Bill C-29 Divides Indigenous Groups and the Senate Must Amend
Ottawa, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – December 9, 2022) – Today on Parliament Hill, the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Elmer St. Pierre, strongly condemned the Liberal Government’s action to force the off-reserve voice out of Bill C-29. The proposed legislation and National Council create new levels of colonial policy and discrimination that continues to marginalize indigenous people.
“The entire Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is shocked and frustration at the Liberal Government’s gross actions to exclude the national voice of off-reserve, non-status and urban Indigenous peoples at the National Council for Reconciliation,” said Elmer St. Pierre, National Chief, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. “If the evolving face of the Senate is to have meaning, Senators must act to amend this Bill and ensure CAP’s national voice is at the table.”
Bill C-29 proposes to reverse the damage from colonial policies like Residential Schools and the Indian Act. These forced assimilation policies have left off-reserve indigenous communities struggling for generations. The communities that CAP represents are the most marginalized and disadvantaged in Canada and their exclusion continues to ensure colonialism remains alive and well, and their people continue to suffer.
Through the legislative process, amendments were made to include CAP on the Council. However, despite all opposition party support, the Liberal government moved to eliminate CAP and forced the House to make this change happen. CAP is outraged that the Liberal Government would intentionally lead a process of discrimination and exclusion against any Indigenous peoples.
Bill C-29 must be amended to actively include CAP’s voice and guarantee a seat on the Council like our NIO counterparts.
“We cannot understand how the current government believes our communities experiences, so severely impacted by the Residential School system, should be silenced,” said Kim Beaudin, National Vice-Chief, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
Nigel Newlove, Director of Media Relations
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and Southern Inuit Indigenous People living off-reserve. Today, over 80% of Indigenous people live off-reserve.
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