Trust me, I will. I'll never quit asking. I don't in any way give disrespect to any apology. I think apologies are necessary. All it takes sometimes is just an apology, and people feel that they've been heard. If our country keeps on apologizing for its historical wrongs, I commend them. I don't care what government is in place, whether it's NDP, Conservative or Liberal, if they keep on committing themselves to understand they need to deal with unfinished business. If you look at our land claims, for example, it took us 132 years of waiting and 32 years in the courtrooms. It took us that long to get justice.
It's a challenge. People didn't just scatter. I'd debate anybody, trust me, but they didn't just scatter. They went back to where their families come from. You just heard, as Bob said, how one of them walked 110 miles to join up.
Go to St. Eustache. If you ever come to Manitoba, give me a call and I'll take you to St. Eustache. St. Eustache is a small Métis village. A very large percentage of them went out of Duck Bay, where I come from. Lots of them came out of there, and Camperville. St. Eustache is one I always had great pride in. We put up our monument there. I'll share pictures if you guys want. You'll be quite impressed at how beautiful it is.
One of the things that was impressive when I used to walk into their hall—and they've had this before I was even around, back in the 1950s and 1960s—was that all the pictures of the veterans are on the wall, old pictures of all them, but all of them looking like kids when they returned. They've always honoured these veterans. In our communities it's automatic. When I was growing up, we were raised very strictly by my single mother. If a senior or an elder walked in, especially a veteran, you'd get off your chair immediately and let them sit down, and you'd serve them tea or serve them something immediately. It's just the way we were raised.
For me, as I said, apologies are sometimes, I think, necessary in this country, because for some reason we did such great injustice to the different people and to ourselves. I think we can fix that problem one day, and it will be great. I hope one day this country will apologize. Why are the Métis still not being treated with great respect as veterans? As I said, they went to battle for us with no hesitation, yet our country seems to have a challenge. Why aren't they apologizing? They could be saying, “I'm sorry; we made a big mistake. We're sorry. We thank you very much for what you did for us. We thank you for what you did for our children.”
Before they leave, at least they'd feel like they were honoured. That's what's important, I think.
As I said, there are a handful left. That's why at my assembly I'm announcing on Saturday for those living in Manitoba yet to this day.... And this is not federal money, this is my own money. I do a lot of business contracts. We made quite a bit of money on certain projects. I'm going to give each of the living veterans $20,000, the amount that the first nations got, so they will get honoured before they pass. By the time your study is done, I guarantee you most of them will be gone.