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.

Just Posted

BC Children’s Hospital fundraiser held on weekend

Locals came out in large numbers to support the event

Nechako Valley Vikings taking on the Prince George Polars this Friday

The local high school football team are the top seed in the Northern Conference double-A varsity standings

Junior boys cross country team from NVSS win big at Dawson Creek meet

Zones were held in Dawson Creek on Oct. 19 and 20

New regional training centre for firefighters in Fraser Lake

The centre boasts of a Live Fire Burn Building

New book about Vanderhoof out on shelves now

Every Little Scrap and Wonder written by Carla Funk delves into childhood memories growing up in a small town

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Most Read