The head of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations is raising concerns about major federal party leaders’ commitment to reconciliation as the organization kicks off its annual general meeting.
Regional Chief Terry Teegee says he invited Justin Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole to submit video addresses to chiefs at the two-day conference beginning Tuesday, and all three failed to respond.
“They have all paid a great deal of lip service to Indigenous issues, but are unwilling to actually appear before the leadership of First Nations in B.C.,” he said in a press statement.
“If they can’t spend ten minutes addressing these issues during the election, what kind of attention will they pay to reconciliation once they are elected?”
The B.C. AFN represents more than 200 First Nations across the province and is conducting its AGM virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news statement said all three major party leaders were “given plenty of notice and flexibility in scheduling” to address meeting participants, and the no-shows put their commitment to “true and lasting reconciliation in question.”
Other speakers at the AGM include Indigenous candidates running in the federal election on Sept. 20.
One-on-one with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, was campaigning in Vancouver on Monday.
“I agree with the impatience that Indigenous people feel because I feel it, too. We need to be moving as fast as possible,” he explained.
“But it’s not just for the federal government to decide, ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to do that.’ We have to work with the communities.”
Last week, the leaders of major Indigenous organizations in Canada, including Regional Chief Teegee, expressed concern with the lack of clarity the Liberals, New Democrats, Conservatives and Greens have provided on how — and when — they would deliver on reconciliation promises made during the campaign.
A complete list of promises made toward reconciliation by each party is available on Global News’ Promise Tracker.
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