Bill C-218 a Clear Sign That Canada's Commitment to Reconciliation with First Nations is a Sham

·2 min read

KAHNAWAKE, QC, June 24, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke wishes to express its disgust and dismay regarding the fast-tracked passing at third reading of Bill C-218, and the blatant dismissal of proposed amendments that has once again shown that "reconciliation" and "recognition" are meaningless words in the Senate.

Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke Logo (CNW Group/Mohawk Council of Kahnawake)
Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke Logo (CNW Group/Mohawk Council of Kahnawake)

The Senate has failed as a so-called "body of sober second thought" concerning Canada's Indigenous communities. It is painfully clear that our efforts to work collaboratively on the creation of a framework that would favorably address all interests, is not a priority. With exception of the twenty-one (21) Senators who voted for the amendment - and the invaluable support of Senator Mary Jane McCallum, Senator Vernon White and Senator Marilou McPhedran - the Senate as a body remains focused on their shameless relationships with the horse-racing community and high-paid corporate lobbyists.

Even with the opportunity of a reasonable amendment, vetted by the Senate Clerk, the Chamber has once again failed to recognize the inherent rights of Indigenous communities as well as uphold Canada's commitment to UNDRIP.

It is incredibly disappointing and disheartening that an accommodation was shut down. The proposed amendment would have allowed for Indigenous governing bodies to continue to conduct and manage gaming and betting, and to engage in agreements with the government of Canada.

With full authority to create amendments to the Criminal Code that would uphold real reconciliation and protect the economic future of Indigenous communities, the Senate chose to hide behind excuses and rush this important Bill.

Promises have been left empty and we no longer trust the empty words that are sung to us.

This third reading on Bill C-218 is a momentous step backwards on the path towards reconciliation. Indigenous communities across Canada will remember the day the Senate gave them a resounding "no" when they merely attempted to preserve rights that are rightfully theirs. The sad irony is that this vote was made the day after National Aboriginal Day in Canada.

This will not stop the progress we have made over the last 25 years. While the Senate may have failed in their duty to adequately consult the interests of Indigenous communities, we will remain focused on protecting the economic interests of Kahnawà:ke and all First Nations. The fight continues – and we will not relent.

As per the MCK Communications Protocol, all media requests must be arranged through the Public Relations / Communications Unit

SOURCE Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

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