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Results: 1 - 16 of 16
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 15:23 [p.27594]
Mr. Speaker, a number of times my colleagues have tried to insert into the binding text of the legislation the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Currently, in this piece of legislation, it is once again in the preamble but is not part of anything that is binding.
I wonder if my hon. colleague might comment as to why we once again find ourselves with a bill for indigenous people that does not include the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 15:50 [p.27598]
Mr. Speaker, I think the member and I chatted once after a speech about Diefenbaker. We were on the same side for a short period, and then we veered off.
The government members have said that they entertained amendments from the opposition regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am not sure my colleague shares my view, but I would like to see the declaration in the text of the bill. I would like to hear his comments on that. The government has included it in the purpose of the bill, with language like “contribute to” and “facilitate”. It is not in the binding text of the bill, and for me, this means that it is not something the government has to adhere to.
I would also like him comment on the fact that we do not have to wait for a private member's bill, Bill C-262, to pass. The government has all the power it needs to include sections of the UN declaration immediately in the language bill.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 16:13 [p.27601]
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin my remarks, as many have today, by saying that we meet today on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg. I hope that one day we will begin all our daily proceedings in this place with this acknowledgement. I also want to acknowledge that my riding is situated in Treaty 6 territory and on the ancestral homeland of the Métis people.
[Member spoke in Cree as follows:]
[Cree text translated as follows:]
On behalf of my constituents of Saskatoon West, I am honoured to offer a very small greeting in Cree. I do not speak the language. Of Canada's 70-plus indigenous languages, Cree is the most widely spoken in my riding of Saskatoon West.
We know that the ancestral languages spoken by the first peoples of Saskatchewan and Canada are at risk of not just decline but in many cases of extinction.
Of all the people reporting an indigenous mother tongue in Canada, the third-highest proportion lives in Saskatchewan. For centuries, Saskatchewan has been the ancestral home of many first peoples, including the Cree, Assiniboine, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Atsina and Blackfoot. Many people would not know that we have five indigenous languages spoken in my riding: Cree, Ojibwa, Dene, Dakota and Michif. Indeed, most would not know that the vast majority of indigenous languages in this country are endangered and that there is a critical need to rise to the challenge and ensure their preservation, protection and promotion.
While Bill C-91 seeks to preserve and protect indigenous languages in Canada and to try to put our colonial past behind us, I find it deeply flawed. Sadly, I do not believe it would accomplish all that it is set up to do.
My esteemed New Democrat colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, who helped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, expressed at second reading some significant concerns about the effectiveness of the legislation that he hoped would be addressed by the committee. I thought I would share his concerns.
First, the bill does not provide or indicate that significant funding will be dedicated for the protection of indigenous languages in Canada.
Protecting and promoting indigenous languages requires stable and long-term financial support based upon the needs of indigenous communities and provided within the principles of free, prior and informed consent. However, for four long years, instead of a federal government taking decisive action to protect, preserve, promote and invest in indigenous languages, the responsibility to educate our young people has continued to fall primarily on dedicated teachers, elders and individual speakers. These community leaders and language keepers have done an amazing job in building curricula and facilities, creating teaching materials and doing fundraising to help protect their languages.
One of those leaders, who lives in my riding of Saskatoon West, is Belinda Daniels. Belinda is a member of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation and an educator and teacher with Saskatoon Public Schools. Belinda comes from a generation of Cree people who grew up feeling shame and trepidation for trying to learn their own language, so as an adult, Belinda founded the Nehiyawak Summer Language Experience, a Saskatchewan language immersion summer camp that has been held annually for the last 13 years at Wanuskewin and is open to anyone wishing to learn Cree.
Belinda is a true leader, and I want to thank her for all her great and hard work in preserving and promoting the language of her people.
Belinda and others working hard to teach indigenous language need a federal government that will provide substantial and meaningful financial support to help them preserve and protect our traditional languages and cultures in Canada, but there is no such provision in Bill C-91, and the government rejected all opposition amendments that sought to provide this assurance.
A second shortcoming of the bill relates to the status given to indigenous languages. During the drafting process, the government was reputedly told that the status of indigenous languages in Canada must be defined, yet this bill provides no such framework. New Democrats would like to see indigenous languages recognized as official languages or given special status and would like to see this recognition articulated and implemented in collaboration with indigenous peoples.
A third issue, which I have already raised in the debate today, pertains to indigenous rights, and specifically to articles 11 to 16 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The bill before us today does not include within the text, and therefore the legally binding sections of the bill, the inherent rights of indigenous peoples to their languages, as articulated in the UN declaration.
New Democrats wanted to see articles 11 to 16 explicitly referenced in legislation, and we tabled an amendment that would do so. However, it was defeated by the government.
I have two final points I wish to raise that are particularly troubling to me and to others.
First, for some reason the government failed to include the sixties scoop in the preamble, where the bill references the racist and discriminatory policies and laws of the Canadian government that were detrimental to indigenous languages and contributed significantly to the erosion of these languages.
Over 20,000 indigenous children were stolen from their families, placed into foster care and adopted by non-indigenous families by the sixties scoop. During this time, the Saskatchewan government implemented the “adopt an Indian Métis” child program, or AIM, as it was called. AIM, promoted sometimes through classified ads in local newspapers, encouraged the adoption of indigenous children by non-indigenous families. This program was jointly funded by the Canadian government and the Province of Saskatchewan.
The sixties scoop and AIM were distinct racist government policies to devastate indigenous families, and in so doing to deny indigenous children and their families their basic human rights, including the right to their indigenous language and culture.
Bill C-91 should have acknowledged these racist government policies to ensure we all understand how we got here today and why a bill like Bill C-91 is so needed.
Finally, Bill C-91 would not require that the indigenous language commissioner be an indigenous person. This is the office that would oversee the progress of this legislation, yet government members rejected the NDP's attempts to ensure indigenous oversight over the bill's implementation.
Although government speakers promised at second reading to work with opposition parties and other members of the House and to be open to amendments that would improve the bill, I feel this legislation has found its way to the floor of the House today with virtually no opposition amendments of substance included.
To recap, the government rejected opposition and other members' calls to define the status of indigenous languages in Canada, strengthen indigenous oversight over federal programs, explicitly refer to our country's obligations under UNDRIP, include significant moments in our colonial history and, finally, to provide adequate funding so that indigenous languages can enter into a new era of revitalization.
Clearly, colonialism is not yet behind us, and I urge all members of the House to do better.
To end, I am profoundly disappointed—I think that would be the word—that this Parliament has missed the opportunity to really and truly co-create with indigenous people an indigenous language bill that would have truly transformed people's lives.
In closing, I want to acknowledge the work of my colleague, the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. This member has shown parliamentarians how to collaborate and work together on legislation. She has proven that working together yields positive outcomes. Her leadership on her own private member's bill, Bill C-369, is nothing short of commendable.
Unfortunately, when it came to Bill C-91, her leadership and knowledge as an indigenous Dene woman were discounted. Despite the great personal cost of her efforts, we are being asked to support a bill that falls well short. I quote her words:
While the bill would be a step forward, to what goal and to what end are we walking toward? Is the goal one of half measures that would marginally improve indigenous language education in Canada, or is the end goal one of fundamental change to Canadian society that fully respects the needs of indigenous languages, recognizes their place in our culture and creates a generation of indigenous youth who speak the same languages that generations of people before them spoke?
I wish we were today debating a bill that was the fundamental change my colleague had hoped for.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 16:24 [p.27603]
Mr. Speaker, I anticipated that my hon. colleague might bring the issue up. I respect the fact that he has pointed out a number of times the reference to UNDRIP in the bill. In my comments I mentioned that it is not in the binding part of the bill. That is an extremely important distinction.
I did not at any time say no amendments were accepted. In my speech I talked about the ones that I thought were very important and should have been included in the bill to make it much better.
In no way has anyone on this side of the House delayed the government's ability to do this work quickly and to do it properly. I heard the parliamentary secretary speak of being open to amendments. I think the amendments that eventually were included in the bill by the government were not all the substantive amendments that were suggested. For that reason, I find this bill to be very lacking.
I did not in my speech talk about whether I would support the bill. I wanted the government to understand that there are a lot of problems with the bill so I mentioned those in my comments.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 16:28 [p.27603]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for highlighting another aspect of the bill that I did not have the opportunity to talk about in my remarks. That is the objections from Inuit people about the lack of mention and protection and consultation with governments as well.
I am a non-indigenous person who does not speak an indigenous language. It may be fine for me and the parliamentary secretary to say that this is a good start and that we should get on with it, but it is not. It is not talking about my identity and my culture. It is not an either-or kind of thing.
As the member who spoke before me mentioned, it is important that we pause and listen to one another and do the good work that we are meant to do. I am trying my hardest to do it but it is very difficult with what is contained in the bill.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-09 16:40 [p.27604]
Mr. Speaker, I have learned a lot from the member in my first term as a member of Parliament.
I have worked in the community and I have worked from the other side with governments, and my concern is that governments—not individuals, but governments—tend to check boxes off and say they have done something. That is my concern with this piece of legislation. It does not go far enough.
I want to echo her comments to say that regardless of the outcome today—and I think we understand what the outcome will be, as the government has a majority—I will also continue to work to improve this piece of legislation.
I would like to give the member an opportunity to make more comments on that.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Madam Speaker, as a fluent Dene speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to still do that. I was involved in the committee process, and many witnesses who came forward talked about improvements and the importance of making this the best legislation ever for Canada, yet there are so many disappointments.
I have one important question to ask the government, which I have asked outside of here. The amendments we brought forward were based on the witnesses who came forward wanting to make some amendments to strengthen the legislation. The proposed legislation is just a small step. It does not look at the whole, at the big picture.
Why has the government not taken into consideration the amendments and the hard work the witnesses have done in coming here and speaking to members of Parliament and the committee?
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to clarify. This legislation is very important to me, as a Dene speaker, and to the people in my riding and across Canada who fluently speak Dene, Cree, Michif and other languages. I find the committee process frustrating. I will ask the member what she thought when I and my colleague put forward the amendment that the language commissioner should be indigenous, which was voted against by the governing party. What is her feeling on that?
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-02 12:23 [p.27280]
Mr. Speaker, I want to give my hon. colleague an opportunity to say a few words on the government's characterization that we did okay because we passed some amendments. For some of us, some of the amendments that were not passed were extremely important and would have really improved the bill, including making the indigenous commissioner an indigenous person, making sure the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is actually in the text of the bill so it is binding, and being able to refer to the sixties scoop as a detrimental policy for indigenous people. Those were voted down.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by recognizing my community for the support they gave me, my parents, my siblings and my cousins, Dean, Debra, Desi and Dallas. I especially want to recognize my late cousin, Danielle Herman, also known as Superstar.
I rise today in a somewhat surprised and spontaneous way to speak once again to Bill C-91, an act respecting the languages of first nations, Métis and Inuit people. As a Dene language speaker and someone who grew up on a trapline, speaking Dene and learning from the land, I know how important this legislation is and how important it is to get it right.
Let me begin by saying that I only found out about 15 hours ago that this bill would be debated this morning. I only found out last night that we would be doing third reading of this bill, well outside the 48-hour time frame that it would take to get a Dene interpreter into the House so that I could speak my language.
When I am speaking with constituents back home, I try as often as I can to speak our language, because it is as much an act of resistance as it is of community. When we speak our language, we share our experience, our histories and our stories. When we speak our language, whether it is Dene or Cree or Michif, we remind ourselves that we survived residential schools and that we keep speaking, even though Canada did not want us to.
To speak here today in a language that I learned for the benefit of others, without enough opportunity to get an interpreter so that a large portion of my constituents can follow a debate on a bill that directly affects the future of their own language, to speak without interpretation is incredibly disappointing and is evidence that, once again, first nations people are expected to do business only on the terms of their colonizers. The government describes this bill as an act of reconciliation, but the actions that go on behind the scenes are the farthest thing from reconciliation.
Throughout the first two readings of this bill and the long committee meetings, I and my fellow members of Parliament repeatedly heard two things about this bill. First, we heard that the bill is not perfect. The Minister of Heritage told us this. The leaders of indigenous organizations told us this. ITK repeatedly said that this bill is not good enough for the unique needs of the Inuit. Language speakers and educators told us that they do not understand what this bill would mean for them. Rather than offering a meaningful response to the very real objections that indigenous language advocates and the NDP put forward, the government has consistently given the second response we heard repeatedly. The answer has been that despite its imperfections, Bill C-91 is an important first step toward the much bigger project that is the protection and restoration of indigenous languages.
We have been told that it is crucial for the government to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action 13, 14 and 15. We have been told that while the government acknowledges there is much more work that needs to be done, this bill points the government in the right direction.
Let me be clear. We cannot claim victory for only taking the first steps toward good legislation on indigenous languages, just as we cannot say that we are bilingual for being able to count to 10 in a new language and we cannot say that we completed a marathon after only the first kilometre. As an indigenous person who has repeatedly been told that the government is turning the page on indigenous issues, or starting fresh, or taking a new step, or going in a new direction, or whichever euphemism the government is using this week, I think I speak for the vast majority of indigenous people who will not settle for beginning again. We do not want the promise of a better tomorrow if it is not followed by concrete action and funding. We do not want the promise of better legislation tomorrow, because we have no guarantee of a willing partner.
When the Minister of Heritage appeared before committee to present the bill, he told us that he would be open to amendments. Many of the elders, organizations and language educators who consulted on this bill told us that there were conversations had and recommendations that they made that were not reflected or included in the final draft of this bill.
Many of those same elders, organizations and language educators came to committee to share their stories, advice and recommendations. In good faith, and knowing it was the will of those who know better than us, the NDP, the Green Party, the Conservatives and the member of Parliament for Nunavut proposed a number of amendments to improve the bill at committee. They were virtually all rejected.
I want to take some time now to tell this House why the amendments we proposed on behalf of others were so very important. On a number of occasions, the NDP and the member for Nunavut tried to include language that recognized the distinct language needs of the Inuit, based on the recommendations the committee heard from the ITK and its president, Natan Obed. One of the most startling facts we heard was that Nunavut actually has more English-speaking teachers than it does English-speaking students and that the English and French languages receive more funding than Inuit language education programs.
Inuit people wanted a bill that worked for them, and the ITK made a number of thoughtful and balanced amendments, but they were rejected entirely by the government.
The member for Nunavut, with his community in mind, put forward an amendment that would have allowed the government to enter into agreements with provincial and indigenous governments, in regionally specific cases, to further the language needs of those regions. His thoughtful amendment would have opened the door for federal services to be offered in indigenous languages based on a nation-to-nation understanding of what communities need.
In a territory where the large majority of people speak Inuktitut, it is a crucial act of decolonization to have access to government services in the language the people speak. Instead, services are available in French or English, and too many people do not have access. The government, by rejecting this amendment, has failed to meet the needs of the Inuit people.
This amendment was part of an ongoing conversation we have been having about the status of indigenous languages in Canada. As the House well knows by now, decades of oppression by the Canadian government and residential, boarding and day schools have told our language speakers that they and their languages have no place in Canada.
What we are seeing now is a resurgence of our languages, one where we are free to speak them in our homes and communities. We are seeing more and more young people engage with their traditions, learn the languages their elders and parents speak and practise their languages in their schools and on the land. We are seeing our elders step forward to teach their languages, many no longer afraid of what might happen if they are seen sharing their knowledge. We are seeing language speakers start camps and summer programs to teach their language. Along the way, language speakers are told by the government that they are doing good work for their people.
However, governments, both provincially and federally, are not supporting the work of language educators and youth with funding or resources to grow our languages or preserve them on our own terms. In Saskatchewan, for example, the province just announced that high school students will now be able to take classes in Dene and Cree, which sounds like a really good initiative. Unfortunately, language educators know too well that language education needs to be funded throughout childhood. Language education needs to begin in kindergarten. Meaningful education takes place in every grade, in every lesson and throughout one's life.
What we are not seeing is the recognition of the status of our languages. Without the status of our languages, we will not see the right investments made in education. We will not see the right investments made in preservation. We will not see the right investments moving forward.
I understand that there are practical concerns about status the government is concerned about, but to seriously consider those concerns is a profound act of reconciliation and decolonization the government did not want to consider, because claiming success for small steps is easier than being courageous and taking big ones.
I dream of the day when indigenous people in Canada can walk into government services buildings in their own communities and have the ability to speak their language, but that day is yet to come.
One of the other big concerns I have heard from my constituents is about the role of the indigenous languages commissioner. I understand that overseeing the funding, restoration and preservation of indigenous languages requires some bureaucracy, and this legislation would create that bureaucracy, but language educators and indigenous organizations do not know what the language commissioner's powers would be, how they would affect their day-to-day operations or how funding models would be established. All we know so far is that language educators would presumably need to go through an extra layer of government through yet another new application process to get funding.
What we also know is that elders and language educators know what is best for their own communities. The creation of another level of government that educators would have to go through is troublesome for two reasons. First is the more principled reason that the government should be funding language programs directly instead of accepting the high overhead costs of a new government agency. Second is that educators would now be under the direction of a languages commissioner, who may have the ability to say if certain ways of learning and preservation are not good enough, without knowing a particular language or cultural group and its needs.
If we value the input of educators on the ground, we need legislation that would keep the people at the front of the legislation. As it is written, it is unclear to me and to educators what the act respecting indigenous languages would actually do for indigenous language.
Furthermore, we proposed an amendment at the heritage committee that would ensure that the indigenous languages commissioner and the directors of that office would be first nations, Métis or Inuit people. It is so important that the languages commissioner be indigenous. It is only through having the lived experience of an indigenous person, knowing what our communities deal with, the history of our people, the resistance we have put up against the Canadian government and the daily experience of what it is like to live in this country that the indigenous languages commissioner could operate.
We wanted to enshrine that minimum lived experience and understanding in this position, knowing how important it would be. What we were told at committee was that asking as much was unconstitutional but that the government would do everything possible to make sure that an indigenous person would hold the position of commissioner. What I hear from the Liberal government is that it wants to protect the Constitution but act in a way that goes against it. The government wants to uphold a colonial document but use words to say that it is on our side despite it.
My big concern, and the concern I have been hearing from so many of my constituents, is that the position of languages commissioner may become a political appointment for someone who means well but does not fully understand our experiences.
At virtually every committee meeting with the Department of Canadian Heritage, Indigenous Services or Crown-Indigenous Relations, these branches of government are represented by non-indigenous people. While these ministers and professionals are educated and well meaning, there will always be a barrier to full understanding of our communities and what our communities need, because their experiences in life are so profoundly different. We had an opportunity with Bill C-91 to make sure that the barrier would be lifted and that the languages commissioner would be an indigenous person and would have a better understanding of our unique needs, but that opportunity was shut down for a mix of political and colonial reasons.
Last, there is the question of funding. A lot has been said publicly about how this legislation would just be one phase of the Liberal government's plan for indigenous languages and that funding would come later. However, there is a direct correlation between the mandate of an organization, which would be created by this bill, and the funding of an organization, which was noticeably left out.
It is unclear how the government would assist with education funding, and it is on this basis that language educators are confused by the bill. Would funding be given through a projects-based approach? How would that funding work, and on what basis would funding be given? Would existing educators be supported, or would they have to start over? Would priority be given to innovative teaching styles through apps and the Internet, or would our known ways of learning on the land and in small groups be the priority? How would sign languages be included in this funding model? How would this funding work for children who attend public and private schools across the country?
Would the languages commissioner work with provinces to fund educational initiatives from kindergarten to high school graduation? How would that work for communities that have more than one language group, such as in northern Saskatchewan, where Michif, Dene and a few dialects of Cree are all spoken in one community? Would students be forced to choose which language to learn, or would the opportunity exist to learn all languages available to them?
What about residential school survivors, survivors of the 60s scoop and the thousands of survivors and their descendants who have lost their languages at the hands of the government? We tried to include these specific groups through amendments to the preamble of the bill, but they too were rejected. How will their right to their languages be recognized, supported and taught? How will we empower survivors to regain what was taken from them and their families?
If it is not clear at this point, the bill creates a lot more questions than answers. It would be nice, if not expected, to at least know some of those answers before the bill passed through the House so that we could let indigenous people and indigenous language speakers determine for themselves if the bill would be a success.
There is a lot of pressure to support the bill. The government is running out of time to complete its mandate before the election this fall. I know that indigenous leaders are doing their best to make sure that the bill has the support it needs, because it is, at the end of the day, a step forward. However, there is exponentially more pressure to make sure that the bill, which would affect such a large aspect of our way of life, is done correctly.
While the bill would be a step forward, to what goal and to what end are we walking toward? Is the goal one of half measures that would marginally improve indigenous language education in Canada, or is the end goal one of fundamental change to Canadian society that fully respects the needs of indigenous languages, recognizes their place in our culture and creates a generation of indigenous youth who speak the same languages that generations of people before them spoke?
When I think of the bill before us, I do not think about how it will affect the outcome of the next election. I think about people like Marsha Ireland, Kevin Lewis, Graham Andrews, Cheryl Herman, Vince Ahenakew, Cameron Adams, Julius Park and so many others who have worked so hard to teach and ensure their language in northern Saskatchewan.
To conclude, it is the people and culture we have to keep in mind when we think about the bill. When I think about the future of all indigenous languages across Canada, we have to do what is right and not just what is politically convenient.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, this is very important legislation that affects all indigenous people across Canada. It affects first nations, Métis and Inuit from coast to coast to coast.
We have been told by elders, language educators, leaders and others that it is important for the government to act now. We have done enough talking. We talk, research is done on indigenous people and then more research is done. Recommendations may come forward, but we wait 10 more years.
The government is very good at saying one thing, but when it comes to real action that makes changes to indigenous people's lives, it is playing games, just as it did with respect to this debate. I was not given the chance to have an interpreter here when delivering my speech because I was not given enough time to ask for one. I have the right to use one, but the bureaucracy and the government prevented me from doing so.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to yet again clarify things from my perspective as a Dene speaker from northern Saskatchewan who has lived off the land and still practises the language at home on a regular basis.
What I hear from elders not only my community, but throughout my riding and Canada is that they want to be included and they want the opportunity to speak in their languages. Again, the government does not give them that opportunity.
I received notice of debate last night. The government did not give me 48 hours' notice so the translation office could call my interpreter to get here on time so I could deliver my speech. That is not supportive or inclusive, and it does not make changes for indigenous people.
The second piece relates to the amendment I spoke about regarding the language commissioner. It is important for us to support that it be an indigenous person. It is one thing to say that we will talk about this when the times comes, but the experience of indigenous people is that when the time comes, things get changed again. There is no support coming from the government.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent opportunity to be a member of Parliament. It is a privilege and an honour. As a member of Parliament, I expected when I came to the House of Commons, that I was an equal to other members of Parliament, the over 300 members. However, because I speak in the indigenous language, I still have to figure out a way for me to speak the language.
I would have thought, and other Canadians would think, that when indigenous people come to the House of Commons, they will have equal time to speak their languages, like the English and French languages, but we do not have that opportunity.
Again, I emphasize the importance of this legislation, but the government has taken the approach of paternalistic and colonization in the way it has gone about it. It is disrespectful to indigenous people that we have to make amendments to accommodate them instead of the other way around. The Liberals have so much to learn.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-02 12:51 [p.27284]
Mr. Speaker, that the member was unable to deliver her speech in Dene is unfortunate. I have to underline the irony of talking about legislation on indigenous languages and not allowing indigenous speakers to speak their indigenous languages.
Yesterday, we saw a House that could co-operate, that could set partisanship aside, that allowed me to table a bill on indigenous languages among procedural happenings in the House. We saw the sides come together. I was able to table legislation that included some very important amendments that were brought forward and were not passed by the government.
I wanted to make that point and allow my colleague to comment on those amendments and on the opportunity we have today to not just take a small step, but actually make a difference in the lives of people.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, language is identity. That is who we are as indigenous people and the government is playing with that. Shame on the Liberals for doing that.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-02 13:09 [p.27287]
Mr. Speaker, I commented earlier about the irony that we were discussing an indigenous language bill but members were not given the opportunity to give their speeches in indigenous languages. I shared the example that the government and parties in the House yesterday co-operated so we could do something better together, but my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River was unable to give her speech in Dene. That is ironic and hypocritical.
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