Really Mr. Dion says it better than I could. However, given how I believe and feel about our Aboriginal peoples I wish to add my two cents worth. People that know me know I really feel for and beleive that justice will not be served until our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, descendents of our original Canadians enjoy equal rights and opportunities as every other Canadian. They also know that I have long been putting my money where my mouth is since I spend many hours with my Aboriginal colleagues and do everything I can to advance the Aboriginal cause. It is tough being a minority and so easy to be overwhelmed by the predominating culture. Also, as i have often said "when any [part of a community looks bad, it is reflective of the rest of the community and when any segment benefits we all do and are the greater for it". Let's all; especially Aboriginals, hold heads high and feel proud of who we are. Happy National Aboriginal Day!
Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge
The following is Mr. Dion's message for National Aboriginal Day:
Today, we honour and celebrate the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people of Canada. First proclaimed twelve years ago by a Liberal government, this day pays tribute to the immense contribution of Aboriginal Peoples to the social, economic and cultural fabric of Canadian society.
This year’s celebration comes less than two weeks after the long overdue apology from the government of Canada for the legacy of residential schools.
In this spirit, I would like to pay special tribute to some of the individuals who made the apology possible. They include Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, who is himself a survivor of the residential school tragedy; Willie Blackwater, and other survivors like him, who had the courage to speak out and pursue justice; and, finally, former Liberal Member of Parliament Gary Merasty, whose motion calling on the government to apologize to survivors of residential schools was unanimously adopted by Parliament on May 1, 2007.
On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus, I would like to thank these people for their commitment and dedication to seeing the apology through to fruition, and for their contribution to our nation.
Honourable Stephane Dion, Liberal Leader and Leader of Her majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Government of Canada.