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

Our community news matters

Guest editorial by Arnold Malone

The GoPro that refused to drown

A snorkler found a submerged GoPro and used the camera footage to find the owners

Shuswap Indian Band supports students, voices concerns for families

Shuwap Indian Band collaborates with school district on crafts, workbooks, worksheets and contests

Group home offers solace through pandemic

Rolf Heer says “life is good” at Columbia Garden Village

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Most Read