At a stop in Halifax on his tour of Atlantic Canada, Mi’kmaw grandmother Darlene Gilbert was able to put a question to the NDP leader Jagmeet Singh – does he support the Mi’kmaw treaty right to fish?
“I greeted him and gifted him with a tobacco and a shoe, that represents the 5,000 plus children that Canada needs to remember,” Gilbert says.
About 100 people gathered in downtown Halifax to see Singh.
Gilbert is concerned about treaty rights as Mi’kmaw harvesters have, again, faced backlash against their moderate livelihood fishery.
The latest incident was last week in Weymouth, Nova Scotia where Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack says nine boats were set adrift.
He blames non-Indigenous commercial fishers.
The RCMP say they’re investigating.
As for Singh, he says he supports the Mi’kmaw fishery.
“We absolutely support the treaty rights of Mi’kmaw people,” Singh tells APTN News. “These are the first people of the land and they have rights that need to be respected they need to be able to earn a living and be able to live in their traditional ways with safety and respect and dignity.”
Asked how he would honour those rights if elected prime minister he says, “so what we’ve seen a lot with the liberal government is they try to complicate the matter by saying its one ministry or another ministry’s responsibility at the end of the day, the buck stops with the prime minister. It is the prime minister’s responsibility to fix this.
“Justin Trudeau hasn’t given this a priority.”
Gilbert says Singh’s response was the same as any politician.
She says she’ll continue to fight for treaty rights.
As for the NDP leader, he’ll outline his party’s platform for the upcoming federal election which is expected to start on Sunday.