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Results: 1 - 15 of 29
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
I was very troubled to hear that a CBC radio host in the Yukon felt compelled to resign because, as an indigenous person, she could not speak her truth. While we know the Broadcasting Act states that the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of indigenous peoples, it would seem there are some challenges.
Therefore, does the Minister of Heritage share the concern of some journalists that problems of systemic racism in Canada are still existing within the institution of the CBC, and will the government now acknowledge the need to recognize the jurisdiction of indigenous governments?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you.
When I was in the government, and as a minister, I learned the term “red meat” issues. I understand these issues to be ones that challenge societal norms, that are not politically expedient to address because they can lose you votes, even though addressing them is morally right and a smart thing to do. Mostly these are issues addressing inequality and the most marginalized in our society.
In the justice system, examples include mandatory minimum penalties, defunding police, and even investing in restorative justice. Red-meat issues often become defining issues for society and for governments as the world changes. Surely now these issues are politically less of a consideration than the tragic reality of even more slain indigenous Canadians at the hands of police, or thousands of indigenous people still incarcerated or living in poverty.
Will this government please finally commit to the necessary work originally promised in 2015 and repeal in the justice system the vast majority of mandatory minimum penalties, assuring the necessary discretion for judges, and meaningfully invest in restorative justice measures?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
I'll go on to another red meat issue. In British Columbia we are in the fifth year of the opioid overdose public health emergency crisis. Sadly, May marks the deadliest month of overdose-related deaths. We are halfway into the year and have currently passed 500 deaths caused by overdose. Many of the deaths are related to COVID-19 measures that have prevented people from accessing supervised consumption sites, so they are overdosing alone. While the provinces welcomed the federal backing of safe supply exemption back in March, it is to expire in September of 2020.
Echoing the call of the chief coroner of B.C. and Dr. Henry, more is needed from the federal government, more action. Will the government provide the necessary supports to the province and help support safe supply initiatives in the provinces?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
While there seems to be general consensus that systemic racism exists in Canada, there's been much recent debate about what it means. Can the government please tell this committee how it defines “systemic”, and provide specific examples of policy and legislative initiatives that are under way or being considered?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
I didn't hear a specific definition of “systemic racism” there, but I'll move to my next question.
With respect to indigenous peoples, would the government agree the Indian Act is one of the most, if not the most, egregious examples of systemic racism in Canada, in particular in sections 5 through 17, where the Crown is still legislating and determining who is legally an Indian, and sections 74 through 80, where the Crown is still legislating how those people so define and govern themselves? Would the government not agree that these are both examples of systemic racism?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you. I'm not sure I heard agreement with my question.
Surely it is the height of racism when one group of people tells another who they are and how they make decisions about themselves. Does the minister agree that the determination of who are indigenous persons and how they govern themselves and make internal decisions should be an exclusive power of a recognized indigenous people?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you.
Just to clarify and be certain, does the minister agree that these powers of governance should be the exclusive powers to recognize indigenous peoples?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
This government has stated numerous times that it is committed to advancing sentencing reform that will “stand the test of time”. It also states it is “committed to...[addressing] the tragic problem of overrepresentation of indigenous peoples and marginalized Canadians while holding offenders to account and protecting victims.”
I think most members in this House would agree that the time for empty promises is over and that action is required. Evidence clearly shows that mandatory minimum penalties are a big part of the problem and not smart justice policy. There has been enough study and too much delay due to political expediency.
When will the government confirm that it will repeal mandatory minimum penalties for all but the most serious offences?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Today is our 16th COVID committee meeting, and while this committee has certainly been and remains important, so too are all aspects of our democracy and our institutions. I believe, as I have heard from many constituents, that we need to ensure that the House of Commons resumes on September 21. There is no question that there are critical issues that we need to discuss, both domestically and globally.
Will the government commit to taking all necessary steps to ensure that we will meet in Parliament on September 21, whether virtually, in person or in a similar manner as we are today?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
While all Canadians can look with shock and horror at the events unfolding south of the border, we cannot be complacent in our own country when it comes to issues of racism against black Canadians, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups.
With respect to indigenous peoples, we have made strides forward, yet we are only now beginning to come of age as a country. There is still systemic racism. We still have the Indian Act. We still have significant levels of over-incarceration of marginalized people. I know for certain that significant work has been done at the Department of Justice on necessary sentencing reforms and restorative justice measures to address the overrepresentation of indigenous peoples in the justice system, and there is a clear plan for getting rid of the Indian Act through rights recognition.
We know what needs to be done. Will the Prime Minister please tell this country why the government has failed to support these comprehensive and transformative plans? Nice words need to be translated into action. If not now, when? If not us, who?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you. I definitely agree that we need action and we need it now.
Relatedly, today, as we know, is the one-year anniversary of the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls report and its calls to action. Many ministers of the government have stood in this committee in the last few days and emphasized the importance of hearing the calls for justice from across the country and around the world.
The murdered and missing indigenous women and girls report has 231 calls for justice. Can the government commit today, on the one-year anniversary of the report, to releasing the action plan on MMIWG? More consultation should not be an excuse for inaction.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Minister of Employment has stated that measures would be forthcoming for individuals with disabilities, similar to the one-time payment increase given to seniors on OAS and GIS.
Could the minister please provide some more details with respect to the statement she made? When can individuals with disabilities expect meaningful financial assistance?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Thank you for that.
My office has heard from many constituents who are frustrated over the lack of information on eligibility requirements from the government regarding the business credit availability program. Furthermore, banks are giving small and medium-sized businesses mixed messaging.
How will the government ensure that the messaging for BCAP and similar programs is articulated properly?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Chair, members may not be aware, but there are ongoing restrictions on when some civil servants can access government servers and their files due to the pandemic, to ensure that those dealing directly with the pandemic have priority. For example, this is affecting negotiations with indigenous peoples.
Can the government please tell us when the system will have sufficient capacity so that all civil servants can do their work remotely and without limitation?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
As current and former parliamentarians call for a national inquiry into long-term care homes, something I would strongly support, can the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations please give the members an idea as to when the action plan on murdered and missing indigenous women and girls will be released?
In asking this question, I certainly understand the need for consultation and the reality of some delays due to the pandemic.
There are of course many actions that we all know need to take place now that do not need more consultation. The need for consultation cannot be an excuse for the lack of action.
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