Hon. Art Eggleton:
I’m delighted at the announcement that Senator Harder made this morning, and the follow-up comments from Senator Dyck, Senator McCallum, Senator Christmas and Senator Patterson, indicating the perspective of the Indigenous community on this announcement. When we discussed this matter at Social Affairs, it was something we had hoped would happen.
In fact, we did put into our report the various elements we felt were necessary for the consultation, which originated with the Aboriginal Peoples Committee and were put by Senator Patterson and accepted by the committee. We said there needed to be the development of educational materials and programs that are culturally and linguistically adapted to Indigenous peoples.
We talked about the need to establish funding for mental health and addiction programs, residential treatment and healing centres, treatment centres, et cetera; the need for nursing and police services that are culturally and linguistically adapted to Indigenous people; the desirability for Indigenous communities to adopt their own measures respecting the legalization of cannabis; and tax collection and revenue sharing with Indigenous people.
We went on to talk about the committee supporting the recommendation that the Minister of Health encourage a diverse, competitive cannabis market and ensure that Indigenous people are in a competitive position to generate their own sources and employment opportunities in this new industry, what has been called the navigator services.
The only one we didn’t agree with was the matter of the deferral because, as Senator Gold pointed out, we were concerned more harm would be done by creating a hiatus of some period of time. It has turned out that we have the government moving in the right direction to handle these issues, and I am very pleased with that outcome.