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Liberals accuse Conservatives of not doing enough for Indigenous Communities and to fight Islamophobia when they had the chance

The remains of 215 children buried at a former residential school in British Columbia in May and the recent terror-related incident in London, Ontario, where four members of a Muslim family were struck and killed earlier this month have shocked Canadians to their core. Since then, Politicians from all levels (Federal, Provincial, Municipal) have announced their willingness to achieve reconciliation with the Indigenous communities and condemned Islamophobia. The three questions that should be on all Canadians minds are the following: 1. Is there any political party that has used these tragedies for political gain? 2. What can we do as Canadians to avoid these two tragic events from being repeated? 3. What are the secondary impacts that these two tragedies have on the next Federal election currently set for June 2, 2022?

Liberals accuse Conservatives of not doing enough-canada-mileniostadium
Créditos: DR

Milénio Stadium interviewed two elected Portuguese Canadians officials this week, one from the Liberal Party in Mississauga as an MP, the other elected official was a Regional Councillor from the City of Brampton. Both of whom, condemned the tragedies and criticized the Conservative Party arguing that the PC’s “have consistently aimed to divide our great country”.

Milénio Stadium: Would you say that political parties are attempting to gain from these two tragedies?

Liberals accuse Conservatives of not doing enough-canada-mileniostadium
Peter Fonseca, MP Mississauga East-Cooksville elected by Liberal Party. Créditos: DR.

Peter Fonseca: Our government is horrified by the murder of four people in London simply because they were Muslim. The lives of four innocent Canadians were taken and left a 9-year-old boy as the only surviving member of his family. This attack has ripped apart a family and devastated a community. The senseless attack in London, Ontario shows us that Islamophobia is a serious issue and it has no place in Canada and around the world. It is our collective responsibility to combat hatred and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those lost, as we stand with the Muslim community in London and across the country. Everyone deserves to feel safe where they live, work, gather, and pray. Islamophobia has no place in our communities, but we are once again tragically reminded of its pervasive threat.

215 Indigenous children were buried in an unmarked, mass grave at a one-time residential school.

This discovery of the children’s remains is just part of a larger tragedy that saw thousands of Indigenous children torn from their families and sent to residential schools, where an untold number of them went “missing without a trace.”

Today, some of the children found in Kamloops B.C., and who have yet to be found in other places across the country, would have been grandparents or great-grandparents. They would have been seniors, community members and leaders. Because of this sad mark on our history they are not with us today and that hurts everyone.

Our Liberal Government has pledged the support of the federal government to help in preserving gravesites and uncovering potentially more unmarked burial grounds at other former residential schools. We will fund the technology needed to determine if there are similar unmarked gravesites at other schools.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, under the previous Harper Conservative government refused to fund efforts by Indigenous communities to uncover these unmarked burial grounds.

At this time in Parliament, we have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) being voted on in Ottawa. The (UNDRIP) protects indigenous collective rights and it also safeguards the individual rights of Indigenous people. Erin O’Toole and Conservative Party Members of Parliament voted against the Rights for Indigenous Peoples.

MS: What can we do as Canadian to avoid history from repeating itself?

PF: All of us must work together to confront racism and violence anywhere so we can create a country safe and welcoming for everyone, regardless of our race or religion.

Our government declared January 29 as the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia.

We committed an additional $50 million to anti-racism initiatives through 2020, and Budget 2021 proposes to provide $2 million to not-for-profit organizations such as places of worship, schools, and community centres to enhance their security infrastructure.

As we build back consciously more inclusive, all of us must step up, be allies, and do what we can to make workplaces, communities, and public spaces safer.

MS: What impact could these two tragedies have on the next election (June 2, 2022)?

PF: These two tragic incidents show us that so much more work needs to be done.

I am proud to represent the Liberal Party. We are the Party of Multiculturalism in Canada. As a Liberal, I work everyday to help build a Canada where we champion progressive values of gender equality, inclusion, and diversity.

I am proud to speak out against hate, prejudice, bigotry, and racism. Canada needs to be a place where our differences are a source of strength. We’ve come a long way, but we need to remember that Canada isn’t immune to divisive behaviour. I know, because I’ve experienced prejudice and racism as a Portuguese Canadian immigrant as I’m sure many of your readers have.

I hope all political Parties can come together and work to “stamp out” hate but in my opinion the Conservative Party of Canada has consistently looked to divide our Country by the colour of our skin, where we came from, how much money we have or the religion we choose to follow.

In 2017 after the Quebec City Mosque murders, a Motion condemning Islamophobia was voted on in the Parliament of Canada. Only the Conservative Party of Canada and the Bloc Party of Quebec voted against it.

At this time, we have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) being voted on in Ottawa. The (UNDRIP) protects indigenous collective rights and it also safeguards the individual rights of Indigenous people. The Conservative Party of Canada is the only Party to vote against the Indigenous Rights.

I hope the Conservatives will change to support these important values, principals, and laws but as of today (June 16th, 2021), Erin O’Toole and Conservative Party Members of Parliament continue to vote against the laws that would help stop these tragic hate crimes from happening in the future.


Liberals accuse Conservatives of not doing enough-canada-mileniostadium
Martin Medeiros, Regional Councillor for Wards 3 and 4 in the City of Brampton. Créditos: DR.

MS: Would you say that political parties are attempting to gain from these two tragedies?

Martin Medeiros: I would not say that the parties are taking advantage, rather I would say that some are denying any responsibility. Two years ago, the Liberal government presented a motion to denounce and fight Islamophobia, the Conservative Party did not support it. Multiculturalism must be supported by all parties, regardless of whether we are right or left leaning. We have to work together so that the message conveyed to the population is stronger and that we find real solutions to problems.

MS:  What can we do as Canadian to avoid history from repeating itself?

MM: We have to invest more on awareness policies, usually the first programs to be cut when governments are elected are awareness raising, this happens particularly in the city of Brampton and in other cities. In Brampton, we created a unit against black racism and a unit to promote diversity, not only for what happened in British Columbia with the Indigenous children, but also for what happened in the United States with George Floyd. I believe that the School Board also has an important role to play in raising awareness programs to promote diversity and inclusiveness. The City of Brampton is a prime example where we celebrate the different cultures and religions. All governments (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) have to try to bring people together instead of causing further division.

MS: What impact could these two tragedies have on the next election (June 2, 2022)?

MM: In the case of the tragedy of London, Ont, in my perspective, we have to look for the mental health issue and we have to know if he asked for help and did he find it available? We have to ask ourselves three questions: 1. Was there any prior signal that something was wrong? 2. Did he ask for support? 3. Did he find that help? I know that the Provincial Government has made a lot of cuts on mental health programs in recent years. In terms of impact on the next election, if I was a member of the Muslim community, I would look for a party that will respect and support my belief system. From my observation, the non-mainstream public are afraid to venture outdoors, this should never happen in a Country like Canada. I think it shows hypocrisy for the Progressive Conservative party to show up at funerals, making speeches, when they didn’t support the motion that the Liberal government presented two years ago.

Joana Leal/MS

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