OTTAWA – A total of 9 Liberal Indigenous MPs have formed the largest Indigenous Caucus in the Canadian government’s history. The goal of this group of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Members is to educate and to initiate dialogue with all Members of Parliament regarding Indigenous issues, advocate for an Indigenous perspective on every subject of importance to Canadians, and encourage legislators to approach topics through an Indigenous lens.
Caucus members include Caucus Chair, Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay—Rainy River), the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver—Granville), Yvonne Jones (Labrador–Newfoundland), Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre), Robert Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre), Marc Serré (Nickel Belt), Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface—St. Vital), and Vance Badawey (Niagara—Centre).
Marc Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt stated, “It is a tremendous honour to be a member of the Indigenous Liberal Caucus, the largest such caucus in the history of Parliament, and a significant milestone for our country.
As Canada begins taking the path toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and particularly on National Aboriginal Day, I look forward to engaging with Members of Parliament and indigenous communities, encouraging them to share their stories, challenges, and priorities in an open and honest dialogue.
I am proud of my Indigenous heritage and am honoured to work with my fellow Indigenous caucus colleagues in this capacity.”
Thunder Bay Rainy River MP Don Rusnak commented , “The people of Canada elected a record number of Indigenous MPs during the 2015 election, and the majority of us sit on the government side. We are entering what I hope will be an era of reconciliation, and many Members and Cabinet Ministers have a genuine desire to be inclusive and respectful of Indigenous People and our perspectives. We have had people approach us individually for advice on bills or programming, and we decided it would be more effective to work together as a group.
“We are by no means the final say on Indigenous perspectives, but we are a starting point. The caucus is diverse with different geographical and cultural groups represented. As far as we are aware this is the first caucus of its kind and I am extremely proud to be working with such a strong team”.