked National Indigenous Peoples Day annually, both in government and in opposition. We have encouraged Canadians to take part in local celebrations to learn our history and also celebrate the immense contributions of indigenous peoples to Canada.

The leader of the official opposition has stated that National Aboriginal Day is a celebration of the cultural heritage, achievements, and contributions made by first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. National Indigenous Peoples Day is not considered a national federal holiday. Bill C-369 seeks to change that. As such, it would amend the Bills of Exchange Act and the Interpretation Act in order to take this new holiday into account in the computation of time. It would also amend the Canada Labour Code in order to include the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the definition of a general holiday.

We certainly heard from the speaker just prior to me that this would not be a holiday for all Canadians. This bill would actually impact 6% of the labour force. There are issues with the provinces and territories. It is important to be very clear that this is not something that would happen across Canada.

We believe in reconciliation with all indigenous peoples. The opportunity for poverty reduction should be a key priority. First nations people should expect and have the right to a transparent and open government. We respect and appreciate National Indigenous Peoples Day, but we are not sure that creating a federal statutory holiday is the approach to take.

As I look over time, we have had many additions to our national holidays, but we have never actually talked about taking any away. I know private industry becomes increasingly concerned as more challenges are put on them, but what we never do is look at what might be more important than an existing holiday. If the House is going to support a measure like this to go forward, we need to look at existing holidays and talk about if all of them still make sense.

Quite frankly, when the non-partisan Library of Parliament was asked to consider what the costs would be to Canada's economy, it said that there did not appear to be any empirical studies. We will actually be voting on something, adding something, not taking anything away, and we will not have any real understanding of what the costs would be related to that. This is a private member's bill that would have significant impact, and I think we need to have a pretty clear understanding of what that impact would be.

We also know that we currently have a government that is spending lots of money. The Liberals are spending more money than they said they would spend. The deficit is going to be significantly higher than what was committed to Canadians. The Liberals' spending is out of control. To add more costs in terms of what the government is doing means we need to find out where it is going to start being sensible about its expenditures. More importantly, there is the issue of whether there is a holiday that should be taken away if we are going to look at adding one on. There is a significant impact on federally regulated businesses, but also potentially in terms of the federal public service.

I go back to the Royal Canadian Legion and the whole discussion around Remembrance Day and whether it is a statutory holiday. It is very different across the country. Legion officials have always expressed their worries that having the day off does not encourage people to attend the celebrations. The War Amps of Canada officials explicitly stated, “Our stance is that it should never be a holiday; you take away the uniqueness of being able to educate the younger generation on the horrors of war.”

In terms of the National Indigenous Peoples Day, I have had the privilege and honour to be both in my riding and in Ottawa on June 21. In McDonald Park in Kamloops, people come together and the celebration is amazing. Teachers come with their students to the park. Parents come to the park. It is truly an honour and a celebration. It is a recognition, locally, of the incredible contribution. Later that day, we gather on the grounds, and they have another celebration. These are very well-attended celebrations. The schoolchildren who come, and many do come and join us, are particularly enlightened, in terms of having the opportunity to benefit.

In Ottawa, it is the same thing. Many of us here have gone to the ceremony when the sun comes up and have enjoyed the Inuit music. We have enjoyed the celebrations, the dancing and singing of the Métis and the first nations. We all come together.

I am not always convinced that giving a day off is the best way to celebrate and honour this, and for people to learn. Again, I look at the experience in the community of Kamloops and across British Columbia. The evening newscasts on June 21 show amazing celebrations across the country.

I recognize the important intent of what my colleague would like to do. I think it needs some really important discussion to see if this is the best way to honour and recognize this, or whether continuing as we are is the best way forward.

I noticed that when my colleague was talking about the people who support this, she actually did not talk about the people who are going to be directly impacted, in terms of the federally regulated industries also providing their support for this particular bill. That is certainly something that is important, to see that federally regulated institutes across this country are on board. To date, we have not seen that.

In conclusion, we are having an important debate right now. I think we need to make sure it is a very fulsome debate.