Question: What is your party’s position on the ‘improved’ Urban Aboriginal Strategy adopted in April 2014?
The NDP is committed to work with Friendship Centres and urban Indigenous organizations to renew and ensure the long-run sustainability of the Urban Aboriginal Strategy. It’s time for a new era built on respect and, above all, makes meaningful progress when it comes to bringing about change. A new era starts with listening and an understanding that ‘meaningful consultation and accommodation’ isn’t just a catch phrase. Canada desperately needs to call a national inquiry into the issue of the 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We need to take action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations on a priority basis established in consultation with Indigenous communities. We need to improve essential infrastructure in urban areas including better Aboriginal housing.
Question: What policies will your party propose to support urban Aboriginals and help urban Aboriginals participate in the shared prosperity of our community?
Tom Mulcair and the NDP understand that after decades of inaction in Ottawa, too many empty promises have been made with little progress. Starting from the very beginning, government must ensure indigenous youth have the best opportunity to succeed and build a life based on their proud heritage and culture. The NDP will improve health outcomes in Canada by taking a preventive approach to health care, through providing targeted funding to improve urban Indigenous health outcomes. The Canada Student Grants Program will receive additional funding of up to $100 million per year to make education more affordable, with an emphasis on helping low-income and Indigenous students, as well as students living with disabilities.
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?
It’s time for a new era – a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on real cooperation and meaningful consultation that respects Inherent Aboriginal rights. That era starts with fundamental respect. And it includes educating our children about our shared history. Canadian children need to know that Indigenous peoples are the backbone and motivators behind much of the essential environmental and social justice activism that exists in Canada today.
All Canadian children should appreciate the central role that First Nations, Metis and Inuit people have in the history of our lands and our future. They should know about the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and why it is so important that we stand with Indigenous peoples and commit to healing and reconciliation. Canada is stronger when we work together towards a better future for all peoples. The NDP will take action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations in consultation with Indigenous communities.
Question: Do you support an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women?
Absolutely. It is shameful that an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women has not already been launched and the NDP would fix this within the first 100 days of our government. An NDP government will work with women’s groups and Indigenous communities and organizations to create a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to end violence against women. The National Action Plan will have dedicated funding and clear benchmarks. The plan will focus on women who are most vulnerable to violence, including Indigenous women.