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

UPDATE: Body of Slocan River drowning victim recovered

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

Nelson’s SMRT1 Technologies to provide vending tech to Vancouver company

UpMeals will launch 22 machines across Canada using SMRT1’s personalized machines

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Sound system, Ipad stolen from Rossland restaurant

Mook Thai Lounge staff have had to buy a new sound system at a cost of $700

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Fruitvale

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read