Hon. Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas:
Honourable senators, I also would like to rise to welcome the Indigenous youth leaders who have generously agreed to join us here so we can benefit from their wisdom and experiences. Please excuse me if I mispronounce your names. I will apologize now.
Theoren Swappie is an 18-year-old First Nations man who overcame a difficult upbringing to become a role model for young people in his community in northern Quebec. He works at Naskapi Radio and participates in healing and youth activities as often as possible.
Ruth Kaviok is a 20-year-old Inuk woman from Nunavik on the western rim of Hudson Bay. She was the Inuktitut valedictorian of her high school and winner of Samara’s Everyday Political Citizen award. She is creating a plan for a hydroponics greenhouse business to provide for a community with affordable, fresh produce.
Colette Trudeau is a Metis musician from Matsqui, British Columbia. As program director for the Métis Nation of British Columbia, she works to ensure the sustainability of the Metis Nation through youth governance and the creation of community-based programs and services.
Kayla Bernard is a 22-year-old First Nations woman from Ontario. She is a mental health advocate as well a strong supporter of youth and Indigenous peoples. The Dalhousie University student hopes to use her education to bring her therapeutic recreation training to isolated communities across Canada. She shares her own personal struggle with youth and shows them there is always hope.
Theoren, Ruth, Colette and Kayla, welcome to the Senate of Canada.