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View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would very much support Mr. Johns' amendment on this.
One thing is that it still says here “experts on Indigenous affairs”. We could potentially call whoever our side believes they should be. I'm just concerned, from my 10 years of experience in working with hereditarian systems, that if they are called upon by a committee, that if we name them in a committee and call them to a committee, they'll feel like it's a court that they're being called to. So I would very much make it optional. We could ask them if they want to be a part of this. I also think we have indigenous academics who would be very well suited to be able to discuss this thoroughly and understand the grasp of what this committee is trying to do—not in a confrontational way, as if they're being subpoenaed by a committee. I would not want to add fuel to the fire by saying to the hereditary chiefs, and naming them in this motion, something like, “We're calling you to appear in front of a committee”, which I feel they would take as a threat and something for which they're being subpoenaed.
I'm very much in favour of Gord Johns' motion but would just strike that. All parties have the option to recommend witnesses. I think that's something you could do at that point rather than specifically name them. They would feel like they were being subpoenaed and called to testify. We want to get to the bottom of this, but we really don't want to be in a position where we're making things worse and making it feel like Canada has just subpoenaed these chiefs.
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