Safe shelter for Indigenous youth must be available 24 hours a day

On Monday, June 3rd, 2019 in Debate, Democracy, Indigenous Rights, Issues, News

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo and all members in this place for speeding up the passage of Bill C-92. I would have had a chance to make a speech tonight, and I stopped myself, because it is more important that we get this bill through.

I have some of the same misgivings as my friend. I put forward 28 amendments in clause by clause in an attempt to take up some of the recommendations of Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, the Carrier Sekani Family Services and others who testified at committee, but it is important that we pass it.

I was present this morning for the very moving presentation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Tina Fontaine’s grandmother was there. I am sure that my friend from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo recalls that Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said that she could feel that her granddaughter’s spirit was with us. One of the key recommendations from the inquiry is that safe shelter for indigenous young people must be available 24 hours a day, because Tina sought help, and the doors were closed.

I know it is a 1,200-page report. We cannot have read all of it. I know I have not, but I hope everyone in this place, in Tina’s memory, will commit at least that no first nation child, no child in this country, should go without protection, regardless of the time of night.

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