Evidence of meeting #17 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was miller.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Daniel Quan-Watson  Deputy Minister, Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
Serge Beaudoin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs Organization, Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
Valerie Gideon  Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Department of Indigenous Services
Jean-François Tremblay  Deputy Minister, Department of Indigenous Services
Annie Boudreau  Chief Finances, Results and Delivery Officer, Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

Now we have Mr. van Koeverden.

I had Ms. Zann, but I'm told that technically it's difficult, so you have the floor for six minutes, Mr. van Koeverden. Please go ahead.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Chair, I don't think he's here.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

I'm sorry. You sound clearer now, Ms. Zann. Can you go ahead?

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

I just wanted to say thank you so much to the ministers for being here today. I know that it's been a very difficult time for all of us, and I know that you care deeply about the people of this country and the indigenous people of this country. I just wanted to say that we're all in this together and we need to make things better for the indigenous people of Canada from coast to coast to coast.

Minister Bennett, with respect to the co-development of a national action plan in response to the issues identified in the calls for justice in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, is that investment of $6 million for a single year or is it going to be ongoing funding to support that process?

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I'm very pleased to report that will be ongoing for the next five years. We really do believe that in order to have a national action plan that is accountable for results, we will have to be measuring and adapting the plan. We had always said it would be “evergreenable”, but working with our partners, the families and the survivors on the necessity of being able to update the plan regularly based on getting results is what the major part of that investment will be.

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you.

How do you propose to go forward? Or is this part of what we are actually waiting for now? How are the families going to be involved as we move forward?

Tanya Brooks was a missing and murdered woman, and we walk every year in her honour. The family lives here in Millbrook First Nation. What do you suggest is the best way to be moving forward?

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I think that what a number of the families and survivors have said is that they also want to have an ability to influence their local jurisdiction's plans. Each of the provinces and territories will have their own chapter and their own plan. We were inspired by the local plan for the Yukon Territory, where the first nations, the families and the women's circle, together with the government, have developed a very impressive plan.

We will be seeing that again. In Nova Scotia, the families will be included. I think it's coast to coast to coast. Also, organizations like Pauktuutit, the Michif women and NWAC will be involving families as we go forward. Certainly, this investment in the money will make sure that families are able to help us improve the plan as we go forward over the next five years.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you, Minister.

To get to the nitty-gritty of the racism that is at the root of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, we have to take a look at the fact that it's partly about respect.

For one thing, women are not seen to be respected as equal citizens in the eyes of some men, and then when you add on somebody who is racialized, it's even more difficult for them. Anybody whose ever gone through a sexual assault of any sort, which many of us unfortunately have, know what it's like to be just an object and not actually thought of as a human being.

What are your thoughts about what we can do as a government, as individuals and as members of Parliament to change that old-fashioned and just really despicable mentality?

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I think that as we've seen over these recent weeks—validating what indigenous people have been experiencing in their lived experience forever—this is something that has to be examined in each of us and in every institution in Canada.

Certainly, when we began the pre-inquiry to actually hear about the sexism and racism, not only in what they experienced in policing or in the justice system, but as you say, in a hospital or after a sexual assault, in education, in post-secondary.... This is everywhere—

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Or even walking along the street.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Yes, and walking along the street.

One of the things that really struck me at that time was that for a family with a daughter who was missing, if it got accidentally reported that the daughter was Caucasian, the family would feel that they shouldn't correct it, because they felt that the search would be less...it would be “oh, it's inevitable”, or.... Also, on the quality of the investigation, the charges laid, the plea bargaining and the sentencing, everything seemed to be different to the families if it was an indigenous person who had been missing or was found murdered. That is their lived experience.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

We're at time right here. Thank you very much.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you so much, Minister. I really appreciate that.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

Madam Bérubé, you have the floor for six minutes, please. Go ahead.

5:45 p.m.

Bloc

Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses who are participating in our committee meeting. I also want to thank the technicians and the interpreters, who are essential.

I am on the traditional territory of the Algonquin, Anishinabe and Cree of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.

My question is for Minister Bennett.

Ms. Bennett, in your mandate letter, you were tasked with drafting legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the end of 2020. The deadline is approaching and time is running out.

Will you commit to introducing a bill as soon as Parliament resumes in September?

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

With my colleague, Minister Lametti—and this is very important with regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq NDP Nunavut, NU

Apologies, Chair, I have a point of order.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

Ms. Bennett, I believe you need to put your translation on the French channel.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I'm sorry.

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq NDP Nunavut, NU

Thank you, Chair.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

With respect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, along with my colleague Minister Lametti, we have committed to jointly introducing legislation to implement the Declaration by the end of 2020. That commitment has not changed.

We will work closely with our indigenous partners, the provinces and territories, and other stakeholders, on how to move this important work forward and determine how to proceed when Parliament resumes regular sittings.

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

So I must understand that we will finally be able to resume our parliamentary work by September, and put forward legislation.

I cannot hear you, Ms. Bennett.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bob Bratina

Something has happened with your microphone, Minister. It doesn't show “mute”, but we're not hearing the sound.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Once Parliament resumes sitting in the fall, Mr. Lametti and I hope to introduce a government bill that will follow through on our commitment to indigenous peoples.

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Thank you.

Métis and non-status Indians are excluded from the sixties scoop class action settlement.

What do you intend to do to make reparations for the harm they have suffered? When will they be compensated?