Thousands gathered for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019. (Shalu Mehta - News Staff)

B.C. chief doubts Scheer’s sincerity toward Indigenous people on Canada Day

Louis said the possibility of conservatives taking majority concerns him and his community

At Kelowna’s Canada Day celebration, conservative leader Andrew Scheer said acknowledging Indigenous people on Canada Day is “obviously very important,” while maintaining that Canada Day is still, nonetheless, a cause for celebration.

“This is a day for everyone to celebrate Canada whether we are Indigenous Canadians, whether our families have been here for multiple generations or if we’ve literally just arrived,” said Scheer.

That opinion may not represent many in the Indigenous community and it certainly did not bode well with Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis.

“As an individual, I’d say I can’t really support that (statement),” said Louis. “(Sure) it’s something we take as a statutory holiday, but once you start getting deeper as an Aboriginal person, there are bigger issues on celebrating a day that (oppressed our community). It gets a little cloudy.”

READ MORE: Indigenous mural raised on Hwy 3 on Canada Day: “We’re Still Here!”

Tensions between the government and First Nations rose in 2017 when Canada celebrated its sesquicentennial birthday, with the trendy tag line, “Canada 150.”

Indigenous people raised their voices and created an alternative, opposing campaign called, “Rethink 150: Indigenous Truth”; which encouraged Canadians to consider a different perspective on the extravagant marketing campaign.

Since then, the liberal government, in Louis’ perspective, created momentum for the path to reconciliation; something that he isn’t quite convinced Scheer will carry on if elected prime minister.

READ MORE: RECAP: 10 Canada Day moments and videos you’ll want to see

“The past Conservative Government was quite negative to our clan,” said Louis, referring to sweeping budget cuts to First Nations communities across Canada.

“Our constitution has the treaty rights right in there and our party has supported a lot of the work in terms of reconciliation,” said Scheer, citing former conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s “historic apology” for residential schools over 10 years ago.

“It’s one thing to mean (the apology),” Louis responded, “it’s another thing to apologize because (we were) threatening to sue (the conservative party) and had a pretty good case.”

Although Scheer said “there’s a lot of common ground (and) there are some areas that (they’d) like to move forward on,” Indigenous-government relations will be “very positive” if the conservatives take a majority government.

“We don’t know what he’s about,” said Louis, recalling a number of incidents where he felt Scheer reported vague answers about Indigenous rights. “It does concern us.”

READ MORE: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer calls out local MP during Canada Day


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Aspiring pot-sellers can apply in two weeks to operate stores in Abbotsford

City will accept applications to operate one of four new stores; public consultation to follow

Nine Abbotsford citizens fleeced for over $68,000 by bitcoin scammers

Police warn public about fraudsters who threaten arrest

Comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Most Read