Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this historic legislation for the country. It is great to have this coming forward quickly.
[Member spoke in Gwich'in as follows:]
dunich’uu? drin gwiinzii shilak kat
[Gwich'in text translated as follows:]
How are you? Good day, friends and relatives.
I hope the member for Nunavut goes to committee so he can elaborate more. I know he has a lot to contribute.
I appreciated being involved in the consultations in my riding in Yukon. Money for aboriginal languages goes to the individual self-governing first nations in Yukon. The chiefs have made it clear to me that they want to continue with that model and that the individual governments in the government-to-government relationships can best decide where that money should go. I am very excited and would encourage everyone involved in this, as well as the commissioner who might make those decisions, to ensure this format continues. One size does not fit all. Particular first nations know the best way to help preserve and promote their language.
I was hoping to ask the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, who I know is an expert in the field, for some examples of successes. There have been great successes. Statistics show that people who have learned their aboriginal language, who know their aboriginal language and who are connected to their culture are more successful in life and in education, because they have the grounding.
An aboriginal youth said to me that the language and culture came first, not last, when youth had problems or difficulties, because the language grounded them and gave them that pride and strength to carry on and become successful in life. I know every member of this Parliament would want indigenous people to have that success in life, to be able to move forward and to close the unacceptable socio-economic gaps in our country. This language law is a big step in the right direction.