Canada election: Complete list of promises made on Indigenous reconciliation

Here’s a running list of the promises that Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole, Annamie Paul, Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-Francois Blanchet have made about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples from the time the campaign starts to election day:

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Conservative Promises

Sept. 8: O’Toole was asked during the French debate whether he would recognize Indigenous languages as official languages if elected. He dodged a direct answer but said “it’s possible to have services in Indigenous languages.”

Aug. 30: O’Toole said he supports building the cancelled Northern Gateway oil pipeline largely because it would provide Indigenous communities in favour of the project with economic opportunities.

  • Some First Nations along the pipeline route have inked agreements for a 33 per cent ownership stake in the pipeline, though many other communities have fought the project in court.

Aug 23: Erin O’Toole has pledged a plan to implement all truth and reconciliation calls to action. However, the Conservative party’s platform only commits to a plan to implement six specific items that deal with the deaths of children in residential schools and the sites where they were buried.

Liberal Promises

Sept 8: Responding to a question about adding Indigenous languages to Canada’s list of official languages, Trudeau said it’s “obvious that we need to recognize the value of that culture.” He used his response time during the French debate to tout his record improving the status of Indigenous languages in Canada, including the appointment of a governor general who speaks English and Inuktitut.

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Sept. 1: The Liberals have promised to increase spending on a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy, guided by communities, survivors and their families: $100 million this year, and $325 million annually after that.

  • The Liberals also promised to provide any support necessary for further searches of unmarked burial sites, and to create a permanent home for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: $60 million next year and $5 million a year after that.

Aug. 30: The party unveiled a plan to spend $2 billion over four years on housing for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities — with more than half flowing in time for the 2022 summer construction season.

  • The plan would see another $300 million allocated to co-developing a housing strategy for Indigenous urban, rural and northern communities, in partnership with Indigenous organizations.
  • The Liberals also promised an additional $1.4 billion over five years for a mental health and wellness strategy to be developed with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation. The sum would be on top of previously announced funding of more than $597 million, they said.

NDP Promises

Sept 8: Jagmeet Singh said in the second televised French debate that as prime minister, he would recognize First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages as official languages in Canada — “a small step” toward reconciliation that would have a “profound impact.”

Aug. 20: Singh announced that, if elected prime minister, he would appoint a special prosecutor on residential schools and demand all residential school records from institutions such as governments and churches be released.

  • Singh said a NDP government would also work to fully implement all outstanding recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Green Party Promises

Sept. 8: If elected, Annamie Paul said she would “absolutely” give Indigenous languages “official” status in Canada, alongside English and French.

Sept. 7: The Green Party unveiled a plan that commits to implementing all outstanding recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Calls for Justice from the Final Report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

  • The party also promises to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for First Nations who support it and involve them in the creation of supporting legislation.
  • Paul has committed to doubling the current budget of the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative and increasing support for Indigenous-led, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate mental health programs and services.
  • The platform says a Green government would also “stop fighting” orders from Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal requiring the federal government to compensate victims of discrimination and ensure non-status First Nations’ children living off-reserve have access to Jordan’s Principle.
  • The Greens further say they will develop a National Framework for Indigenous Protected and Conservation areas that include collaborative governance arrangements for all marine sectors.
  • If elected, they would also formally repudiate the doctrine of discovery and other “doctrines of superiority,” while establishing a process to transition out from under the Indian Act. Paul would also demand an apology from the Pope for the role of the Catholic Church in residential schools.
  • According to the Sept. 7 platform, the party also vows to end all boil water advisories, and ensure equitable access to education and food security across the country.

Bloc Québécois Promises

Sept. 8: During the French debate, Blanchet said in the spirit of a culturally enriching coexistence, a Bloc government would give official recognition to First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages.

  • The Bloc platform also vows to abolish the Indian Act, work with Indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation level to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in areas of federal jurisdiction, and create a new, independent organization to deal with land claims efficiently.
  • It states that elected Bloc MPs would pressure the federal government to implement all recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to demand that churches release archival information on residential schools.
  • The Bloc would also guarantee sustainable and predictable funding for programs that support the healing of residential school survivors.

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