On October 21, 2019, Canadians will head to the polls for the 43rd Federal Election. Those in Merritt and throughout the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola will have five candidates vying for their vote.
The incumbent is Conservative Dan Albas, and he’ll be challenged by the Liberal’s Mary Ann Murphy, Green candidate Robert Mellalieu, the NDP’s Joan Phillip and Allan Duncan from the People’s Party of Canada.
In the lead up to voting day, Q101 will be posting ‘COSN Votes’ articles with each candidate’s thoughts on issues facing Merritt, British Columbia, and Canada.
This week the candidates shared their thoughts on reconciliation.
*Candidates are listed in alphabetic order
*All candidates were asked the same questions
*For full policy information visit their websites
Dan Albas, Conservative Party of Canada (Incumbent)
“Scheer has come to BC, particularly in our region, and we have already met with several Chiefs. The purpose of that is so Andrew can have a personal relationship and hear directly from leaders as to what the aspirations are for those First Nation Indian Bands. It is so important that we recognize that each band has a different culture, different ideas, different geography, has different demographics and so we need to work hand in glove with first nation communities and really hear what they’re saying.
We want to see good things happen in first nation reserves, but it starts with building those relationships.”
Allan Duncan, People’s Party of Canada
“The process hasn’t been completely resolved, the process of reconciliation. We’re a new party, so we haven’t been part of that process. So, we would just like to continue to process and facilitate that process. It may take a while, but we do not have any new initiatives or any history to contribute to that right now. We certainly would like to proceed.”
Robert Mellalieu, Green Party of Canada
“I’ve noticed over the years being with the Green Party that we come from a place of, I hate to talk about the word love. But really, we want to use government for good, we want to use the government for compassion and to help people. In a country as wealthy as Canada, the trials and tribulations and outright awful things happening to first nation people just should not be happening.
So, there is a set of different treaties and land claims and the Indian Act has to be looked at and has to be revamped to right these wrongs that have been happening for so many years. The Indian Act is still called the Indian Act, that’s a prime example of how little we’ve done.”
Mary Ann Murphy, Liberal Party of Canada
“To me, reconciliation means trust in word, attitude, and deed. It means respecting indigenous rights to land, to language, to culture and to arts and heritage, all key pillars wrapped around the importance of indigenous languages.
In the last term, the government has already committed to the International declaration on the rights of indigenous people. They have said that we will very quickly be implementing an action plan from the missing and murdered indigenous women and girl’s inquiry. They have protected indigenous language as the bedrock of culture in some of the new legislation. They have managed to lift about half of the boil water advisories and restored first nations' rightful control over their own child welfare.”
Joan Phillip, NDP
“One of the things we plan on doing is, first of all, recognizing the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people and ensuring that it’s actually implemented. We’ve also talked about leveling the playing field, talking about the truth and reconciliation 94 calls to action. I was just at a gathering at Okanagan College is going to implement five of those 94 calls to action with respect to education and that was exciting and historic because it’s the first time I’ve heard of a college implementing calls to action on behalf of indigenous people.”
Next week the candidates will share their thoughts on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
Last week they discussed climate change, that article can be found here.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt