Bill C-8—Consideration of Subject Matter in Committee of the Whole—Senator Bovey

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Red tulips, Ottawa

Senator Bovey: Welcome, minister. I would like to thank the CSG for giving me this time.

Minister, I support Bill C-8 and the new Oath. I have spoken with a presiding officer of Senate citizenship ceremonies who likewise is pleased with this change.

You have talked about the different wording from that in Call to Action 94 and your consultative outreach. I’m going to turn to the citizenship guide, an important educational tool for the school curriculum as well as the citizenship test.

Can you assure this chamber that it will include a meaningful discussion of the rich Indigenous cultures and their artistic expressions? How will the material in this new guide be circulated to schools and incorporated in the curriculum? How will it be circulated to citizenship candidates and among Canadians more broadly? I’m looking for content and the “how” of circulation.

Mr. Mendicino: Thank you for those excellent questions, senator. With regard to your question around content, we continue to have ongoing discussions and collaborative efforts to update the guide, as I have mentioned on a number of occasions now, in a way that better reflects Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples and is certainly consistent with Call to Action 93. That work is ongoing.

With regard to the process of circulating the guide, you have really pointed out how important it is that, once you have the content, it gets out, is amplified and is shared as broadly as it can be. Certainly, I have seen over the course of the last year that we are becoming better at leveraging technology and social media platforms to distribute that information. We can do that with the guide as well.

I’d also point out that, with regard to the curriculum and the schools, it’s important that we work with our provincial partners who have the day-to-day administrative responsibility for education.

Certainly, you highlight an area where we should really be thinking forward to ensure that the guide is accessible to schools as a resource. Certainly, I will take that as a constructive suggestion.

Senator Bovey: Thank you. For Canadians as well as citizenship candidates, it’s really important.

I want to underline one thing for the content. The artistic expressions of Canada’s Indigenous artists honestly are among the best Canadian works. We’re known internationally for the work by Indigenous artists. It’s critically important that that be included in the guide.

I’m going to cede the rest of my time, Madam Chair.

Mr. Mendicino: Duly noted. Thank you, senator.

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