Trudeau to UN: Canada remains a work in progress on Indigenous people

Published On September 21, 2017 | By Eric Reid | International, News, Politics

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By: Eugenio Garro

Admitting that Canada has made mistakes in the past, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday that the country “remains a work in progress,” and will stand by Indigenous peoples.

In his speech, the prime minister provided light on how Indigenous peoples were humiliated, neglected and abused. He described the First Nations as victims of a government who didn’t respect them or their traditions. Instead of helping them thrive, Trudeau said, the government tried to undermine their rights and dignity.

“The inability of successive Canadian governments to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada is a great shame, and for too many Indigenous peoples this lack of respect still persists today,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said that there are children who live in Indigenous communities who cannot drink, bathe, or even play in the water that comes out of their taps.

He told the UN that there are too many Indigenous families who put their kids to bed and worry that they will either run away or commit suicide during the night.

Many Indigenous children have to leave their homes to find a basic education. An education that the prime minister said “Canadians take for granted.” He added that women live with a constant threat of violence that it’s been called a humans rights crisis by Amnesty International.

The speech got a lot of attention on social media from all sides of the political spectrum.

The prime minister emphasized that this year may have been Canada’s 150th birthday, but admitted the country is much older than that, and has been the home to Indigenous peoples for a ‘millennia.’

“For all the mistakes we’ve made we remain hopeful. Hopeful that we can do better and be better and treat each other with the dignity and respect that is the birthright of every human being.”

Along with the topic of Indigenous peoples, the prime minister briefly touched upon climate change, which drew applause by those in attendance.

“There is no country that could walk away from the challenge and reality of climate change,” he said.

The prime minister made sure everyone knew that Canada will honour the Paris Climate Accord they signed last year regarding climate change. He urged other countries do the same for the future generations.

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