Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Sydney—Victoria.
I am speaking to the House from my Toronto home, which is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We honour all indigenous peoples who paddled these waters and whose moccasins walked this land.
To begin, I would like to thank the Mi'kmaq communities that have worked very hard to keep their members safe despite the escalation of violence. All Canadians were horrified by the violence inflicted on the Mi'kmaq people in recent weeks. They have been attacked and intimidated because they exercised their right.
With the destruction of property and attacks on people's attempt to obtain a moderate livelihood, unfortunately this escalation of tension has exacerbated divisions. No dispute can be settled through violence, and no durable solutions are found through threats and intimidation. It has to stop. Human rights and the treaty and inherent rights of indigenous peoples must be respected. That commitment is at the very heart of our country's very identity and enshrined in our Constitution.
We have much more work to do to forward the unfinished business of Confederation. We need to accelerate the progress and we need all Canadians with us on this journey. Racist colonial policies have resulted in denied opportunity, sustained harassment and a justifiable mistrust in all of our institutions and civil society. Systemic racism is evident in all of our institutions and all Canadians need to know that it is their responsibility to end it. The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with indigenous people in Canada, nation to nation, Inuit to Crown, and government to government, built on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
It has been over 20 years since the Marshall decision reaffirmed the right of the Mi'kmaq to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. The court upheld the treaty right of Donald Marshall to fish. The court found that his treaty right was protected by the section 35 of the Constitution. The Mi'kmaq people have the right to exercise their rights, free from violence, threats and racism.
Canada has reaffirmed our commitment to working in partnership with the Mi'kmaq to implement their treaty rights on the path to self-determination. Over the weekend, in our conversations with Chief Sack and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs, we reassured them that we agree with them, that the safety of their communities is the priority, the violence is unacceptable and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. We heard their frustration with respect to the implementation of their right to a moderate livelihood.
The Marshall decision was a long time ago, but is not where this story starts. In 1760-61 the Crown signed peace and friendship treaties with the Mi'kmaq people, treaties that guarantee hunting, fishing and land-use rights for the descendants of these communities. These treaties are the foundation of our relationship and remain in place today. Canada, and all Canadians, have a responsibility to understand this and ensure that these treaties are upheld and implemented. To achieve this, Canada is currently engaged in discussions on aboriginal treaty rights and self-government with 10 of the 13 Mi'kmaq nations in Nova Scotia. We are also pursuing discussions with the remaining three communities, which are not involved at the self-determination table.
Implementing the historic treaty rights recognized in the Marshall decision is a critical component of these discussions and a priority for the Government of Canada. For millennia, indigenous people have held conservation and sustainability as a core value. The Mi'kmaq nation has been working hard on its plans to exercise and implement its rights in a sustainable fishery based upon science.
I am proud of the progress we are making together to affirm the treaty and inherent rights of first nations, Inuit and Métis on their path to self-determination. Together, we and our partners have transformed how government engages with indigenous people and how we work together. The renewed relationship has been furthered by the establishment of the recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination discussion tables, which represent a new flexible way to have the discussion of how to affirm the unique rights, needs and interests that matter most to indigenous communities.
Since 2015, we have created over 90 new negotiation tables. There are currently over 150 active negotiation tables across the country to help advance the relationship with indigenous people and to support their version of self-determination. We are making significant progress at these tables, but we cannot move forward as a country without the understanding and support of all Canadians.
Part of the path forward was highlighted in the Speech from the Throne and that is the introduction and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. UNDRIP is not scary. Implementation of the inherent and treaty rights of indigenous peoples is the way forward to a much stronger and fairer Canada.
The great challenges we have already endured in 2020 have presented us with a world that is in need of renewal. For Canadians, that renewal must begin with our longest lasting partnership. Our government is as determined to address historical injustice and racism born of colonialism, as we are determined to root out and expose racism today. Canadians have seen all too clearly during this difficult, tense time that racism, both systemic and societal, continues to be all too present in our country. The death of Joyce Echaquan has shown us this horrible truth.
Once we know the truth, we cannot unknow it. June Callwood said that if someone is an observer of an injustice, that person is indeed a participant. All of us need to identify racism in all its forms and then speak up, call it out and be part of the concrete changes that will stop it. It must not and will not be tolerated.
The Government of Canada remains fully committed to supporting the Mi'kmaq right to fish and to maintain a moderate livelihood. We will continue to engage in constructive dialogues with the Nova Scotia chiefs to implement these rights. I am working closely with my colleague, the hon. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, toward a peaceful resolution and the advancement of Mi'kmaq rights.
The Mi'kmaq leadership is inspiring. I am confident that we will be able to find a path forward together that affirms their right to fish and creates certainty so that the Mi'kmaq people are able to live with dignity and security, free from violence. A timely and peaceful resolution will make Nova Scotia and Canada stronger and fairer. We will all win.