Transcript: The Path of Reconciliation
Reconciliation is a national project. This is part of ensuring that Canada is a fair and inclusive country.
It means learning about our history, learning about what we've gone through. It's very important for people to learn about it so that people get a sense of our history because we're not in the Canadian history books.
Reconciliation, to me, starts with me. Our history is not as peaceful, as graceful, as I was taught. I need to recognize that I don't know everything and I'm ready to learn.
The opportunities for reconciliation are everywhere.
We are a huge instrument of public governance in this country, and so it's especially important for us to find a way that we can translate concepts like reconciliation into practical, meaningful change on the ground in the lives of Indigenous people. This is not a scary concept. It's not an incantation for political purposes. This is truly about our mission to help build a better Canada.
It's about developing that knowledge of what our history was. We took away cultural identities from people. We promoted these types of soul wounds, and we didn't allow them the space to be and to identify with who they are as people. We didn't encourage their language. We didn't encourage their cultural ways.
Our early history is not solid. It's a dark history, and we are still trying to move past some of the actions that we took over 100 years ago.
Sessions like this are really important, particularly at the executive level.
A conference like this, with executives in the public service, is really critical to have a session on reconciliation. The commitment is exemplified from the top. It has a ripple effect throughout the sector, through the department, throughout public service.
I'm hoping, through these sessions, that people will learn about who we are. Hopefully people will take an interest, not just because it's their job and because these are people's lives that we're dealing with. I hope they take it out of interest and also for their professional development, so that they can make a better informed decision on behalf of the people they serve.
The Indigenous identity is one of the distinguishing features that makes us Canadians. It's hard-wired into our history as Canada. So I think it's important that each of us takes personal responsibility to learn about our own history, to acknowledge the place that Indigenous people have had in the past, but even more important, who they are today and what place they will have going forward.
I'm hoping that we've developed a relationship where there is mutual respect.
We cannot expect it to be within a day, within a week, within a month. It's something that we have to work on, on a daily basis.
It's not one department's job. It's not one individual's job. Reconciliation has got to be all of our jobs.