moved for leave to introduce Bill C-297, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (Indigenous languages).
[Member spoke in Inuktitut and provided the following text:]
ᓯᕗᓪᓕᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᒃᓱᐊᓗ ᖁᔭᓕᒍᒪᕗᖓ ᒪᓕᒐᓕᐅᖅᑎᖅᔪᐊᕐᒃ ᐊᑦᒪᓐᑕᓐ- ᒍᕆᔅᐹᒧᑦ, ᐊᐃᒃᐲᒪᑦ ᑖᒃᓱᒥᖓ ᒪᓕᒐᒃᓴᒃᒥᒃ. ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒪᑦᓇᓪᓗᐊᕕᒃ ᒧᒥᓛᖅ ᖃᖅᑲᖅ ᒪᓕᒐᓕᐅᖅᑎᖅᔪᐊᖑᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒧ ᐱᒋᐊᖅᑎᓚᐅᖅᑕᖓ ᑲᔪᓯᑎᓐᓇᓱᒃᑲᒃᑯ
[Member provided the following translation:]
First off, I would like to very much thank my colleague, the member for Edmonton Griesbach, for seconding my bill. This bill builds upon the great work started by my predecessor MP for Nunavut, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, and I thank her.
She said: Mr. Speaker, first off, I would like to very much thank my colleague, the member for Edmonton Griesbach, for seconding my bill.
This bill builds upon the great work started by my predecessor MP for Nunavut, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, and I thank her.
Nunavummiut and other speakers of indigenous languages have an inherent right to receive information and cast a ballot in their own language. In the 2019 election, voter turnout for indigenous people living on reserves was 51.8%. In Nunavut, which is almost entirely indigenous, voter turnout was under 50%, well below the Canadian average of 76% voter turnout. The federal government's report in PROC recognized that indigenous peoples, especially elders, would face significant barriers to voting in a COVID election.
How can it be that in Nunavut, where the first language of 46% of the voters is Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun, ballots are only in English and French? The Crown and the federal government have an obligation to work with and build trust with the indigenous communities and people throughout Canada.
This bill, if enacted, would represent a meaningful step towards that building of trust and respecting of our inherent rights, and would hopefully lead to greater participation in our democratic electoral process by indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)