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Bill C-15 - UNDRIP - Second Reading

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak at second reading of Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I would like to start by reading a relevant quote from author Augie Fleras from the heading “Remaking Canada: Muddling Through Models” found within The Politics of Jurisdiction: Pathway or Predicament. The author states: Canada is a test case for a grand notion – the notion that dissimilar people can share lands, resources, power, and…
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Bill S-227 - National Ribbon Skirt Day Bill - Second Reading

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to second reading of Bill S-227, which would establish January 4 of each and every year as National Ribbon Skirt Day. Through this bill, Canadians would have the opportunity to further their understanding and education of Indigenous culture and heritage, specifically the ribbon skirt, which is a symbolic piece of clothing used in Indigenous tradition. I want to thank Chief George Cote of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, as well as Isabella Kulak…
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Motion Pertaining to Mi’kmaw Fishers and Communities

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Francis, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pate: That the Senate affirm and honour the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada Marshall decision, and call upon the Government of Canada to do likewise, upholding Mi’kmaw treaty rights to a moderate livelihood fishery, as established by Peace and Friendship Treaties signed in 1760 and 1761, and as enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; and That the Senate condemn the violent and crimin…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Message from the House

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the message from the other place on Bill C-7. I dedicate this speech to the First Nations and disability communities who continue to courageously fight for a better world for the people and the communities which they advocate and speak for. The Liberal Government’s commitment to renewing a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada has been made with promises to make progress “on issues most important to First Nations, the Métis…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Third Reading

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to third reading of Bill C-7. In a meeting I had with a chief yesterday, he said, “We have ugly politics on the reserves, but at critical times —” referring to funerals, “— we bury the hatchet and we work together.” Colleagues, where do I come from when I speak to you, one senator to another? I don’t look at education or degrees, at privilege or at hierarchy. My main responsibility is to get First Nations and the disability community’s concerns on Bill…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Conscience Rights

Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the theme of conscience rights under Bill C-7. I feel this is the appropriate theme and the right time to voice my concern over the direction that this debate has gone at certain times. In a discussion around conscience rights and the expectation that this bill places on medical practitioners, many without their consent, an equally valid discussion is the conscience rights of senators as we debate, amend and vote on this bill. I think most of our colleagu…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Indigenous Consultation

Honourable senators, I rise today on debate on Bill C-7. Once again, I speak to you from the perspective of a First Nations woman and a health professional who practised on reserves in Manitoba since 1973. During that time, I’ve had many conversations with grassroots people to leaders in Manitoba and throughout Canada regarding the plight of the descendants of Canada’s original peoples. As I have previously stated, assisted dying was never one of those conversations. However, assistance to a g…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Senator Jaffer's Amendment

Honourable senators, I rise to speak in support of Senator Jaffer’s amendment to Bill C-7. Much like Senator Jaffer, I have serious concerns and misgivings about how such a critical life-and-death piece of government-driven legislation could be lacking in such a fundamental way with regard to the analysis undertaken at the outset of the drafting process, as well as its shortcomings in protecting vulnerable and minority groups. In a letter sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Const…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Senator Plett's Amendment

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on Senator Plett’s amendment to Bill C-7. I, too, am concerned about where this debate is going. It is not going in the direction that First Nations and the disability community want it to go. I’ve worked on reserve as a health professional for over 30 years. In January 2021, I went to my home reserve to provide service at a dental clinic. On my travel there, I spoke to many nurses and doctors regarding MAID. Many were unaware of this bill, just as the…
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Bill C-7 - Medical Assistance in Dying - Question to Senator Cotter

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: Would the honourable senator take a question? Senator Cotter: I would be honoured to take a question. Senator McCallum: Thank you, Senator Cotter. I want to thank you for your powerful speech and to let you know that we are blessed to have you with us in the Red Chamber. Senator Cotter, we have heard, a number of times already throughout this debate, reference to the fact that consideration should remain firmly on the principle of this bill. This is something I’m unc…
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