Copyright © 2019 Senator Dennis Patterson.

Aboriginal Issues

Senator Dennis Patterson

Liberal government rejects most of the Senate’s amendments

Nunavut’s latest government: what does it stand for?

Senator Dennis Patterson

The current Nunavut government has held office since Nov. 21, 2017, when the 22 members elected to the Nunavut legislature this past Oct. 30 chose a premier and cabinet.

That was nearly six months ago. And yet this government still can’t declare what it stands for and what it plans to do.

They had a chance to say that in March, when they released their Turaaqtavut mandate document.

But they didn’t. Instead, they produced a content-free compendium of classic Nunavut clichés.

“We will work towards the well-being and self-reliance of our people and our communities!”

Senator Dennis Patterson

Though the day’s not widely observed in Nunavut and Nunavik, the Inuit Circumpolar Council hopes that every Nov. 7, Inuit Day, sometimes called International Inuit Day, will in the future become more important.

Inuit in Ottawa took a small step towards meeting that aspiration this past Nov. 7, inside a rented hall at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Ottawa, at a celebratory feast that also marked ICC’s 40th birthday and the 30th birthday of the Ottawa-based cultural and social service organization, Tungasuvvingat Inuit. 

MMWIG inquiry ‘constrained’ by federal rules: chief commissioner

Senator Dennis Patterson

Federal rules normally applied on the public service are limiting the work of the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the inquiry’s commissioners said Wednesday night.

“To be very blunt and very honest, because we’re bound by government policies and procedures … we are constrained,” chief commissioner Marion Buller said during an appearance at the Senate committee on Aboriginal Peoples.

The national inquiry is being run out of the Privy Council Office and must adhere to federal rules on spending, information technology, information management and human resources.

Senator Dennis Patterson

The head of the problem-plagued commission that is examining why so many Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada says the inquiry’s work has been hampered by the rules of the federal bureaucracy.

But Marion Buller told a Senate committee on Wednesday night that, despite concerns about the slow pace of progress and the “daunting task” that lies ahead, the commission has been making progress. 

Senator Dennis Patterson

Nunavut’s Conservative senator, Dennis Patterson, is responding to Sen. Lynn Beyak’s latest controversial comments about Indigenous people.

Beyak wrote in an open letter published earlier this month that First Nations should give up their Indigenous rights and integrate into Canadian society, by trading in their status cards for Canadian citizenship.

That’s despite the fact Indigenous people born in this country are already Canadian citizens.

“Senator Beyak’s comments don’t reflect the views of the Conservative caucus in the Senate,” said Patterson in a statement Friday. 

Toronto Star’s View: Get sexist language out of the Indian Act

Senator Dennis Patterson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised a new era in relations between Canada and Indigenous peoples. As recently as August he split the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in his government in two and vowed to build a nation-to-nation relationship that would involve “moving beyond” the outdated Indian Act.

And yet the Liberal government is insisting on passing a law that fails to fully address sex discrimination in the Indian Act. It is defending a version of the bill that goes only part way and will be vulnerable to a court challenge as soon as it is passed.

Senator Dennis Patterson

Liberals weighing new language to fix sexist Indian Act Liberals weighing new language to fix sexist Indian Act, says Sen. Sinclair