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Results: 1 - 15 of 279
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
[Member spoke in Cree as follows:]
[Cree text translated as follows:]
Madam Speaker, to all my relations, I say hello. I am very proud to be here.
[English]
Madam Speaker, I would like to highlight the work of students at the Met School and other schools in Winnipeg, who, as a school project, raised the issue of water for indigenous peoples. Their fashion project “Strut for Shoal” was a great success. The federal government has finally built Freedom Road, with its grand opening last week, connecting the community with better access.
The students also created a petition calling upon the federal government to ensure a water treatment plant is built and available in Shoal Lake 40. These are fine, young Canadians who are doing fine work for all indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I wear this beaded jacket that has the image of indigenous women so we may never forget that we all have a role in giving a voice to those who have been ignored for far too long.
In 2017, Bill S-3 was finally passed with a delay concerning the 1951 cut-off criteria. The government said it needed time to consult on an implementation plan. The minister's special representative has completed her consultations and report, which was just tabled in Parliament. Indigenous women and their descendants want to know. When will they finally have their human rights restored?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Madam Speaker, I was just reading about the new agreement or what the government just approved. It was allowing the extra earnings from the TMX to fund clean energy transition. This is about striking a balance, and this bill here is about ensuring that there is a balance. I know that there are people there who have—
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Madam Speaker, I wish the member for New Westminster—Burnaby could be a bit more polite as I try to offer my thoughts.
Balance is truly something that we need to have. We had this opportunity to hear the minister speak a bit about that balance and how we have to ensure that indigenous peoples also have the opportunity to get jobs and provide for their families and to be part owners of this, having equity and then using those funds to transition to a cleaner and better economy. Striking that balance for each and every Canadian is important.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, we all love Pope Francis because he is such a defender of social justice. I would like to quote from the National Post:
Pope Francis said on Friday that carbon pricing is “essential” to stem global warming—his clearest statement yet in support of penalizing polluters—and appealed to climate change deniers to listen to science.
This is extremely important, because we actually have a credible plan, which is before Parliament and before the Canadian public, and we need to do something. I call on good Catholics and on all Canadians to get behind the Pope and get behind this plan to make sure that we actually do something so we have a good environment for future generations.
Is this plan really the only plan that we have before Canadians? It is a very good plan, but we need to get started and not wait and wait and wait and listen to those deniers who would deny us the opportunity, like Doug Ford, or those in Alberta, or those across the country who deny continually, those Conservatives—
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, in the Senate there are a number of bills that are so important, just like this exact bill here, Bill C-68. There are also Bill C-88, Bill C-91, Bill C-92, Bill C-93, Bill C-391, Bill C-374, Bill C-369 and Bill CC-262. All these bills are being delayed by the Senate because they are taking far too long.
I was wondering if the hon. minister could tell us why the Conservative senators are delaying all these bills, delaying us from doing the job that Canadians have sent us here to do. They gave us a mandate in 2015, after a decade of darkness with the Conservatives, to repair the damage they had done to the environment and to indigenous communities and to make sure we get this job done.
Can the hon. minister talk a little bit about that, please?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member knows that in the Conservative-run province of Manitoba, two agreements had been signed with the Métis people for hydro development. Under that government in Manitoba, the Conservatives started cancelling those treaties, I mean agreements. Agreements do sound a lot like treaties. Where is the respect in Manitoba for indigenous rights under a Conservative government?
As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Province of Manitoba, when we say those words at the beginning of every speech, “We are here on the traditional lands of the Métis nation”, we must recognize that this province was founded by the Métis people under their leader Louis Riel.
I would like to quote David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, who said, “Do you want to get revenge on the Métis people?”
I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary, should we be respecting indigenous rights right across this country, not only by Liberal or NDP governments but also by Conservative governments?
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the poverty rate is high in Winnipeg Centre. I was just reading about the drop in the poverty rate, which is currently the lowest it has ever been in recorded Canadian history. I even learned today that the median after-tax income was $59,800 in 2017, the highest in Canadian history. Obviously, we need to do more because there are still people living in poverty in Canada, particularly in Winnipeg Centre.
I would like to know what the minister and the government intend to do to further reduce poverty among children, seniors and the population in general.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, from Winnipeg Centre all the way to Surrey Centre, I want the member to know that division 7 of part 4 would amend the Old Age Security Act to provide, in July 2020, a new income exemption for the purpose of calculating the guaranteed income supplement. This new exemption excludes the first $5,000 of a person's employment and self-employment income, as well as 50% of the person's employment and self-employment income greater than the $5,000, but not exceeding $15,000. This will be great for seniors. It will allow them to continue working, while ensuring they receive those benefits.
We are providing our hard-working seniors with the things they need to be successful.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, we know the history surrounding the child welfare system. It is related to the residential school era. Before we would take children in order to assimilate them into the majority culture. We moved into the sixties scoop where there were a lot of adoptions. There were good examples. People were trying to build relationships and build love in families and tried to look after children.
However, we moved into this foster era with our children. In Manitoba, there are 11,000 kids in care, and 90% are first nations. I think the Canadian state, including the provinces and the federal government, have completely failed these families and children.
The bill is very interesting. On one side, it has the child at the centre, but it also has issues of jurisdiction, which are two components that come together.
I would like to point out to the hon. member that governments can never legislate love. Love can never be legislated by any law in Parliament. That is what should be at the centre of our action for these children. We want to produce children who are fully contributing members, who reach their full potential and are able to be successful in life. In order to do that, as human beings, they need good loving relationships.
If the Canadian state has failed so much, if we have failed collectively as a society, then it is time to let indigenous peoples make those choices. It is time to let them make decisions for themselves, to give them the opportunity of making mistakes, but also to have the chance for success of enabling their children to experience love and to be fully contributing members of our society.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, this bill is so important. There was discussion about the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The bill they proposed presents an entirely different world view. Bill C-92 is going to allow a lot more leeway for that world view to shine forth. The bill from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs talks about ceremony. It is about the interconnected, holistic nature of the indigenous philosophy, which perhaps we will not find in federal legislation but which is extremely important in how indigenous peoples seriously view the world.
I hope, as the bill moves to its final stages through the Senate, that when the Governor General gives royal assent to the bill, ceremony plays an important role. I know that the bill that was developed by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs was developed in ceremony, through prayer and through the use of the pipe, with a great amount of spirituality and the use of the drums.
This might sound strange in this place with respect to how we deal with legislation here, but it was extremely important to the people of Manitoba and the people who developed that bill and the way they wanted to move forward. I hope the government will be able to find an additional accommodation at the royal assent stage to know that this bill is imbued with the spirit of all Canadians in coming together in the belief that our children really do matter.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
[Member spoke in Cree as follows:]
[Cree text translated as follows:]
Mr. Speaker, to all my relations, I say hello. I am very proud to be here.
I am Robert Gauthier. I am from Red Pheasant First Nation.
[English]
Mr. Speaker, I am from Red Pheasant First Nation, which is a Cree community in Saskatchewan, and I am very proud of that.
I remember when I first rose in the House on December 8, 2015, for my maiden speech. I talked about child and family services because it was such an important issue to the people of Manitoba and especially the people of Winnipeg Centre. They were so upset with what was occurring in our province and in our city.
Imagine if 90,000 children in Quebec or 130,000 children in Ontario had been placed in foster care. There would have been an uprising and rioting in the streets. It would have been a huge deal if it had happened in other provinces.
This bill is perhaps one of the most important pieces of legislation that I believe we are going to pass, not only because it is about children and the best interests of children but also because it is about jurisdiction and giving indigenous communities control. It is important for a number of reasons. One is repairing our colonial past of residential schools, when we took away children and forcibly assimilated them into the Canadian body politic, and when we took away their languages.
I said in my maiden speech, “I think of our first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, God bless his soul, who imprisoned indigenous peoples, stole our children, and stole our languages.” I was talking about the history of this nation. That history of residential schools continued on into the 1960s, when instead of placing kids in large institutions around the country far from major urban centres, we placed them in adoption centres and sent them around the world. I meet young men and women my age who have come home to Canada who were adopted out into France or the United States. This was often called the sixties scoop.
We still have foster families today, and in Manitoba there are 11,000 kids in care, which is where the number of 90,000 comes from. If we had the same number of kids in care today as there are in Manitoba, per capita there would be 90,000 in Quebec and 130,000 in Ontario.
The child welfare system has a significant impact on real people. For example, let us look at Dwayne Gladu, who is from my riding, and his daughter Lisa.
Dwayne was placed in a foster family as a child. So was his daughter, but his daughter was placed in a foster family because her father had a mark in his file that said that he had been in foster care, which meant that he was not going to be a good parent. He was indigenous, so he was going to have problems, even though Dwayne is a man who follows what we call the “red road”. He is a good man, whom I have met many times on the powwow trail. While he may be poor, by nature he is a very good and kind person.
Lisa, Dwayne's daughter, also had a birth alert against her, and when she gave birth only a few years ago, her child was seized immediately, without giving her the opportunity of proving that she would be a good parent. She fell into despair. She no longer had access to her child. She had to prove that she would be a good parent and take parenting classes when no one else had to do that. Her only crime was having been in a foster family herself.
In her despair, she became depressed. She fell in with the wrong crowd because she was poor and living in downtown Winnipeg. She started using drugs, and eventually she died from an overdose on the streets of Winnipeg.
Dwayne still goes to visit his grandson at every opportunity. Every week he is there with his grandson, enjoying their time together. He is trying to be a good grandfather and pass along his culture.
I think about Lisa because today is also when the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its report.
I am wearing a jacket that was given to me by the women of Winnipeg Centre. I am not sure if the cameras can come closer for a close-up of this jacket, but two women have been beaded onto the lapel. It was given to me to remind me why I am here. It is to remind me of Lisa, to never forget her name, to never forget her hopes and dreams and her desire to hold her child in her arms every day when she wakes up and to put that child to sleep. She never had that opportunity. It was taken from her by this system. That is what this legislation is supposed to change. That is what this legislation is about. That is why it is so important.
When I gave my maiden speech in this House, over 300,000 people viewed that speech by a backbencher on Facebook. That says that people were hungry for something different.
I am very proud of the work everyone on that committee did, whether it was the Conservatives, the NDP, or even the Green Party and the independents. They came together on the committee to study this legislation, because it will make a significant difference in the future. We will be able to look back at this moment in 30 or 40 years and say that this was perhaps the finest piece of legislation in this chamber. Even though it is coming at the end of this session, it does not reduce its importance or its significance.
There is also the question of jurisdiction. The Indian Act from 1876 granulated indigenous peoples and their nations into small component parts. It took what were large groupings of people from Treaty 1 territory, Treaty 3 territory and Treaty 7 territory, where hundreds of indigenous groups, tribes and nations were living in a communal way and coming together at certain times of the year, and granulated them down into these small communities that were isolated from each other. They had no agency in their lives. This is about allowing those indigenous nations to reform themselves and in one area have full supremacy. Their laws would take precedence over federal or provincial law. That is significant.
The member for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital is applauding right now, because he knows how important this is in Manitoba.
I recently spoke, in a few of the questions and comments periods, about how governments cannot legislate love. Governments can never legislate love. A government cannot love people. Sir John A. Macdonald and his ghost will never be able to love our children. People, Canadians, have to do that.
Another member in this debate said that our children are a resource. Unfortunately, yes, they are a resource in the sense that we receive funds to look after them. It is easier to pay someone else to look after the children than to help a family become successful and ensure that the children remain with their parents, where they have a connection to the culture and who they are and a connection to family members and those who love them most dearly. Maybe they are going to have an imperfect love, but it will be a strong love nonetheless.
I am very proud of the work that each and every one of us has done. I see the House leader. I do not mean to mention that she is here, but I hope that when we pass this legislation and it receives royal assent, it will be done in a way that includes a ceremony with the Governor General and that indigenous people will be included. Even though Parliament is supreme in its matters, its decisions and how it legislates, we can also decide to include others. It is very important to include the indigenous world view in this legislation and to make sure that the indigenous world view is paramount.
I am now ready for questions. I would like to thank each and every member. I am so proud of all the work we have done. I will be able to look my children in the eyes and look at myself in the mirror when I go to bed at night. No matter the outcome of this election, no matter who will be in office, members can rest assured that indigenous people and all Canadians will fight for proper financing, the administration of child welfare and allowing indigenous people to do it on their own without others telling them what to do.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, that is an incredible offer. Obviously, I would love to see that happen. It is time to move this forward and on to the Senate, so that it has time to finish this work. Time is running short. It is time to give indigenous peoples the opportunity to make their own decisions.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I think “equality” and “equity” are two very important words. Every indigenous community will be doing things a little differently. Every one will have specific needs. People who live up north have different needs from those who live near urban centres.
Equity is a very important ideal. It is one where we ensure that people have the full potential to be successful in life. How to achieve that is a very good question. We have a number of cases that have gone before tribunals, which have established that indigenous child welfare should be funded at an equitable and equal level with all Canadians, that they should receive equal funding no matter where they are. How that is administered is a different thing. It is based on culture and needs within local communities.
If a government decides not to fund this legislation in the future, I suspect it will end up before the courts. I suspect that government will lose again and again. I am sure that no government wants to be on the wrong side of history, fighting children, fighting against children. It is certainly nothing that people on any side in this House want to be doing.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I hope we always remain on good terms with each other as we end this debate, hopefully very soon.
I talked a little bit about love in a previous comment that I made. Love is extremely important.
My mother was extremely poor and my father was a residential school survivor and an alcoholic. He was not one of the most stellar individuals.
I was homeless as a child as well. We called it camping, but we used to live on the streets in a little pop-up tent from Canadian Tire. My mother would keep her feet against the tent door as we were sleeping at night. I think about that and about when most kids are taken. My mother never stopped loving my brother and me. That is perhaps the most important thing.
We just had Mother's Day, and Father's Day is coming up. I think about my mother and the role she played, being both a mother and a father. Even though she is not here with us, she is in the spirit world and she is in my heart because she always showed me love. That is the most important thing we have, because if we do not have love, it is very hard to be a successful human being.
I hope that this legislation will go a long way toward allowing our children—all Canadian children, whether they are indigenous or non-indigenous—to feel that love from someone, no matter who they are.
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