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Results: 1 - 47 of 47
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, recent rumblings over the Constitution are not without significance, causing some to ask if we are necessarily heading towards renewed constitutional talks.
If so, the environment must be top of mind. In 2008, Ecuador's Constitution gave nature legally enforceable rights to exist, flourish and evolve, the first country to do so. In 2014, Te Urewera, the home of the Tūhoe people, became the first natural feature in New Zealand to be recognized as a legal person with rights.
Like New Zealand, and prior to any possible constitutional change, will the government consider granting legal personhood to significant natural features in Canada?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in 2020, the UN Secretary-General noted that the “approach to and handling of mass graves has too rarely been respectful or lawful”. Canada has no legal framework to address the Tk'emlúps site or any other sites that will come to light. The legal framework led to the deaths of these children. That legal framework, the Indian Act, remains in place.
Will the Prime Minister do what is needed and establish a legal framework for mass and unmarked graves that meets human rights norms, including ensuring all records are kept and released, sites protected and criminal investigations conducted so that families can heal and are appropriately compensated?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is dangerously misleading for the government to suggest significant progress is being made on 80% of the TRC calls to action. Endless meetings and process is no substitute for substance. Leadership is required to change colonial laws, policies and practices that perpetuate systemic racism and injustice. The Prime Minister knows that adjusting the ongoing colonial legacy requires a comprehensive indigenous rights recognition framework. How do I know this? The Prime Minister said it in this House on February 14, 2018—
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is dangerously misleading for the government to suggest significant progress is being made on 80% of the TRC calls to—
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, speaking to the UNDRIP legislation today, the justice minister said that if Bill C-262 had not been delayed in the last Parliament, the government would be working on an action plan for its implementation.
Let us not kid ourselves. The fact is the government delayed the important work of true reconciliation due to political expediency. There have been over five years of promises, and very little action on rights recognition.
Bill C-15 is a small first step. Will the government stop making excuses, do its work, get its own house in order and change its laws, policies and operational practices to ensure indigenous peoples can be self-determining?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 30% and the Liberals campaigned on dropping it to 27% by 2019-20. This year, it will be about 50%.
Debt to GDP appears to remain our fiscal anchor in budget 2021. The government is still saying that it will moderately decrease, but this time starting from a number almost twice as big as predicted. Do we really have a credible fiscal anchor? Perhaps we should consider using a new one, maybe a debt-to-service ratio. This is easy to understand.
Could the minister please tell us what other fiscal anchors the government has considered?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I think I speak for the vast majority of Canadians when I say that we do not want an election during the third wave of this pandemic, particularly one clearly motivated by partisan opportunism. That said, an election unfortunately still remains a possibility, so I will ask a very specific question.
Can the minister please advise whether the government has any intention of seeing Bill C-19 become law, whether the Chief Electoral Officer has indicated he is COVID prepared and how quickly after royal assent he would be able to give notice that the temporary changes are in force?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Mi’kmaq chiefs, the national chief and senators, among others, have strongly condemned the fishery minister's so-called “new path” that unilaterally sets out conditions for a moderate livelihood commercial lobster fishery.
Why has the minister chosen to diverge from the true path of reconciliation based on rights recognition and co-operation that this government promised and as set out in the 10 principles and UNDRIP?
Will the minister please respect the preferred means of the Mi’kmaq to exercise their treaty rights, uphold the honour of the Crown and get off this paternalistic path that risks a return to unrest?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, disturbingly, Vancouver stats show that anti-Asian hate crimes are up 717%. At the same time, China's national security law is of grave concern to Canadians who have ties to Hong Kong. The two Michaels continue to be arbitrarily detained. As for the Uighurs, why is it genocide for my people, but not for the Uighurs? Move or boycott the Beijing Olympics? Well, the government has abdicated that decision in favour of an Olympic committee.
Will the government please stand up for justice and human rights and demonstrate it has the backs of Chinese Canadians, indeed of all Canadians?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, we all want to know when we will be vaccinated. However, vaccine nationalism has become a real concern as nation states compete to procure vaccines for their citizens. We are part of this competition. While politically challenging, the hard truth is that until such time as all of the planet is vaccinated, none of us is safe. We are all interconnected. The virus will continue to mutate, and unvaccinated populations will become more virulent and will inevitably come here.
I know we are understandably focused on vaccinating Canadians, but what specifically are we doing to ensure successful global vaccination?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, three months ago, I asked a question about the use of the Emergencies Act. Today, COVID cases continue to rise, with new strains emerging. Provincial responses are inconsistent, the rules are confusing and not all federal funds available are being used. Border control and travel restrictions are an issue.
Vaccine deployment must be coordinated and swift. The next six months are critical. I understand that the Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he has not ruled out the use of the Emergencies Act to limit travel. We need leadership. Will the Prime Minister now consider invoking the Emergencies Act to do whatever it takes to help protect the health and safety of Canadians?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting in favour.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting in favour.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, why is Bill C-7, medical assistance in dying, abolishing the safeguard of a 10-day reflection period and reconfirmation of consent, thereby introducing advance requests for MAID?
Nothing in the Truchon decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal, which the government chose not to appeal, requires this, and the Supreme Court of Canada, in Carter, insisted on the requirement of clear consent. Palliative care physicians, disability advocates and other experts insist that this is an important safeguard, and, like other legislated MAID reports on mature minors and mental disorder, advance requests also raise significant challenges.
There is no clear—
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, I appreciate being able to participate in the debate on Bill C-9. All the questions specifically on Bill C-9 that I was going to ask have already been asked. Therefore, I will address a number of issues that I raised in the House before and ask questions of the Minister of Finance. The first is on GDP. The other is on first nations finance.
GDP per capita has historically been used to make assumptions about the standard of living within a nation, the assumption being that the higher the per capita amount, the better the standards are. However, GDP has mixed results when trying to measure the social well-being of a population. As an economic tool, it only makes assumptions about the basic standards of living, which can be different across the socio-economic spectre of the nation. Moreover, better standards of living do not necessarily equate to increased social well-being, with the latter affected by a range of factors: mental well-being, cultural resilience, environmental health.
Does the Minister of Finance agree that using a different planning tool than GDP could help us develop budgets and policy that aim to increase the social well-being of all Canadians and not just the economic bottom line? I would be very interested in the minister's thoughts in this regard.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, as part of building back better, I am sure the minister will agree that recognition of indigenous self-governments and their empowerment to take back control of their own affairs is important, not only to reconciliation but central to our economic strength.
What the minister might not be aware of is that Finance Canada plays a gatekeeper role in fiscal policy that is in fact impeding the pace of indigenous groups moving out from under the Indian Act. There are more than 100 negotiating tables in Canada where tax policy is one of the biggest issues impacting negotiations.
For one specific example, and there are many, why is it Finance Canada's position that self-governing first nations should not collect property tax under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, could the minister tell us why it is Finance Canada's position that self-governing first nations are not able to collect property tax under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, as we hear demands for an apology from the Prime Minister for his father's invocation of the War Measures Act of 1970, as we hear the current COVID October crisis spike in terms of cases, I remind the House that the Emergencies Act replaced the War Measures Act in 1988.
In light of what is happening in Canada, in the U.S. and around the world, could the Prime Minister please tell us if he intends to invoke the Emergencies Act, as our COVID crisis continues to seriously endanger the lives and health and safety of Canadians? Further, is he confident his actions and his leadership today will not see demands for an apology for not invoking the Emergencies Act 50 years hence?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the consequences of not recognizing Mi'kmaq jurisdiction and implementing their treaty rights is another high-profile example of why we need an indigenous rights recognition framework.
Across Canada, there are literally hundreds of issues, most with limited or no profile, that require a coordinated and comprehensive federal approach. Like the DFO, in relation to fish, the Department of Finance continues to set policy that impedes rights implementation.
As a specific example and question, why does the government not support self-governing first nations raising property taxes under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to reply to the Speech from the Throne. I will be sharing my time with the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
Today I speak in support of the throne speech, but not without reservations. Speaking frankly, my initial instinct and intention was to vote against the throne speech, given the ethical challenges of the government.
However, I cannot vote against it. This is because I have not heard from one constituent in my riding who says they want an election during a pandemic. I have heard this from not one constituent, regardless of political affiliation.
Despite a growing dissatisfaction with the government's approach to governance and its respect for our institutions, there is a level of support at this time for continuity and non-partisanship in governments as we work together to take all necessary steps to confront the pandemic and its impact on our way of life. Fighting COVID-19 must be non-partisan.
There has been some higher degrees of co-operation and general agreement on programs that have been created to support the fight, and importantly, to support Canadians. We all know that at the appropriate and responsible time there will be an election. For now, let us lead as an effective and impactful minority Parliament.
An election will happen, I presume, sometime after the second wave of COVID, and hopefully only after a vaccine has been widely administered. For now, Canadians want us all, and I mean us all, to remain focused on the job at hand, on public health and immediate economic needs, and to do so without mindless partisanship and unnecessary conflict.
We all need to remain vigilant. Governments can only do so much. Individually, we need to be responsible and we must continue to follow all public health advice. There is little room for error. As are all members, I am guided by the people in my riding. Our constituency office has sought and received feedback on the issues that are most important to people during the pandemic.
The top issue people shared is, not surprisingly, dealing with the immediate impact of COVID. Second are issues around finance and the economy, followed by the environment and housing. One message from my constituents, and in reply to the first part of the Speech from the Throne, is about addressing the immediate needs ahead of us. We must all ensure the programs we have put in place with such haste are in fact working, that the law and policy were right and, where these programs continue, they are sustainable.
This is not a question about austerity. It is a matter of good governance. As well, we need new metrics. If we are not just using debt-to-GDP, we need other fiscal anchors. Some specific issues raised by my constituents include a meaningful discussion and move toward a universal basic income, as well as investing in seniors, child care and pharmacare.
As to the balance of the Speech from the Throne, it was a shopping list of progressive policies and many long repeated and long outstanding promises. In the past, I was part of a government that had many of these same items on its shopping list. Often, as Canadians unfortunately have become used to, actions did not match the words when, ultimately, political expediency got in the way of progress.
Importantly, there are many people in groups talking about what our post-pandemic recovery should or should not look like. There is talk of a green recovery and a just recovery. These are important conversations we all must listen to. For any meaningful recovery to work, especially if it is to be transformative in addressing the broader challenges of our time, we need Parliament and all our institutions of government to be more effective and to work better. This is something the Speech from the Throne does not address.
As we have worked together in the face of the common threat of COVID-19, we have adapted. Parliament has adapted. As we move forward, and if we truly want to build back better, as the throne speech opines, then we need to think about the tools we have to build the nation we want and how our government works. If we can work together and change the way this place operates on the fly because of COVID-19, then surely we can make the deeper changes needed to make this place more effective, more accountable and a place where the voices of members of Parliament matter.
We also know from dealing with the pandemic that there are still deep-seated issues with the provinces concerning division of power, including, as has long been the case, health supports.
In our young country, we have an evolving system of co-operative federalism. There is a role for the government and a role for the provinces and territories. If we truly want to build back better when the immediate threat is over, we must ensure that we have the right foundation to build on, one that includes indigenous nations and governments that are recognized and constituted as indigenous peoples determine. We should, at the very least, be open to a conversation about governance reform, including constitutional reform, the Senate, Quebec, indigenous peoples, the environment and making the federation better.
In addition to parliamentary reform, there is a need for electoral reform. There is also much work to do to address true reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Simply adopting UNDRIP and making some program enhancements, although they are important steps, are not enough. With strong governance, we will be better equipped to tackle the big issues of our day, the issues that will still be with us after COVID-19, such as climate change, the breakdown of the international rules-based order, or wealth and equality.
As we come out of this pandemic, we should start with our institutions and make building them better a priority. This will be tough, but Canadians have always been strong and resilient, and able to show governments the way forward. Collectively, we are only as strong and resilient as the institutions that support us, beyond party and politics. I was raised to always seek balance and where everyone in the community had a role to play. Rooted in these teachings is the importance of our interconnectedness, our responsibility to one another and to our environment.
Our collective way of being, indeed, our humanity, is being tested as we respond to COVID-19. We are in a learning moment. There is a reason some groups are being hit harder than others during the pandemic. It is because they are the vulnerable and the marginalized. The disproportionate impacts upon them are, in part, a reflection of endured injustices, and of a legacy of colonialism and systemic racism, which manifest themselves throughout society and our institutions.
More and more, I have been thinking about what it would be like if we had a society in which we truly recognized and supported one another, our fundamental unity and our diversity. This is not a new idea. If we are able to recognize it and do something about it during a pandemic, then why not permanently? If we can see it, but do not act on it now, then when will we?
Moving forward, we need more than a shopping list of policy ideas. We need a vision and we need to establish clear priorities. We need political will and we need resolute action.
We also need a better way to measure our social well-being and our collective health. Today, we typically use GDP to make assumptions about social well-being and our standards of living. The assumption is that the higher per capita amount, the better the standards are. However, as an economic tool, GDP can only make assumptions about the basic standards of living, which can be different across the socio-economic spectrum of a nation.
COVID has highlighted how standards of living are different across communities. Moreover, our welfare is affected by other factors, such as mental well-being, cultural resilience and very importantly, environmental health, which are all things GDP does not consider.
What we need are better and more inclusive socio-economic factors. We need indicators that would help us to develop budgets that aim to increase the social well-being of Canadians, not just the economic bottom line. We need to plan based on what we truly value. When all human potential is maximized, our society will be truly transformed.
This is the core of my teachings, the teachings of my people, the Kwakwala, who have survived for millennia. This is the road to recovery. This is building back better. Gilakas'la.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, implicit in my reply was the importance and the necessity of recognizing the interconnectedness between and among all of us. Of course, this includes all members of Parliament, and in that regard I believe it is fundamental for members of Parliament to be able to effectively represent their constituents, which includes not-for-profit organizations and faith-based organizations, and to be able to ensure that they develop relationships with municipalities and with provincial representatives in order to provide those comments back to Parliament to make decisions more well-rounded, more effective and more representative of the incredible diversity in this country. I hope that we continue in this minority Parliament to work collaboratively—
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I 100% agree that indigenous peoples, families of the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, and residential school survivors have waited too long for concrete action from the government. The member opened her question with having a level of trust. Trust is incredibly important and it is incredibly hard to rebuild. Probably more than anyone in this place, I can say that the level of trust I have for actually fulfilling promises has significantly wavered. This is an important issue. It is one that cannot be addressed simply by pretty words or tears. We have to take concrete action. We cannot delay action plans. We know what needs to be done when it comes to indigenous peoples, and we have to act now. I look forward to working with all members in this place and would be happy to have further conversations with the member opposite.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member from our home province of British Columbia. We need to continue to be very open and very transparent. I look forward to seeing the budget when it comes. Hopefully it speaks to the necessary need for fiscal anchors. We certainly do not have the debt-to-GDP declining fiscal anchor, so we need to be open and transparent and have conversations about it. I believe fundamentally in fiscal responsibility. I also believe in sustainability and support for Canadians, and in having conversations across the House on fiscal accountability.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are horrified by the racism witnessed during the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan. Of course, racism is not new. Indigenous peoples, even those in this chamber, including myself, have experienced racism throughout the history of Canada. Racism occurs in all sectors of society, including governments and political parties. This must change.
Does the minister agree that not nearly enough has been done by his government to combat indigenous-specific racism? Assuming he does, what new concrete and specific actions will he take to combat it? Will he call it out always and not only when it reaches the front pages?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, we have heard the Speech from the Throne. There was a lot contained therein of repeated promises, but short on details.
With respect to the justice system, we all know that Black Canadians and indigenous peoples are overrepresented. Evidence shows, including through the government's own reports, surveys and extensive consultation, that reform to mandatory minimum penalties will have a significant impact on these numbers.
Specifically, what measures are being referred to in the speech when it says that the government will introduce legislation and make investments that take action to address “diversion and sentencing”, and what is the timeline?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, as has been mentioned today, B.C. tragically recorded 175 deaths related to drug overdose in the month of June. The opioid crisis is not new. This question is not new.
Recently, many voices, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Premier Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry have been calling on the government to decriminalize simple possession of illicit drugs and to introduce a health care approach that diverts people from the criminal justice system.
When will the government act?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, while I can appreciate the efforts made by the government in terms of family reunification, not enough progress has been made on the exemptions to travel restrictions for family members.
Can the government please present a clear timetable for when foreign-national committed partners and adult children of Canadians will be allowed to reunite with their families in Canada? All of them would be willing to sign affidavits and quarantine for the necessary time.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, I understand the government will be releasing a discussion paper and possible draft UNDRIP legislation mirroring Bill C-262. I trust the government is aware that fundamental to the declaration's articles are the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples.
Accordingly, to demonstrate the government's intent in legislating UNDRIP into Canadian law, and given the unfolding situation in Haida Gwaii and the refusal of the Queen Charlotte fishing lodge to respect the council of the Haida Nation's COVID-19 restrictions, I ask: Does the government recognize and support the right of the nation, i.e. its jurisdiction, to protect its homeland and the safety of its people, and in particular, its elders?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Chair, there is nothing more essential than good governance, especially in a crisis. Canadians want parliamentarians to work together in the spirit of non-partisanship in order to support the government, and the House to do what is needed to address the social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Yesterday, Bill C-20 was an example of that.
That said, given recent controversies, and in light of the PROC committee report released yesterday and all of the other issues facing Canadians, will the government commit to reassess, in terms of transparency, accountability and good governance, and commit to bring full Parliament back in the fall?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, reconciliation requires long overdue and urgent work: fundamental legislative and policy changes, new ways of making decisions, meeting the standards of UNDRIP and supporting indigenous nations as they rebuild.
After the immediate crisis is addressed, the need for transformative change will still remain. How will the Prime Minister regain the trust, respect and moral authority to do the true reconciliation work that is so desperately required? Does the Prime Minister have the resolve to do what is right and not what partisan advisers tell him is politically expedient?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, some two years ago the Prime Minister stood in the House and committed to the recognition and implementation of indigenous title and rights in legislation. That long-overdue work has not happened, and we continue to see the challenges across the country due to that inaction.
As was committed, and speaking of concrete action, will the government introduce legislation that upholds the minimum standards of UNDRIP?
Equally important, will it actually implement those standards domestically, so that indigenous peoples are supported in their self-determination, can rebuild and can exercise their authority in clear and predictable ways for their own people and for all Canadians?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to applaud the government for ensuring that there will be an introduction of UNDRIP legislation to bring the United Nations declaration into Canadian law.
Beyond that necessary first step, will the government commit to changing its laws, policies and operational practices to ensure that indigenous peoples in this country can be self-determining, including self-governing, at their own pace and based on their own priorities? Can the government ensure that it will go beyond the UNDRIP legislation, and actually change laws and policies?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand to speak in this emergency debate. I would like to thank the member for Foothills for sharing his time with me.
I want to acknowledge the comments of the Prime Minister earlier today, and certainly acknowledge comments or other remarks from individuals in this place, looking to try to find solutions to this important question and consideration. I agree that good faith, partnership and a non-partisan approach have to take place when it comes to indigenous issues and pursuing true reconciliation.
I think about two basic questions that need to be asked. First, why are we in this situation? Second, what should be done?
Why are we in this situation? Why are we seeing blockades and protests and economic disruption?
The answer is pretty straightforward. It is because Canada, through successive governments, including the current government, has not done the basic work of resetting the foundations for relations with indigenous peoples, despite the rhetoric. We all know what needs to be done. We have known for decades, but we are here, yet again, in a moment of crisis, because this hard work has been punted.
The history of Canada saw indigenous peoples divided into smaller administrative groupings, with systems of government imposed upon them. For Indians, this was through the Indian Act and the creation of the band councils system.
The work of decolonization, of reconciliation, requires supporting nations to rebuild, to come back together and revitalize their own systems of government, to self-determine. Until they do, we will never know who truly speaks for the nations, irrespective of the good work and good intentions of the hundreds of Indian Act chiefs and councils and traditional leaders, who, in many cases, are one and the same.
However, we have not done this work. We have maintained the same legislation and policies for decades that keeps first nations under colonial statute, keeps nations divided, renders negotiations long and nearly impossible and does not support first nations nearly enough in doing the rebuilding work they must inevitably do. There are lots of reasons for this: the historical denial of rights to self-government and the denial to one's land and, so too, paternalism. The result of the perpetual inaction are situations like we see in Wet'suwet'en territory.
The Prime Minister did say today that these problems had roots in a long history. That is true. However, let us be honest, and with respect, the Prime Minister has to learn to take responsibility. Canadians over many years have come to learn our true history and the need for fundamental change. He has been speaking for five years about this most important relationship. He stood in the House of Commons over two years ago and pledged to make transformative, legislative and policy reforms, reforms that would be directly relevant to the situation in Wet'suwet'en territory today, that would have supported the internal governance work of the nation, shifted the consultation processes that took place and provided a framework for better relations.
What have we have seen as a result of this speech, and its transformative words? Honestly, almost nothing. The promise of legislation has not come. I know it is hard, but we cannot keep punting the hard work because of political expediency. If we do, we will have another situation like we have today in five years from now or quite likely sooner.
Therefore, here we are. What should be done? In the spirit of good faith and in the spirit of working together, may I be so bold as to offer four suggestions?
One, governments have to lead. They need to lead. Weeks have passed. If the Prime Minister wants to have dialogue to resolve matters peacefully, de-escalate the situation and show real leadership, in my view he should have gotten on a plane, flown to British Columbia, picked the premier up on his way up to Wet'suwet'en territory and met with the leadership of the Wet'suwet'en and some of the broader indigenous leaders in British Columbia.
The Prime Minister could still do this, having regard for and respect for the wishes and preconditions perhaps of the Wet'suwet'en leaders and recognizing some of the challenges that exist in their community. Honestly, there is a practice of leaders not wanting, in my opinion, to be in meetings where the outcomes and structures are not basically predetermined. We have had enough of that. One cannot script dealing with real issues and challenges. Let us just deal with them.
Two, the government should act now on making the fundamental changes that are long overdue. Long ago the government should have tabled comprehensive legislation that implements the minimum standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and upholds the recognition and implementation of indigenous rights, a recognition and implementation of rights framework. Such legislation would include supports, without interfering, for indigenous nations to rebuild their governments. It also would include pathways for moving out beyond the Indian Act. Indian Act chiefs have an important role to play in this process. Once truly self-governing, we will know with certainty who speaks for the indigenous title and rights holders. This is important not only for indigenous peoples to have faith in the legitimacy of their own democratic institutions but ultimately the people will choose and vote on their system of good governance. It is now also important for all Canadians to know.
I will be frank. The government uses language like “co-development” and the need to do it “in partnership” with indigenous peoples a lot, but a lot of the time it uses that language simply as an excuse to delay or justify inaction. For decades, at least since the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 25 years ago, we have known the foundational legislative change that is needed. UNDRIP is a decade old. The government is five years old and it has been two years since the Prime Minister announced legislation would be tabled within 10 months. Enough is enough. The time for action is now. No more half measures, no more lofty rhetoric, no more setting up interminable negotiations that get nowhere very slowly over years and years.
Three, I believe the government should consider a cooling-off period when construction activity does not take place. That would allow everyone to step back and assess where things are, clear the space for dialogue and de-escalate current tensions. Whether this period is for one month or for a few months, it can be of benefit to all.
In this time, dialogue between the Wet'suwet'en and the government can take place. As well, the Wet'suwet'en, in my respectful view, need to take responsibility in such a period of time to have, in a very inclusive manner, the internal dialogue needed to bring clarity about how they will approach the future of this project collectively. Also, such a period of time may allow for explorations, as there have been in the past, of alternative routing for small portions of the line that can address some concerns, including, if necessary, government roles in accommodating the costs of such changes, should they be adopted with broad support.
Four, as a proud indigenous person in this country, I know that indigenous governments also need to lead. The main request I have heard, including meetings with the Prime Minister and premier, is that the RCMP leave the area where it conducted enforcement activity. My understanding as of today is that the company and the Wet'suwet'en are both in the area and things remain currently peaceful. If the RCMP decides it is appropriate to leave, perhaps as part of a cooling-off period, then I would expect indigenous governments, including the Wet'suwet'en leadership, to take action, to look at reconciliation and to look at how they can move forward collectively.
I want to make one last observation about reconciliation and the things that we have heard about reconciliation being dead.
Reconciliation in its true meaning always involves a reckoning. With our past, we are taking responsibility with changing course in real ways, with making the hard choices for our future. These are the choices that every parliamentarian in this place representing their constituents has to make for the benefit of all Canadians. This is our opportunity to finally finish the unfinished business of Confederation and enable indigenous peoples to be self-determining, embrace the minimum standards of the United Nations declaration and finally ensure that indigenous peoples have their rightful place in this amazing country.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, as part of a cooling-off period, I believe fundamentally that leaders, the Prime Minister, the Premier of the Province of British Columbia and Canadians need to have reflections around what happens and how we move forward. An agreement between the Prime Minister, the premier and certainly involving the leadership and citizens of the Wet'suwet'en nation is important to determine the best way forward. Cooler heads prevail when there has been an opportunity to reflect and plan a way forward. I certainly would support that happening.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have heard the debate all night. Based on my former role, I generally understand the role of the RCMP and police forces and the reality of not having political interference happening. I know that very well.
I am familiar with the authorities in the RCMP Act. I am also familiar with the necessity to ensure the RCMP has the ability to exercise its discretion as appropriate. However, there has been a conversation in the country, and perhaps it might be a result of this debate for this conversation to continue, on the balance between the independence of police forces and the authorities of ministers. We have had inquiries about this, Ipperwash for one. This is a conversation that needs to continue, but appropriately with political action and agreement on all sides. Perhaps that would lead the way for decisions to be made by police and the RCMP.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Canada's correctional investigator recently said, “The indigenization of Canada's prison population is nothing short of a national travesty.” I agree. The TRC and “Calls for Justice” also agree.
More action is required to address the over-incarceration of indigenous, black and other marginalized Canadians. 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. Can the government confirm that it will repeal mandatory minimum penalties for all but the most serious of crimes?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
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