Throne Speech reinforces commitment to ‘renew nation-to-nation relationship’

Throne Speech presents ‘ambitious’ agenda for Liberal government

(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Gov. Gen. David Johnston, right, Friday during the Speech from the Throne. APNT/News)

APTN National News
OTTAWA—A Liberal government will renew the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people, call an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, implement all the recommendations delivered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and work toward a new deal on First Nation education, according to the Speech from the Throne delivered Friday by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

Johnston delivered the speech, as is the tradition, in the Senate’s Red Chamber, to MPs, senators, dignitaries and invited guests which included Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, AFN Ontario regional Chief Isadore Day and Pikwakanagan First Nation Chief Kirby Whiteduck, among others.

The speech titled, Making Real Change Happen, said the government would be implementing an “ambitious” agenda touching on issues from refugees, to providing more support for victims of domestic and sexual assault, fighting climate change and legalizing marijuana. The speech committed to building a “leaner” military.

“Canadians have been clear and unambiguous in their desire for real change. Canadians want their government to different things and to do things differently,” said Johnston.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Johnston walked through the halls of Centre Block on Parliament Hill to the Red Chamber as part of the ceremony leading up the speech they where honoured with drum and song by David Charette of Wikwemikong First Nation, which is on Manitoulin Island in Ontario.

“Because it is both the right thing to do and a certain path to economic growth, the government will undertake to renew, nation-to-nation, the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, one based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership,” said Johnston, in the speech.

Johnston said the Liberal government would also “work with First Nations so that every First Nations child receives a quality education.”

On resource projects, the Liberal government is committing to giving Indigenous peoples a greater say over natural resource projects.

“Indigenous peoples will be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said the Liberal government would be implementing all 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and call an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.

The Throne Speech didn’t break any new ground beyond what the Liberals promised on the Indigenous file during and after the election.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett is already working on laying the groundwork for the inquiry. It remains currently unclear what changes the Liberals plan to implement to enhance consultation with First Nations beyond that the government has already decided to continue using regulatory agencies, like the National Energy Board, as the main entities to deal with consultation.

Trudeau is scheduled to speak at next week’s AFN special chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que.

Trudeau is also expected to meet with Indigenous leaders shortly after the TRC delivers its final report on Dec. 15 in Ottawa.

Johnston said during the Throne Speech that the Liberal government was taking the environment and climate change serious. The government would soon be introducing a new environmental assessment process, said Johnston.

“The government will continue to provide leadership as Canada works toward putting a price on carbon and reducing carbon pollution,” said Johnston.

Johnston said the government did not only want to improve the country in the present, but also for the future.

“We know the greatness that Canada is capable of, and we know that our success is not only about doing well for ourselves, but also about leaving an even better, more peaceful and prosperous world for our children,” said Johnston.

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