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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-20 12:58 [p.1312]
Madam Speaker, let me start by indicating that this is a very difficult situation. No matter where we are in Canada, we understand the principle at stake here, and trying to simplify it does it a disservice. At the end of the day, we recognize how difficult it is for both indigenous and non-indigenous people, whether it is a specific community or the broader community.
The other day, the Prime Minister asked Canadians to continue to be patient as we try to work through this very difficult situation. We need to appreciate that there is a lot at stake. If we were to follow the advice of the Conservatives, we would be rolling the dice. I can say the odds would not be in our favour if we were to take their approach. There is a consequence to an action, and the actions that the Conservative Party has been presenting for a while now are, I believe, irresponsible.
The Conservatives often reflect on what is taking place with the leadership on this side. I like to think that it is not just the leader of the Liberal Party, but that we are also hearing calls for de-escalation from all political parties except the Conservatives. We are hearing from the different stakeholders that we need to de-escalate the situation as much as possible. Are the Conservatives helping or are they becoming a hindrance?
The current leader has said we should send in the RCMP to get rid of the blockades. Peter MacKay, the wannabe leader of the Conservative Party, has tried to glorify individuals who were tearing apart a blockade as if being a vigilante is a good thing. Yes, he has retracted that particular tweet, but I would suggest that the words we are hearing from the current and potential future leadership of the Conservative Party are not helping the situation, nor does this motion, will.
If the Conservative Party wanted to contribute to the debate, we could have talked about the issue of reconciliation today. Different parties have different perspectives on it. I rather enjoyed the parliamentary secretary's most recent speech a few minutes ago when she talked about the types of things the government has done to advance us toward reconciliation. Over the last couple of days I listened to members from the Bloc, the NDP and the Green Party talking as well about the ways in which we can not only de-escalate the situation but also broaden the debate to talk about the issue of reconciliation. I truly believe the Conservative Party would do more of a service for Canadians if its members adopted the same attitude.
We understand the impact that the situation is having on the Canadian economy. We have representations in all regions of this country, including western Canada, an area I represent personally. I understand the economics just as well as the Conservatives, who proclaim they are concerned about the economy. Need I remind the members opposite of the so-called LNG project? By working with the Wet'suwet'en, the NDP provincial government in British Columbia, the national government, business and the private sector, we were able to accomplish the greatest, most significant capital infrastructure commitment, which was billions of dollars to create the LNG project.
Today we heard often from the Conservatives that the majority of the members of the Wet'suwet'en community support this economic adventure. That took a great deal of effort, not only in the community itself but also in gaining support from the government in British Columbia, the national government, the private sector and more.
We even have the Bloc recognizing that the federal government has a role to play in issues of this nature. Whether it is economic development for the betterment of all Canadians, when we have issues of this nature from time to time, it is the way we deal with those issues.
To try to give the impression that nothing has been happening for the last couple of weeks is just false. Casting aspersions on a lot of fine work that has been done, whether by the government of B.C., the Wet'suwet'en community leaders or the national government and the role that we have played is wrong. To try to imply that nothing is happening is false.
We could all give some encouragement and a vote of confidence to our RCMP. We tend to differ from the Conservative opposition in that we believe and have full confidence in our RCMP, in our law enforcement agencies, and we believe that political parties do not have the right to direct them to arrest that person or that group of people. It is not our place to do that.
People should be concerned when the official opposition members who hope to be in government someday say that they would give specific direction to the RCMP. I refer to Peter MacKay's quote from his twitter account. We should be concerned about those types of knee-jerk reactions coming from Conservative leadership.
In the broader picture, I would have liked to have seen a discussion or debate on those types of issues. There is a great deal of interest in the issue of reconciliation. When I listen to the New Democrats and the Green Party, I often hear we are not doing enough. I would suggest that we have accomplished a great deal, and there is still more to do. I think of some of the actions that we have taken in a relatively short period of time, such as dealing with heritage language, dealing with the tens of thousands of children in foster care or in the welfare system with the shifting over and empowerment that is taking place in indigenous communities as a result, or statutory holidays, or the issue of citizenship, or the 94 calls for action, many of which required action by the federal government, and which we have responded to. There has been debate as well on the former private member's bill, Bill C-242, on the UN declaration, so we have seen many measures in the last number of years that reached out and took active steps toward positive reconciliation.
That was completely foreign to the previous government. When the Conservatives were in power, we did not see anything of that nature.
I believe if we want to continue to see the economy moving forward as it has, with over one million jobs over the last four years, we need to recognize that working with different stakeholders and working with indigenous communities in the economy and the environment is absolutely essential. It is not an option. As the Prime Minister has indicated, we need to have patience as we try to work through this very difficult situation, realizing that it does cause a lot of frustration for all of us here in Canada.
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