Speaking at a youth-led event on Parliament Hill Friday, Indigenous teen and activist Autumn Peltier said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must do more to advance reconciliation in areas such as ensuring access to safe drinking water.
The late morning event, which included speeches, music and a moment of silence, was part of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It was created as a federal statutory holiday by Parliament in 2021, meaning federal offices and the House of Commons were closed. Events took place throughout the day in Ottawa and across the country.
“Today is not a holiday. Today we recognize our strength, our perseverance and our voices. And our leadership in today’s society, and tomorrow,” said Ms. Peltier, 18, who is the Anishinabek Nation’s Chief Water Commissioner and a global water activist who has previously addressed the United Nations. She has also shared a stage with Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum.
“I never planned to spend my life doing this but I am committed and I want our people to have access to clean water. I would love collaboration, more actions taken towards these inequalities I speak about. When I was 12, I came face to face with Prime Minister Trudeau and was told not to say anything. I spoke up and asked him for support for our people. The highest figure in our country made me a promise to protect the water and people, and five years later, I’m still waiting. We shall continue to be strong and step forward together. Healing is possible and there is hope.”
Mr. Trudeau is scheduled to speak at a Truth and Reconciliation ceremony Friday afternoon at Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats Park. Earlier in the day, he took part in a sunrise ceremony with residential school survivors in the Niagara Region and then spoke at an event related to the day.
During that morning speech, he said the government is making progress on reconciliation, while acknowledging more is needed.
“We’ve made historic investments in Indigenous priorities like health care, housing, infrastructure, ending boil water advisories, moving forward to protect language, protect culture, protect traditional knowledge to lift up Indigenous identity. And that happens by putting Indigenous leadership and Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous priorities at the centre of everything we do,” he said. “As we journey this path, we will continue to make these important investments and work with you to close all these gaps that continue to exist today.”
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TIK TOK’S UNLIKELY NEW STAR IS A UKRAINIAN REFUGEE IN SASKATCHEWAN - A teenager who fled the war in Ukraine has become a surprise TikTok sensation with his quirky take on life in Canada, including discovering that milk comes in bags. Andrian Makhnachov, who arrived in Saskatchewan in May from a small village near Lviv, has received millions of views worldwide for his videos chronicling his adjustment to Canadian life. The 19-year-old received 11.7 million views for a video about Canadian currency showing him washing a $20 bill under his kitchen tap. Globe story here.
HARPER APPOINTEE LEAVING THE SENATE, MOVING TO FINLAND: The Hill Times reports that Sen. Vern White is leaving his job more than a decade before his mandatory age of retirement and is moving to Finland to rejoin his wife and 10-year-old daughter. The former Ottawa Police Chief was appointed to the Senate by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012 as a Conservative. In 2020, he left the Conservative caucus to sit as a member of the Canadian Senators Group. Story here.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER JOLY RETURNS TO U.S. TO TALK UKRAINE WITH BLINKEN - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is standing by NATO’s description of gas pipeline leaks in the Baltic Sea as the product of a likely act of sabotage. Joly is in Washington, for two days of meetings with members of Congress and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Canadian Press reports on her visit here.
‘JUSTINFLATION’ CAN’T BE SAID IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, BUT MPS ARE TRYING ANYWAY: The Conservatives’ cheeky term for inflation under the Liberals has got some MPs into trouble in the House of Commons, where saying “Justinflation” has been deemed verboten.
Speaker Anthony Rota repeatedly chastised Tory MPs this week for breaking the rules, asking them to “correct the error” when their “play on words” was indirectly violating procedure. A Canadian Press story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is not sitting Friday. It will resume on Monday for five sitting days and then recess for a week over Thanksgiving.
LAND BACK AND THE NEXT STAGE OF RECONCILIATION: It’s become something of a rallying cry to move reconciliation forward, repeated from British Columbia to Ontario to New Brunswick. But what exactly does “land back” mean?
Bruce McIvor has written extensively on the struggles people face when trying to make a legal case for the return of their traditional lands – not least because he’s represented some of them. He’s a partner at First Peoples Law and the author of Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It. Find links to the podcast here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Mr. Trudeau’s Friday schedule revolves around the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. He took part in a sunrise ceremony and a morning event in the Niagara Region and is scheduled to speak at an afternoon event in Ottawa.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre took part in a sunrise ceremony in Ottawa.
“Today, we listen to the survivors, remember those - the children - we lost, and commit to continue walking the path of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people,” he said in a social media post.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s Friday schedule includes attending the national day events on Parliament Hill.
“Today, we honour the children who never returned home, survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities,” said Mr. Singh in a statement. “We reflect on our collective history of colonialism and genocide. Today is a reminder of the harm caused and the work to be done.”
No schedule was released for Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on thinking twice before answering if Jason Kenney calls: “A report by the Canada West Foundation (CWF) released this past spring found that between 2017 and 2021, Alberta’s net out-migration of people between the ages of 25 and 29 each year was 1,133. In 2020, meantime, Calgary ranked 29th out of 35 metropolitan areas in the country in terms of the percentage of residents aged 20 to 24. What is happening? Alberta has a reputation problem. According to the CWF report, many young people are leaving because the province lacks vibrancy and diversity. It is also often negatively associated with intolerance. The pandemic did nothing to soften this image.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Pierre Poilievre’s welcome to the resistance: “As such, I expect that Mr. Poilievre will no longer be selective in his outrage, and careful in his implications when going on the attack. Indeed, having expressed his intolerance for this sort of extremism, and humbled by its personal effect, Mr. Poilievre will surely refrain from dabbling in conspiracies that play to stereotypes about certain groups, and pretending he doesn’t see lawlessness and bigotry in movements he supports, and shrugging off radicalism among his fans so he can keep a certain antagonism going between himself and the media. Right? Anything else would render him a charlatan and a raging hypocrite. No, Mr. Poilievre, the authentic politician that he is, will surely maintain his intolerance for extremism even when the flames move to his neighbours’ homes. Welcome to the resistance, Mr. Poilievre: the attacked, the marginalized and the vulnerable look forward to your advocacy.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on why François Legault is suddenly singing federalism’s praises on the campaign trail: “Part of the reason for Mr. Legault’s more federalist discourse during this campaign may lie in the CAQ’s increasing reliance on older voters, a constituency that has traditionally been loyal to the Liberals. Originally, the CAQ base was made up of 35- to 54-year-olds. But, in recent months, it has lost significant ground to voters in that age group to the Conservative Party of Quebec.”