Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -
Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party announced their full platform commitments to reconciliation today as the only party that is committing in writing to search the landfill, compensate Indigenous children in Child and Family Services (CFS) for hundreds of millions of dollars wrongly taken by NDP and PC governments, and working in partnership with Indigenous communities to address the damage done by the Manitoba Government.
“All First Nations and Indigenous people are Manitobans, and Manitoba Liberals take the position that we have an obligation to recognize their full rights to fair and just treatment. Manitobans and Canadians need to understand that it wasn’t just the PCs who have mistreated First Nations, denied their rights, took their children, and denied Indigenous calls for justice against and again,” said Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont.
“The record of the Manitoba NDP and PCs on CFS, incarceration, poverty, and revenue sharing was nothing less than horrific. The only people who have been willing to stand up and say it have been Manitoba Liberals. Because the price of signing up with the NDP & PCs isn’t just silence, it is denial,” said Robert Falcon Ouellette, MLP candidate for Windsor Park & Southdale. “Words matter and putting things in writing matter. The NDP platform makes no mention of searching the landfill. The Manitoba Liberal Party platform does. That tells you everything you need to know about the commitment and political courage of Dougald Lamont as Leader. He is kind and willing to work in true partnership.’’
Manitoba Liberal commitments to address reconciliation include:
Returning $338-million in federal child benefits that Manitoba Governments illegally diverted from Indigenous children in the care of Child and Family services, a practice that began in 2006 under the NDP Government of Gary Doer, and that the NDP never stopped before being voted out in 2016.
Funding the search of the Prairie Green landfill, with an initial funding commitment of $42-million, which could increase as needed. The Manitoba Liberal Commitment to paying for the search is as a matter of basic justice. This is a police investigation into multiple murders, and we must further restore confidence and trust for First Nations and other Indigenous Manitobans that the justice system works for everyone – not just a few. While the PCs have campaigned against victims of crime by opposed the landfill search, the NDP have refused to make a formal commitment and there is no mention of the search, or cost, in their platform released September 28.
Returning birth and Neo-Natal Care to Northern Manitoba with support for midwives and funding staffing for a birthing centre and dialysis for the Cross Lake Medical Centre. Currently the “standard of care” is to fly Indigenous women to Winnipeg to give birth, which makes mothers vulnerable and increases the risk the newborn will be seized by CFS.
Supporting critical transportation infrastructure for Indigenous communities, including the construction of an airport at Wasagamack, and ensuring that highways, winter roads and ice roads are properly maintained. These investments will enhance safety and lower costs for these communities.
Creation of a government fund to establish long-term compensation for Hydro-affected communities who have faced utter devastation by Hydro developments that destroyed economies on the NDP and PCs’ watch.
Reducing incarceration of Indigenous inmates with post-release supports and halfway houses for men and women. Currently, Manitoba incarcerates people at twice the national rate, and the vast majority are Indigenous – and have not been found guilty of anything. They are in remand. Funds for Clan Mothers Healing Village and Native Clan will ensure that people can get on a better path.
Protecting Vulnerable Women and Children with New Emergency Shelters in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson Manitoba has one of the highest rates of violence against women in Canada; especially for Indigenous women and girls. Statistics show that Manitoba women face violence from their partners at a rate eight times higher than the national average, while Indigenous women are 3 times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women. Fully implement the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Report recommendations; Implement Indigenous-led advisory bodies within policing agencies to ensure gender-based violence is a priority.
Addressing Homelessness as an Act of Reconciliation, with a play to have Same-Day Housing up and running by 2025. The majority of homeless on the streets of Winnipeg are Indigenous, and over 50% were once in the custody of the Manitoba Government’s child welfare system.
Creation of an Indigenous Secretariat that will allow for ongoing consultations to reform provincial systems and guide the implementation of UNDRIP, to ensure that First Nations have a say on resource development on their territory – as any Manitoban should.
Making First Nations and Indigenous communities partners in fighting climate change by making them eligible for funding from our $300-million a year green plan, including rewilding and ecological corridors.
Working in partnership on economic reconciliation with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities, including plans for natural resource revenue sharing to benefit Indigenous communities, as well as assisting Indigenous entrepreneurs through a Manitoba Business Development Bank.
Lifting people out of poverty by modernizing social assistance, bringing in a provincial guaranteed minimum income for people over 60 as well as people with disabilities, and a $150-million “Manitoba Works for Good” jobs fund that would help not-for-profits and community organizations pay people to work in the community interest, including on First Nations.
A full list of commitments can be found in our costed platform.
The Manitoba Liberal Party has a strong history of standing alongside Indigenous peoples, which brought in the vote for all First Nations People in provincial elections in the 1950s. The first ever woman MLA in Manitoba, Edith Rogers, was Métis and a Manitoba Liberal. Roger Teillet, former Manitoba Liberal MLA for St. Boniface, and later MP, became the first-ever self-identified Métis cabinet Minister in the government of Lester Pearson. As Minister of Veterans Affairs, he restored the Vimy Monument and helped bring in Canada’s new flag.
In the 1980s, Manitoba Liberal Leader Sharon Carstairs was one of the only leaders in Canada to stand with Indigenous people against the Meech Lake Accord, which was later defeated when Eljah Harper defied his own party, the NDP, to reject it.
Manitoba Liberal Indigenous candidates include Alvina Rundle in The Pas-Kameesak, Nellie Wood Monias in Kewatinook, Dr. Robert Falcon Ouellette in Southdale, Dr. Winston Wuttunee in Notre Dame, Jerald Funk in Point Douglas, and Trenton Zazalak in Brandon East.