On February 24, 2020, I rose to speak the Bill C-6, "An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94)."
Madam Speaker, for generations, Canada has welcomed newcomers from around the globe looking to arrive here and contribute to this great place we call home. Canada has openly welcomed people fleeing political, economic and social hardships as well as those looking for better opportunities to better themselves and their families.
The multicultural mosaic of Canadian society has been shaped by people from all walks of life who have chosen to live freely together to ensure peace and respect for all. In welcoming those to our beloved country, we look to continue and strengthen that tradition of diversity and inclusion for all and those who wish to call Canada home.
As we begin to debate on Bill C-6, an act to amend the Citizenship Act, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94, we need to acknowledge Canada's colonial history. Embedded in that history are many chapters of how Canada legislated against and discriminated against the ethnic minority community.
The Chinese people who came before me helped Canada build the railway to connect this country from coast to coast to coast. They went through hell to earn me the right to stand here today. They sacrificed everything, and some paid with their blood. They took on the most dangerous work to help build the railway, and they fought for Canada even though they were deemed “aliens”. They were discriminated against and mistreated in ways that will make us hang our heads in shame.
I have learned from elders and the stories of how it was Indigenous peoples, themselves experiencing discrimination, who came forward to support the Chinese people. They helped them, housed them, fed them, clothed them, gave them medicine and offered a sense of belonging, and treated them with humanity. In practice, they have shown the world again and again that the most important life lesson is humanity; this from the very people who were experiencing colonization, who suffered extreme hardships and discrimination themselves.
All of this is to say how very grateful I am to the Indigenous peoples for their teachings, kindness and their humanity. What a privilege it is for me to learn from them, to stand with them, to thank them, to appreciate them for the teachings that they have given to all of us. These are the teachings of lifting each other up, of being land defenders, that water is life and that mother earth is sacred. These are teaching of being united with one heart.
As a non-Indigenous person, I stand as an ally. That is why the bill before us is so important. We, as settlers, must learn and understand Canada's colonial history.Read more
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On February 5, 2020, I stood in Question Period to ask the following question:Read more