By Bob Nault MP
OTTAWA – I was very pleased to hear the Prime Minister of Canada voice his commitment to recognition and implementation of the rights of Indigenous people through the development of an Indigenous Rights National Framework. This will guide all future government relations and interactions with Canada’s Indigenous peoples which is long overdue.
I believe that this is truly a step in the right direction and I am pleased that the National engagement process led by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, will be done in full partnership and consultation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis People.
To put this in context, last summer, as I do each summer, I toured many of the 42 First Nations in the Kenora riding, speaking with Chiefs and Councils about their priorities and on-going concerns. Their priorities look similar to those I heard during my first tour as MP back in 1988: housing, water, healthcare, education, and roads.
Clean water, healthcare, and education are just a few of the areas where we are falling short on our commitment to Indigenous peoples across the country. There needs to be a shift in the way we think about reconciliation – we need to put real, tangible substance behind our words, broaden the conversation, and set a true direction towards the ultimate goal of equality. I have been talking about this issue since entering federal politics and I will continue to talk about it until we see real action on this file: there needs to be a change in our system, necessary change that was recognized by the Prime Minister yesterday, a change that allows for real Indigenous success.
I believe that this Prime Minister understands the urgency and I have faith that his words mean action starting now.