Aboriginal Peoples—Committee Authorized to Study a New Relationship Between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Metis PeoplesPublished on 15 December 2016 by Senator
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, this motion is to give the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples the mandate to study what the new relationship between Canada and its indigenous peoples will look like.
We were envisioning a three-stage approach. The first one would be collecting the foundational documents that describe the history and background information about our history and how we got where we are today. Our analysts would be looking at documents like the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which I think was from 1996, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and various documents like that to summarize them for the committee but also for the general public, which doesn’t really understand the history of indigenous peoples in Canada.
The second part, Part B, I think is really the unique part of this proposed study. That would be to hold round tables and call witnesses to Ottawa, where we would be bringing together community people, elders and youth leaders, so we can get their vision on where Canada and indigenous peoples should be. What do they think the new relationship should look like? I know the current government is calling it a nation-to-nation relationship, but we decided that “new relationship” was the more appropriate term because of the differences among the three groups: First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. There are different cultural backgrounds and there are also different political relationships with the federal government. So that part will be very interesting.
We are not going to talk only to the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations or the Métis Nation of Canada. We actually want to talk to the people who are affected. We are also going to investigate how much it will cost to videotape these sessions and then edit those recordings and come up with a short video that could be shown to Canada, to see and hear what we actually heard.
Then we would look at Part C. With that relationship, what are the kinds of areas that the committee could study? For instance, we could be looking at the relationship with the federal government with respect to treaties. We could be looking at the relationship with the federal government with respect to resource development, the fiscal relationship, and so on. We are also envisioning a series of interim reports as we go through this. Our final date is October 31, 2018. We’ll probably have seven or eight interim reports. Those reports would come and then we would have a final report that would wrap everything up and be a summary of the three different stages.
By granting us the permission to do this, it allows our analysts and researchers to look into the costs involved, which we don’t yet know how much that will be. We envision travelling all across the country, holding these round tables and bringing witnesses in. They will be able to cost that out. Steering will be able to work with them during the month of January to put together perhaps some of the more concrete ideas on what the interim reports would cover.
I ask for your support to agree to this motion so the committee can continue to do its good work.