Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to close debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-374, which seeks to amend the Historic Sites and Monuments Act and provide the much-needed inclusion of indigenous representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
I would like to thank my hon. colleagues on both sides of the House who have risen to offer their perspectives and support for this legislation, including members for Saskatoon—Grasswood, Kootenay—Columbia, Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Richmond—Arthabaska, Yukon, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, North Vancouver, Yellowhead, and Winnipeg Centre. In particular, I would like to thank Senator Murray Sinclair for his work at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people. As my hon. colleagues know, this recognition is a small but important way in which to advance reconciliation. Similarly, Bill C-374 seeks to advance this very same goal of reconciliation. Drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 79(i), this bill would enshrine first nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. These perspectives are crucial to ensuring that our designation of historic places, persons, and events reflects and incorporates the perspectives of indigenous peoples.
In their summary of the final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission discussed the assault on indigenous memory, reflecting the implications of the presence and absence of indigenous voices in commemorations and history telling:
One of the most significant harms to come out of the residential schools was the attack on Indigenous memory. The federal government's policy of assimilation sought to break the chain of memory that connected the hearts, minds, and spirits of Aboriginal children to their families, communities, and nations. Many, but not all, Survivors have found ways to restore these connections. They believe that reconciliation with other Canadians calls for changing the country's collective, national history so that it is based on the truth about what happened to them as children, and to their families, communities, and nations.
Our government has been steadfast in its commitment to advance reconciliation and build a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. As the Prime Minister put it in his remarks on a new legal framework with indigenous peoples, “To truly renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, not just for today but for the next 150 years...we need a comprehensive and far-reaching approach. We need a government-wide shift in how we do things.”
That process is taking place, with progress having been made on two-thirds of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action under federal and shared responsibility, including $2.6 billion in first nations education, collaboration for updated language to the newcomers' citizenship guide, and full support and steps taken to implement UNDRIP. However, the work does not end there. In fact, it is only a beginning.
Reconciliation is a journey. It is a Canadian issue and it requires each and every one of us to make a conscious and meaningful effort to advance it. That is why I have brought Bill C-374 before the House, to hopefully make a small but not insignificant contribution toward advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Through my 32-year career with Parks Canada working in commemorations, I witnessed first-hand the implications that the absence and presence of indigenous perspectives had in capturing the way in which we recognize historic people, places, and events. We cannot hope to repair and strengthen our relationships with indigenous peoples unless we take a new approach that moves beyond the colonial and paternalistic approaches of the past and allows us to more authentically commemorate our collective past.
Bill C-374 would provide the opportunity for us to advance meaningful reconciliation with indigenous peoples. It would implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 79(i) and ensure that indigenous perspectives are more directly considered in our commemorations process.
Members in this place no doubt recognize the critical importance of reconciliation and the need for us to move beyond outdated colonial structures and better integrate indigenous perspectives into government decision-making processes. When it comes to the involvement of indigenous peoples in commemorating our history, we must do better and we can do better. Bill C-374 offers the opportunity to do just that.
I would like, once again, to thank my hon. colleagues for joining me in the debate and consideration of this bill. I am hopeful that all members in this place will join me in supporting Bill C-374 and send it to committee for consideration.