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Reconciliation a prominent issue heading into federal election

Kitchener Today with Lori Campbell 22 July 2019

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says non-Indigenous Canadians need to be patient and unconditional in their support of Indigenous communities on the road to reconciliation and allow them to make mistakes.

“We have to be patient. We have to be present. We have to be unconditional in our support in a way a parent needs to be unconditional in their love — not that there is a parent-child dynamic here,” Trudeau said Thursday night at a Liberal fundraiser in Victoria.

Lori Campbell, Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, tells The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS, Indigenous reconciliation remains a prominent election issue within Waterloo Region.

“I think people are ready and willing, but again we need to think about that long term action that’s really not going to be band-aid fixes.”

She points to Canadian history and how the government has a hard time giving up control in Indigenous affairs.

“That air of paternalism that the government’s using and the Canadian government has a long history of deciding that they’re experts what’s best and right and that they knew that when they created the residential schools and that they knew best when they created things like the Sixty’s Scoop.”

Campbell points out that Trudeau’s track record will be placed under a microscope, and that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls case file remains a reflected badly on the Liberals.

“Although Trudeau started that process, the unwillingness to give up control and how it was still being driven is what held it up for pretty much almost two years and that’s why many Indigenous experts back out.”

Trudeau made the remarks at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria during an “armchair discussion” moderated by Nikki Macdonald, who was a senior advisor to former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

He said Canadians have spent decades helping out on the world stage in areas such as poverty and human rights, while failing to see the way Canada has failed its First Peoples.

But the “heart-wrenching” level of intergenerational trauma that exists in some Indigenous communities was centuries in the making and it will take more than a few years to undo, he said. While some Indigenous communities are thriving, there continue to be stories of collective failures as a country to move forward.

“There’s a tremendous impatience out there to fix this quickly. I feel it too, but we need to get this right,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a lot of work still to do, but what keeps me convinced that we’re going to get there is continued goodwill and an emphasis on actually getting it done that I hear from non-Indigenous and Indigenous Canadians.”