Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is in Winnipeg to support local Liberal candidate Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Center) and is sharing the wealth of his knowledge on Indigenous issues. This is especially timely considering the Kapyong Barracks judgment that just came down last week.
I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Martin speak at a private event this evening, and it was simply amazing. The wealth of knowledge our former Prime Minister has about this important issue is incredible. Instead of stopping to enjoy post-political retirement, he has continued to support and bring light to the plight of Aboriginal issues in Canada – an issue he championed as Prime Minister and has continued to champion. He even opened the Martin Aboriginal Initiative – a non-profit agency committed to identifying issues confronting Canadian Aboriginals. To date, its two divisions target the education opportunities for Aboriginal students through the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI) and developing business expertise and mentoring for Aboriginal business through the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund. A good part of tonight’s conversation focused on these issues – and just how there is a correlation between a strong Canadian economy and a strong Aboriginal community. We cannot have one without the other.
Justin Trudeau believes strongly in this as well. In fact, earlier this week he announced $2.6 BILLION (with a B!) for First Nations education. This will improve the lives of First Nations in Canada. It is an issue that the Liberal Party feels strongly about – we know that we cannot have a strong economy or a strong social fabric if we don’t have positive relations and dialogue with our First Nations. I’m proud to be a part of a party that values that – as a Canadian and as a member of the Métis Federation.
Mr. Martin will be speaking at a meet and greet tomorrow morning, where I have no doubt he will expand of the plethora of issues facing First Nations in Canada – and what the rest of us need to do to combat those issues. We have it in us to make lives better; with the Liberal Party of Canada, we can see Aboriginal potential fully realized. As a country, we are better when we all come together.