Indigenous leaders want “more clarity” on reconciliation after final election campaign debate | The Canadian News

Canadian political party leaders debated reconciliation Thursday night, but indigenous leaders say that amid the confusion, some of their arguments lacked clarity and distinction.

Too often, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed said, ‘First Nations’ was used as a placeholder identity for all indigenous peoples in Canada, and with just days left until the federal election campaign, that raises your doubts. on “depth of understanding.” of leadership candidates.

“We hope that in the context of climate change or reconciliation, specific Inuit priorities will be brought up alongside First Nations and Métis,” he explained.

“The Inuit also have big challenges with drinking water, but the focus is exclusively on the First Nations on the back foot within this debate and the electoral context.”

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The observation resonates with David Chartrand, president of the National Métis Council (MNC), who said he is associated with his First Nations and Inuit brothers and sisters, but would like the candidates to at least acknowledge the concerns and priorities of the Metis. .

“That was the unsettling part for us to see it, you know, waiting in anticipation for the word ‘Métis Nation’ to be referenced, that your issues are important,” he said.

“It was a bit disappointing not hearing from anyone.”

There are roughly 400,000 Métis citizens in Canada, and Chartrand said leaders should have to outline specific financial commitments to support their business and economic opportunities.

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Key takeaways from the leaders’ final debate

Key takeaways from the leaders’ final debate

Over the course of the two-hour debate, aspiring federal leadership covered a variety of reconciliation topics, including warnings for boiling water, violence against indigenous women and girls, restoring trust with indigenous peoples, and dismantling the Indigenous Law.

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Leaders such as liberal Justin Trudeau, new Democrat Jagmeet Singh, conservative Erin O’Toole, and Green Party leader Annamie Paul also spoke about implementing action items from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry on Women. and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Girls (MMIWG).

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The four, however, were unable to outline clear timelines for those commitments, and British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee said that’s a red flag.

“These are the issues that need to be addressed and have a schedule and resources ahead of time,” he told Global News.

“I think maybe there should be a concerted debate, whether it’s an hour or two with the leaders, on the relationship with indigenous peoples.”

Chief Teegee also lamented the lack of attention given to aligning Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and resolving land and fisheries disputes in which Indigenous peoples clearly have rights. delineated.

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Federal leaders debate: Paul calls for more diversity in politics as Singh and Trudeau fight over MMIWG

Federal leaders debate: Paul calls for more diversity in politics as Singh and Trudeau fight over MMIWG

Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), said the three-minute discussion on how to address the crisis at the MMIWG was unfounded, but was impressed by Paul’s insistence on the importance of having indigenous leadership. present on the stage of the debate.

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“Fifty-two percent of Canadians said to Nanos Polls they wanted this issue of reconciliation, it is important to them and it will affect the way they vote, and it will affect indigenous peoples, ”he said.

“And we didn’t hear, or didn’t hear a lot of work at the MMIWG or even the kids, the remnants.”

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National head Elmer St. Pierre of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), which represents indigenous peoples without status and those who live off reservations, said he was also concerned that people of two spirits were left out of the discussion in the MMIWG on Thursday.

Like Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Assembly of First Nations, CAP has released a priority policy document for federal elections. None of the specific concerns of the indigenous peoples he represents were raised in the debate.

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ITK president Obed said he is encouraged that reconciliation has emerged as an issue and priority in the federal election campaign, but there are areas where political leaders could sharpen their positions.

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“Partisan politics on indigenous issues sometimes discredits the work of indigenous governance and indigenous leadership that works with any existing government,” he explained.

“If a partisan political leader wants to attack the government on its record on indigenous peoples, sometimes the individual completely discredits the work that was done in association and that is really unfortunate.”

He joined with other indigenous leaders to encourage indigenous citizens to vote, no matter who they vote for.

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