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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
My comment is that one of the things was the hope that we would start off learning a little bit about each other by doing things together. I might be naive in believing that as a committee we can work together on issues, but first we seek to understand. While the blanket exercise is one exercise that we can do, if you have other things you believe, that is important.
This is not about tokenism. This is about understanding. This is about giving folks who didn't have an opportunity in their school system, or who didn't get a chance to learn off the land, a glimpse of our history and, in doing so, hoping that we move forward in the spirit of reconciliation. This is part of the calls to action. This is part of our first steps on this journey towards reconciliation. This is why it has been placed in front of us, in saying, “Can we move forward together as a first step in learning?” If there needs to be an appendix or an additional discussion.... If I look at the blanket exercise, it's not reflective of every single nation—I'm a Mi'kmaq—but I believe it's a really good tool to show the history of colonization in Canada. It talks about some of the things the TRC has mentioned.
Really, what I'm looking at is trying to start off in a good way, to start off in a way that seeks to listen and to hear, and to participate in something that is being used across Canada by different treaty commissions. The whole point of this, I feel, is that we can move forward in the spirit of reconciliation if we first start off by listening and opening our hearts and our minds in a good way. That was the intention of this. I think it would be historic for this committee to take this on.
I'm more than happy to discuss at subcommittee how we can involve the Métis and Inuit if the feeling is that they are excluded from this exercise. The way I've seen it done, it's not excluding, but it's perhaps done differently in Nova Scotia than it is done in other places. I was the treaty education lead for Nova Scotia.
I would just say that I think this is something that would be a historic first for us. It's in line with the TRC calls to action. I would keep the motion as is. I would like to do this and go down this exercise first, before we start making priorities.
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