An excerpt from debate in Parliament on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 on the Indigenous Language Act, including comments from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod on the controversy involving former justice minister (now veterans affairs minister) Jody Wilson-Raybould). McLeod replies to Pablo Rodrigues, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. The Globe and Mail published a story Thursday claiming Wilson-Raybould had resisted pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to discourage court proceedings against SNC-Lavalin in favour of a negotiated settlement. The case involves business dealings in Libya.
Cathy McLeod, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC (Conservative)
Mr. Speaker, in just a few minutes, I will have an opportunity to talk about the importance of the legislation, legislation that we will support at second reading. However, I want to go to a bigger picture, and that is how the minister started his speech with respect to this important relationship. That is simply a veneer.
Everyone was so proud that the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was an indigenous woman. We congratulated her on her amazing success. We are now learning that the government threw her under the bus
On October 30, she said that she had not always received the respect she deserved from cabinet. In her own experience, serving as an indigenous person as Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, it had been reinforced that when addressing indigenous issues, it did not matter what table one sat around or what position or title one had. She talked about marginalization.
Today, it was reported by The Globe and Mail that the Prime Minister’s Office, in backing SNC-Lavalin, its friend, had thrown the minister under the bus.
Therefore, I would like to suggest it is simply a veneer. I would like the minister to justify how the Liberals can be so disrespectful to someone and create such a veneer that is not the reality of what they believe and do.
Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism (Liberal)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague had a wonderful occasion to say that she supported such an important bill, which is supported by indigenous groups across the country. The bill has been co-developed with indigenous groups from every region. It is based on things that are extremely important for them, for example, the response to the calls to actions 13, 14 and 15, which are extremely important not only for indigenous people but for our government. We have a chance to work together to change history, to draw a line in the sand and to say that no indigenous language will be lost. That is our intention. I hope the Conservatives will collaborate with us.