For Immediate Release
October 8, 2019
La Ronge, Saskatchewan — A re-elected Liberal government will keep working in partnership with First Nations and Métis peoples to build a better future and a better quality of life for families and communities. That’s the message Tammy Cook-Searson, the Liberal candidate for Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River, is sharing every day on the campaign trail.
Canada cannot move forward if First Nations and Métis peoples continue to be held back. We need to close the gaps in services that First Nations and Métis communities continue to face – whether it’s health care, local infrastructure, or clean water – and invest in the priorities that matter most to communities. And to advance reconciliation, we need to make sure Canada lives up to treaties, and fully respects the inherent rights of First Nations and Métis peoples. This is about moving forward to a place where First Nations and Métis peoples are in control of their own destiny, making their own decisions about their future.
“People in Northern Saskatchewan know that for Canada to succeed, First Nations and Métis peoples need to be able to thrive,” said Cook-Searson. “That’s been a top priority for the Liberal government for the last four years, and today, we have the chance to keep moving forward together – towards equality, reconciliation, and a better future.”
To help close the gaps in services Indigenous peoples face, a re-elected Liberal government will:
- make sure First Nations and Métis peoples have high quality, culturally relevant health care and mental health services, and ensure communities control what these services look like, by working together to create Indigenous health care legislation;
- work with First Nations and Métis peoples to close the gap in infrastructure – like all-weather roads, health centres, and schools, and invest in other priorities identified by communities;
- support First Nations and Métis economies and create more opportunities for First Nations and Métis entrepreneurs by awarding at least 5% of federal contracts to Indigenous-led businesses;
- establish a new national benefits-sharing framework to make sure First Nations and Métis communities directly benefit from major resource projects in their communities;
- work with First Nations partners to eliminate all remaining long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by 2021 and make sure every community has safe, clean water; and
- affirm the inherent rights of First Nations and Métis communities to care for their kids, and reduce the unacceptable rates of First Nations and Métis children in foster care, by fully implementing Bill C-92 and providing long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding to support it.
To advance reconciliation, First Nations and Métis rights, and self-determination, we will also:
- defend treaty rights by designing, together, a new process to ensure Canada lives up to the spirit and intent of treaties, and a new National Treaty Commissioner’s Office;
- implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by working together to create and introduce legislation on this by 2020;
- preserve, promote, and revitalize Indigenous languages by making sure the Indigenous Languages Act is fully implemented;
- work with First Nations and Métis partners to repatriate cultural property and ancestral remains; and
- keep moving forward, including through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and by supportingFirst Nations and Métis-led processes to rebuild and reconstitute their nations.
Over the last four years, the Liberal government has:
- worked with First Nations partners to eliminate 87 long-term drinking water advisories, and invested nearly $2.7 billion to build, repair, and upgrade public water systems in First Nations communities;
- invested to ensure First Nations and Métis communities have the housing they need, as well as other infrastructure;
- invested to support post-secondary education for Métis communities;
- helped make communities safer by investing in culturally-rooted violence prevention;
- launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, to move to end this national tragedy; and
- established permanent regular meetings, through the Assembly of First Nations–Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities and the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, to make progress onFirst Nations and Métis priorities at the federal level.
“Stephen Harper’s policies harmed First Nations and Métis communities and denied First Nations and Métis rights – and Andrew Scheer’s approach is no different. Northern Saskatchewan deserves better – and we need to have a voice at the table,” said Cook-Searson. “The Liberal government has shown that it takes reconciliation seriously. We have so much more to do, and we need to keep building on four years of progress, and keep making life better for our communities and Indigenous peoples across Canada.”
— 30 —