CAP takes government to task over council exclusion

By Marc Lalonde

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A lobby group speaking for urban Indigenous population is looking for answers after being excluded from a Parliamentary reconciliation council.


The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples was excluded from the federal Reconciliation Council in a vote late last month, and given the association represents 80 percent of the Indigenous population in Canada, they’re having trouble understanding why.


Last Friday in Ottawa, CAP national chief Elmer St-Pierre called on the Senate to step in and amend the legislation that has kept CAP off the council.


“The entire Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is shocked and frustrated at the Liberal government’s gross actions to exclude the national voice of off-reserve, non-status and urban Indigenous peoples at the National Council for Reconciliation,” said St.

Pierre. “If the evolving face of the Senate is to have meaning, Senators must act to amend this bill and ensure CAP’s national voice is at the table.”


Earlier this fall, CAP’s inclusion to the committee was proposed by the official opposition, and voted down by the government.


St-Pierre called the exclusion of CAP, which provides support and advocacy for the off-reserve Indigenous, a “slap in the face,” last week.


As it stands, the Reconciliation Council will have between nine and 13 members and is expected to have representatives from the Assembly of First Nations, the Metis National Council and Inuit Kapiriit Kanatami (ITK) as well as the Native Women’s Association of Canada.


However, ITK president Natan Obed said he would not support the legislation creating the council.


CAP national vice-chief Kim Beaudin said he had hoped for more advocacy from the other Indigenous organizations that are already on the council.


“One thing that is really frustrating is that this is a divide and conquer policy that’s been around for hundreds of years by the federal government and these organizations, ITK, MNC AFN, they’re playing right into that playbook,” he said. “We cannot understand how the current government believes our communities’ experiences, so severely impacted by the Residential School system, should be silenced.”

 Marc Lalonde is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with  IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.


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