As we gather with our family, friends and neighbours to celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation, I’m grateful for Canada’s cultural diversity, and community spirit.
How our communities have worked together to welcome refugees to Canada is a heart-warming illustration of that generosity of spirit.
But this anniversary also marks a very painful period for Indigenous peoples, who continue to suffer deep inequality.
The issue of reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples is, to me, the defining moral issue of our time.
Canada 150 is an opportunity to confront injustice and ensure Indigenous peoples are central in our collective history and the bright future we hold together.
As your Member of Parliament, I’m honoured to work towards a strong nation-to-nation relationship based on respect, because this is Canada’s only way forward.
We have much urgent work ahead of us to walk this path of reconciliation and justice together.
It’s critical that we end systematic discrimination against First Nations children by closing funding gaps in education, health and welfare.
We must also get to the root of why so many Indigenous women have gone missing, by ensuring the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls goes well.
We can also support the work of Indigenous land and water defenders who are spearheading some of the most important environmental and social justice movements in Canada.
We do our best work when we stand together.
For example, we succeeded in removing the abandoned vessel Viki Lyne II from Ladysmith Harbour thanks to the strong partnership between Stz’uminus First Nation and Ladysmith Town Council.
So on Canada Day, let’s give our country a true gift by committing to meaningful reconciliation, to make Canada more equal, just and inclusive.
Happy Canada Day!
– Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson