Liberal Party of Canada response to Question 4

Question:  What is your party’s position on the ‘improved’ Urban Aboriginal Strategy adopted in April 2014?

Question:  What policies will your party propose to support urban Aboriginals and help urban Aboriginals participate in the shared prosperity of our community?

Question:  How will your party foster reconciliation and healing with our Aboriginal population and how will you foster greater understanding and cooperation between our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations?

Question:  Do you support an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women?

Answer:  A Liberal government will, as a matter of national priority, develop a Federal Reconciliation Framework, created in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples. We will establish a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada, which respects Indigenous rights, Canada’s constitutional and international obligations, as well as the decisions of our courts. A Liberal government will ensure progress on these and other issues through a new Kelowna process. We will make sure the Kelowna Accord – and the spirit of reconciliation that drove it – is embraced, and that its objectives are met, in line with today’s challenges.

The Indigenous population in Canada is the youngest and fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population and the proportion living in Canada's urban centres has grown substantially in recent decades. Improving quality of life for the Indigenous population in urban Canada will require addressing basic needs such as housing, health care, access to child care, among others

Urban Indigenous peoples will benefit from our new ten-year investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure, through which we will prioritize, among other things, new investments in affordable housing and funding the creation of thousands of new affordable child care spaces. Further, a Liberal government will call a federal-provincial meeting to reach a long-term agreement on health care funding and to talk about how to strengthen health care. We will also reengage in areas of health where there is direct federal responsibility, including health promotion, support to caregivers, and First Nations’ health.

Aboriginal Friendship Centres play a critical role in delivering culturally enhanced programs and services to meet the needs of Canada’s growing urban Indigenous population. A Liberal government will work in partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre movement to ensure sufficient, predictable, and sustained funding so they can continue to provide culturally appropriate “wrap-around” service delivery for the growing Indigenous population in Canada’s urban centres.

Further, a Liberal government will immediately launch a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. An inquiry would seek to recommend concrete actions that governments, law enforcement, and others can take to solve these crimes and prevent future ones. We understand this issue cannot be confronted by ignoring uncomfortable truths, but by understanding and taking action to deal with the root causes of this national tragedy.

The process by which the inquiry will be established will be fully inclusive, and empowered to bring justice for the victims, healing for their families, and to help deliver a plan of action to put an end to this ongoing national tragedy.

Despite the urging of grieving families, Indigenous leaders, victims’ advocates, civil society, the international community and every premier, the Prime Minister stubbornly refuses to call a national public inquiry. Liberals understand this issue requires national leadership and action to put an end to this violence. Mr. Harper is on the wrong side of history.

In addition, we will also immediately begin to deal with many of the root causes of this violence by re-engaging with Indigenous communities in a renewed, respectful, and inclusive Nation-to-Nation process to advance progress on critical issues such as: housing, infrastructure, health and mental health care, community safety and policing, child welfare, and education.

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