Elizabeth May Statement on National Aboriginal Day

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP (Saanich – Gulf Islands), issued the following statement for National Aboriginal Day:

“Today is an opportunity to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. This is an important time in our history as we acknowledge the tremendous contributions that Indigenous peoples have brought to Canada. However, we must do better to correct the wrongs of the past.

“I was pleased when the House of Commons unanimously consented to my motion to table the findings from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the next Parliament, we will work with MPs from all parties to ensure that the Commission’s recommendations are adopted.”

Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party Indigenous Affairs Critic, candidate (Leeds – Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes), and member of Ontario’s Serpent River First Nation, continued:

“Canada must commit anew to righting past wrongs. With the evidence we heard from the witnesses who presented during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission we are well aware of the damage that was done. We have known the way forward since the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made its 440 recommendations nearly 20 years ago, in 1996. Canada has to invest in healing for the stolen generations and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples for true and meaningful change.

“We must honour the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors walked on this land long before Confederation. We share this land and with them this land is Mother Earth for all of us.”

Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, Green Party Status of Women Critic, candidate (Cowichan – Malahat – Langford), and member of the Kawkiutl and Quatsino First Nations, continued:

“As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day and the resilience of Aboriginal people in Canada, it is important to note the historical significance of 2015. The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is a major step forward to address the dark residue of residential schools and cultural genocide. Recent revelations by the Auditor General and Privy Council of Canada have outlined the chronic underfunding of Aboriginal Affairs, the lack of proper health care services, and the continual socioeconomic disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

“This election year is an opportunity for the Green Party to continue to move Aboriginal issues out of the shadows. I am proud of Elizabeth May’s leadership getting unanimous support in the House of Commons in tabling the TRC report this week.”

Brenda Sayers, Green Party candidate (North Island – Powell River) and member of the Hupacasath First Nation, concluded:

“We always know when our personal sovereignty and rights have been violated. It is this awakening that inspires us to challenge; to stand up and speak the truth for the greater good of all. This takes a lot of courage.

“On National Aboriginal Day, I stand with our people to continue the fight against injustice and celebrate our cultures. To all the warriors who have defended the land and our traditions – grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, children, and grandchildren – I honour you today.”