Madam Speaker, I would like to add a couple thoughts. When the member makes reference to names, I think of individuals such as Diane Redsky, Sharon Redsky, Cindy Woodhouse and Amy Chartrand.
These individuals have committed so much of their lives and efforts toward indigenous people on the issue of reconciliation in a real way. There are obviously many others. I am referring just to Winnipeg North, and it is a relatively small number of individuals that I could recognize.
I would like to pay a compliment to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations on how effective he has been as an indigenous caucus chair. He has provided advice to the Prime Minister and to members of Parliament, such as myself. He has provided us very valuable information to ensure we continue to be on the right track.
Back in 2015, when the Prime Minister was the leader of the Liberal Party in third-party status, the 94 calls to action were tabled here. The then leader of the Liberal Party made a solemn commitment to indigenous people from coast to coast to coast, and beyond, to implement and work toward getting all 94 calls to action moving in a positive direction.
Upon the election results later that year, we made it very clear that our priority was indigenous reconciliation. That was something that was not optional. If one were to check the mandate letters provided to ministers, they would see a very clear indication on indigenous people. This is something that is of a strong personal nature for our Prime Minister. It has been a priority for our entire caucus, with the guidance of individuals like our Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
If we look at budgetary measures or legislative measures, virtually from day one to today, we will see calls to action being responded to in a tangible way. We hear some members of Parliament say we are spending too much, implying there is too much waste. Others will say we are not spending enough.
What is clear is that we have never before seen a government invest so much in financial resources, and other resources, to deal with truth and reconciliation and justice for indigenous people in Canada. There should be no doubt about that.
When I was in opposition, I on occasion made reference to the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls from indigenous communities. That is an issue I recall asking for a public inquiry on. That was before the calls to action.
I would like to read call to action 41. It states:
We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include:
(i) Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls
(ii) Links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools.
I raise that because one of the very first actions of this government was to call for the public inquiry. We have many actions being requested of the government that have come out of that public inquiry.
Fast-forward to today, and we are talking about Bill C-29. If we look at what Bill C-29 is all about, let there be no doubt that it is specifically in response to calls to action 53, 54, 55 and 56. Call to action 53 states:
We call upon the Parliament of Canada, in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal Peoples, to enact legislation to establish a National Council for Reconciliation. The legislation would establish the council as an independent, national, oversight body with membership jointly appointed by the Government of Canada and national Aboriginal organizations, and consisting of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members. Its mandate would include, but not be limited to, the following....
Call to action 53 then goes on to list five points.
Call to action 54 states:
We call upon the Government of Canada to provide multi-year funding for the National Council for Reconciliation to ensure that it has the financial, human, and technical resources required to conduct its work, including the endowment of a National Reconciliation Trust to advance the cause of reconciliation.
Call to action 55 states, in part:
We call upon all levels of government to provide annual reports or any current data requested by the National Council for Reconciliation so that it can report on the progress towards reconciliation. The reports or data would include, but not be limited to....
It then lists two items.
Finally, call to action 56 states:
We call upon the prime minister of Canada to formally respond to the report of the National Council for Reconciliation by issuing an annual “State of Aboriginal Peoples” report, which would outline the government’s plans for advancing the cause of reconciliation.
Those four calls to action are in this legislation, in the amendments that were brought forward. I highlighted call to action 41, which we took action on immediately after we became government back in 2015, and today we are debating those four calls to action.
It is not only budgetary and legislative measures that the government makes on a daily basis. If we focus our attention strictly on truth and reconciliation, we can talk about not millions, but billions of dollars that the government has allocated in working in partnership with indigenous people, whether it is on issues such as systemic racism, health care, housing and so much more.
In terms of legislation, we can talk about enactments to support indigenous child welfare. We can talk about legislation to support indigenous language. We can talk about Bill C-15, the UNDRIP legislation that was brought forward. What about the statutory holiday that was brought forward in legislation? There is legislation dealing with the oath of citizenship. When we hear that every child matters, calls to action 72 to 76 are ongoing. We can talk about the lobbying that took place and call to action 58, which was the formal apology from the Pope here in Canada.
If we look at the 94 calls to action in total, well over 80% of them have been acted on in one form or another, and many of them have been completed. It is important to recognize that, as a national government, where we have responsibility, we act on it. That is a commitment that the Prime Minister and Liberal Party made before we formed government, and now that we have the reins of government, we are implementing these calls to action because it is the right thing to do.
I recognize there is a lot more that needs to be done. I suspect if we were to check with the Prime Minister, cabinet or any individual member of the Liberal caucus, we would find the same sentiment.