It’s a Canadian Day of Action
By: Cory Pike, Young Liberals of Canada President and Darcy Diachinsky Young Liberals of Canada Representative to the Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission
The National Aboriginal Day of Action is not just a protest. It’s much more than that. And it’s not about anger, it’s not about resentment. It’s about fairness. It’s about hope. It’s about ensuring that our Aboriginal Peoples are able to take their rightful place as equals in our society.
The Canadian record on the treatment of our Aboriginal Peoples has been, and remains, dismal. Consider the horrors of children forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools; outlawing aspects of Aboriginal culture by our criminal law; or even denying Aboriginals the right to vote until 1960.
As a member of the G-8, Canada is considered an immensely successful nation. Yet, today, over 56% of Aboriginals live in poverty. Yet, today, Aboriginal Peoples don’t have access to adequate healthcare and education services. Yet, today, there are some places where Aboriginal Peoples don’t even have access to clean drinking water!
This is unacceptable for a G-8 country. This is unacceptable for Canada.
Nonetheless, after decades of neglect, of promises and promise-breaking, there was the Kelowna Accord. It was our first best hope of addressing all of the wrongs of the past and building a brighter future. The federal government, the provinces, and our Aboriginal organizations had all come together and broken the age-old barriers of discord and mistrust. The wellbeing of our Aboriginal Peoples was finally, once and for all, going to be addressed in a meaningful and tangible way.
Then, in a flash—it was gone. Jack Layton and Stephen Harper took it away.
Layton, because he cared more about getting a couple more seats in the House of Commons, forced an election before the Kelowna Accord had a chance to be implemented. Stephen Harper, because he has no real understanding for what the Kelowna Accord truly sought to achieve, cancelled it. He decided snuffing out a Liberal policy was more important than assessing it’s huge potential.
Well, enough is enough. It is time we fixed these problems. And it’s time to make sure the current Government knows we want them fixed. All Canadians deserve fairness, and that is what the Day of Action is all about. It is a National Day of Action, a Canadian Day of Action. And that is why the Young Liberals of Canada will be marching in support.
President, Young Liberals of Canada
Young Liberals of Canada Representative to the Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission
For further information, contact: Cory Pike, Young Liberals of Canada President