Hon. Marty Klyne: Senator Gold, many Canadians and parliamentarians are fired up and ready to advance the 2024 reconciliation agenda in our great nation of nations. Last year, we made historic progress on a number of fronts: the release of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, action plan; Bill C-51, the Whitecap Dakota self-government agreement in Saskatchewan; Bill C-45, which amended the First Nations Fiscal Management Act; and the selection of a site for a residential schools monument on Parliament Hill, which followed the June 2022 dedication of the Saskatchewan Residential School Memorial on the grounds of the Government House in Regina. Senator Gold, what are the government’s priorities with respect to advancing reconciliation this year?
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you, senator. It is a very important question. As senators are aware, the government remains firmly committed to reconciliation and implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It is an imperative for Canada. I’m happy to report — though it is never enough — that 85% of these Calls to Action are complete or very well under way. While there is significant work being done on this front, I would also note that the legislation to establish the national council for reconciliation is almost across the finish line, thanks to the good work and contribution of this chamber.
The government remains committed to implementing all the Calls to Action to advancing reconciliation and always in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Senator Klyne: Senator Gold, one bill that I want to see moved forward in the Senate is Senator Kutcher’s Bill S-251 to end the use of corporal punishment on kids, answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 6. The other place is also considering the same topic with Bill C-273. What is the government’s position on the road ahead in answering Call to Action 6?
Senator Gold: As I said, the government is committed to implementing all of the Calls to Action, including, of course, Call to Action 6. My understanding, senator, is that the government is still continuing to explore the best way to respond to that Call to Action to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code. When the government lands on that, I will inform the chamber.