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Bill C-69 - Amendment- Impact Assessment

Honourable senators, our country Canada is a land of plenty, and yet there is inequality and inequity in how our resources are shared. Many of our citizens are rendered hungry, homeless and vulnerable. What is worse, certain people face a dire struggle to obtain their inherent human dignity and basic human rights. How did we, as an internationally esteemed country, get here? Colleagues, last week, you heard several perspectives on the narrative surrounding Bill C-69. Today, I want to share with…
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Bill C-262 - Second Reading - UNDRIP

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to second reading of Bill C-262, a piece of legislation which would work to ensure that Canada’s laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. While this bill is necessary in our current climate and reality, the question we must reflect upon is that with the UN proclaiming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, what has happened to the condition of an entire subset of Canada’s — and the world’s …
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Policies and Mechanisms for Responding to Harassment Complaints against Senators—Inquiry

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in support of Senator McPhedran’s timely and necessary Inquiry No. 26. As you know, this inquiry calls on the Senate to ensure that we deploy the strongest, most effective policies and mechanisms to respond to complaints against senators of sexual and other kinds of harassment. According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission: Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you.…
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Bill C-71 - Second Reading - Firearms

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to second reading of Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms. Many of the speeches so far have done the important job of highlighting many of the outcomes that could result from the passing of this bill, both the good and the bad. However, I stand here today to speak to one of the issues that everyone here is familiar with — an overwhelming reality of gun violence — but that will remain wholly unaddressed with th…
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Bill C-68 - Second Reading - Towards an Ecological Solution

Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Christmas for sponsoring this bill, which I titled, “towards an ecological solution.” When I spoke in this chamber recently regarding the issue of whales and dolphins in captivity, I began my speech with the words, “All my relations.” For me, this was an important way to begin that speech. The speech was truly aimed at all of my relations. For Indigenous peoples, our link to the land and water runs deep and goes beyond appreciation and protect…
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Bill S-203 - Third Reading (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)

All my relations: An adult female beluga whale lying motionless below the body of her dead baby calf; an orca lying motionless on her side, floating towards the top of the tank, heavily sedated from an accidental overdose of Valium; a sharp, rust-coloured, steel-edged grate covered in blood, the result of carelessly transporting a beluga whale between tanks; finally, an indoor tank lacking both natural light and quality air ventilation, and now a sickly green colour caused by a breakdown in the…
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IAP Records of Residential School Survivors

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to my Inquiry No. 52, which highlights the importance of preserving the Independent Assessment Process, or IAP, records of Indian residential school survivors who claimed compensation for historic physical and sexual abuse that was suffered while attending residential school. Through this speech and inquiry, it is my hope that I will convey the importance of acting to preserve these records not only to my honourable colleagues but to the Canadian publi…
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Bill C-45 - Third Reading - Wielding the Hammer

Do I have the hammer? Honourable senators, First Nations, Inuit and Metis continue to live under abusive and unsafe conditions that have become commonplace and constant. Situations that were at one time rare, such as muggings and gang activities, are now ordinary in our communities. As the majority of us have lived our entire lives under occupation by federal laws and policies — in our own country, no less — there is the stark realization that instabilities and insecurity have been routine for…
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Bill C-45 - Third Reading - Consultation

I thank and acknowledge everyone who has gathered to meet in this chamber. Honourable senators, I rise today to give voice to the Indigenous issues that were raised in the course of debate and through committee testimony on Bill C-45 and the legalization of cannabis. I would first like to thank the senators and staff of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, especially our chair, Senator Dyck, for their hard work on this file. I want to thank my elders Senators Sinclair, Dyck and…
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Bill C-45 - Third Reading - Indigenous Youth

Honourable senators, it is well known that a high number of youths are already smoking marijuana in Canada, and that includes a high percentage of Indigenous youth. Why they choose to do so is an issue that has not been given priority and not been investigated. In his book Handcuffed by History, Gordon Cruse interviews men who were in juvenile detention centres as youths, many of them for marijuana use. Mr. Cruse worked with these youths for over 40 years and interviewed them 20 years later to…
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