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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-24 18:25 [p.1464]
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and address the chamber.
I am disappointed in the Conservative Party. Those members have been consistent in terms of not really being genuine with respect to supporting the important issue of reconciliation. It has been interesting throughout the day to listen to members stand up and in essence belittle the legislation or outright oppose it, not really recognizing just how important this is.
I have heard members say it is just one bill, that it just deals with the citizenship oath. The citizenship oath is very important. Every year, more than 100,000 individuals will take the oath of citizenship. I suspect no one would try to underplay the importance of the swearing in of a new citizen.
The debate that we have been hearing today has been about reconciliation. The opposition, particularly Conservative members, have been giving the false impression that Bill C-6 is all we are doing for reconciliation. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.
Virtually from day one back in 2015, when our government replaced the Harper regime, Canadians finally had a government that was committed to reconciliation. For many years, indigenous communities in all regions of this country had been calling on the government to do something on reconciliation, and the Conservatives stood by and did virtually nothing.
I remember sitting on the opposition benches and calling for a public inquiry in regard to the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, well over 1,400 of them, and the Conservatives did absolutely nothing. I had the opportunity to ask that question myself. One of the first things our government did was to establish a public inquiry into that.
It is not just the calls for action. It is things such as our investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into indigenous-related issues, whether it was clean water, whether it was the environment, or whether it was education. The Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations would tell us a long list of actions that have been taken. Bill C-6 today is just one aspect of an ongoing way to deal with reconciliation. The Conservatives say we are taking low-hanging fruit from the trees, or whatever they are implying. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
I spoke inside this chamber not that long ago in regard to other calls for action, such as the preservation of heritage language, such as child and family services, such as foster kids. In my province alone, well over 10,000 children are in foster care. One of the calls for action dealt with that particular issue. We brought in substantial legislation last year to help in ensuring that we are able to assist in foster care and able to provide the necessary care by enabling indigenous communities and leaders to take back more responsibility with regard to their children. That is fairly substantial.
We have taken action on eight or nine calls for action. Many of these recommendations are not even completely under federal jurisdiction.
I will continue my comments at a later point, as it appears my time is running out.
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