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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise that reconciliation is not formed out of crisis. I feel that reconciliation is something that has been 150 years or more in the making. We can all look at recent events and question the government on our actions, but has any other government in the past 150 years acted differently towards indigenous people?
I grew up in a Mi’kmaq community. I lived this every day for 40 years. This is not something I get to come to a meeting here and just say that this is what is happening. I have lived this and have seen it my whole life, and so it is not something that has just recently transpired.
Can we do better? We can all do better. Our Prime Minister has said that as part of it, but the biggest thing is what this government is trying to do in taking steps towards reconciliation differently from all governments in the past, including Oka and Ipperwash and the other protests that have happened across this country. What we are asking is that we speak respectfully, speak to people, negotiate and have dialogue. This is what reconciliation means. It is having that patience. Indigenous peoples have had patience in Canada for more than 150 years.
Let us put this in perspective. There are three million indigenous people out there and there are fewer than 1,000 protesting. I have spent a lot of time listening to a lot of the comments over the past few weeks. I am kind of rambling here, but I get going because I have lived this. This is not just something that I debate on, but I do believe that our government is taking the steps that will lead towards the necessary path of reconciliation.
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