Liberals shut out elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs from Indigenous Affairs parliamentary committee
June 1, 2020
OTTAWA, ON – Today, at the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Liberals with the support of the NDP, shut down Conservative efforts to give a voice to the democratically elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs and the people they represent. Jamie Schmale, Shadow Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, introduced a motion to invite the elected chiefs to committee to hear their concerns about the federal government’s failure to consult Indigenous peoples during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schmale said, “it is appalling that the Liberals, with the support of the NDP who represent the Wet’suwet’en in the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, would shut down a motion giving a voice to Indigenous peoples.”
The motion would have allowed committee members to hear how COVID-19 has affected the Wet’suwet’en’s ability to be properly consulted on the details of the Memorandum Of Understanding signed between a few hereditary chiefs, the provincial government and the federal Liberal government.
Bob Zimmer, Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs and Northern Economic Development Agency, and Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies said, “I have been hearing from the chiefs and members of the Wet’suwet’en, they are beside themselves and can’t believe they are being ignored by the Trudeau Liberals. They have so many questions and deserved to be heard by the federal government.”
Gary Vidal, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River added, “providing essential community services to the people of the Wet’suwet’en is the responsibility of elected chiefs and to exclude them from decisions that affect the people they represent is unconscionable. Conservatives will continue to pressure the Liberal government to do the right thing and listen to the democratically elected chiefs and the people of the Wet’suwet’en.”