Question Period: Indigenous Self-Determination

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Hon. Marty Klyne: June is National Indigenous History Month, as colleagues in this chamber know, bringing awareness to the history of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across the land now known as Canada. Learning about this history is essential to understanding the present and each other. Many Canadians may not fully grasp what treaties represent, nor the fact that Canada and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, or MN-S, are currently negotiating a modern treaty.

Once ratified by the citizens of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, there will be federal legislation to implement the agreement upholding MN-S’s right to self-determination and treaty relationship. Senator Gold, will the government commit to ensuring that this anticipated legislation will be presented to Parliament in a timely manner upon our return in the fall?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question, senator, and for raising this important issue.

The government is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government and Inuit-Crown relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership as the foundation for transformative change.

Having said that, I’m not in a position to speculate as to when legislation may or may not be tabled.

Senator Klyne: Senator Gold, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Action Plan released last year identifies Métis priorities, including Canada’s recognition in support of Métis rights to self-determination. Walking the path of reconciliation is often slow going; however, we’re now seeing negotiations with Métis people, as laid out in the action plan. Should that give Canadians heart that our great nation of nations is indeed progressing towards better relationships and a brighter future?

Senator Gold: You’re right, senator, that this is a process. It’s an ongoing one, and indeed positive strides have been made over the past decades.

The government is working in collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to identify priorities for aligning federal laws with the declaration and for holding Canada accountable for its implementation. I have been assured that the government will continue to commit to the full and effective implementation of the declaration.

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