Question Period: Creation of Indigenous Ombudsperson Position

By: The Hon. Michèle Audette

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Lebreton Flats and Canadian geese, Ottawa

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Hon. Michèle Audette: Honourable senators, my first question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Today is an important day for thousands of families and survivors across Canada, as well as for those who have lost loved ones. We are marking Sisters in Spirit Day. I would like to thank my colleagues who have decided to participate.

I have a duty of responsibility towards these families, as well as a great deal of love for them. They campaigned for over 50 years for the creation of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and Canada finally ordered the launch of this inquiry. The inquiry produced many reports and recommendations, of course, as well as Calls for Justice for Canada and Quebec. The third anniversary of the inquiry’s final report was on June 3. In addition, the first anniversary of the federal government’s action plan recently passed.

Senator Gold, one of the Calls for Justice is particularly important to me. Call for Justice 1.7 calls for the creation of an Indigenous ombudsperson position in partnership with organizations, Indigenous governments and the federal government. This Call for Justice also aims to create space for human rights and Indigenous peoples’ rights.

I would like to know where Canada stands with regard to Call for Justice 1.7, which is very important.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people have the right to be safe in the communities they call home.

This national strategy calls for a whole-of-government approach, which means respecting our goals as a country and all the Calls for Justice.

I am told that, in the Federal Pathway, the Government of Canada committed to producing an annual progress report on key milestones and its progress toward fulfilling the commitments. On June 3, 2022, the government released the first Federal Pathway progress report. The report provides an update on more than 50 initiatives and programs launched as part of the Federal Pathway and led by 25 federal departments and agencies. The report also identifies what remains to be done.

Senator Audette: Let me repeat the question. What progress has the federal government made on Call for Justice 1.7 concerning the creation of an ombudsperson position?

Senator Gold: I don’t have an answer to your question. I will look into it and try to get a response for you. I want to note, however, that the work has already begun in partnership with Indigenous communities to ensure that we can develop the Federal Pathway together.

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