Liberal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett today called on Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver to apologize for his offensive comments towards Aboriginal people.
In a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Minister called Aboriginal communities ‘socially dysfunctional’. His comments were insulting and disrespectful to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across Canada and indicative of the continued pattern of paternalism that permeates this government’s relationship with Aboriginal communities.
Two months ago, at the Crown-First Nations Gathering, this Conservative government claimed to be ‘strengthening the relationship.’ However, this derogatory comment is proof that that there remains deeply entrenched biases within Cabinet that must be addressed before the relationship can move forward in the spirit of mutual respect and accountability.
Minister Oliver must retract his comments immediately, and issue an unqualified apology to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across this country for his offensive, hurtful words.