Posted on Nov 6, 2020


EDMONTON - A bill brought forward by MLA Peter Singh, a member of Jason Kenney’s UCP caucus, will ask the legislature to remember, condemn and prevent genocide — but it pointedly excludes documented genocide endured by Indigenous people in Canada.

During a committee meeting to review the bill, the NDP opposition members recommended that the bill be changed to include “the atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples by colonialism and including the ongoing murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls.”

This recommendation was voted down by UCP MLAs Michaela Glasgo, Nate Horner, Nathan Neudorf, Jeremy Nixon, Joseph Schow, and R.J. Sigurdson.

“We support the recognition of the seven genocides currently listed in the bill. But the mass kidnapping, abuse and murder of Indigenous children in residential schools was also a genocide, and the ongoing murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls in Canada is an ongoing genocide,” said Richard Feehan, NDP Opposition Critic for Indigenous Relations. “These are the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and of the National Inquiry into Murdered and MIssing Indigenous Women and Girls. It is utterly disgraceful that the UCP is seeking to formally deny that these genocides occurred.

“This is becoming a disturbing pattern for this UCP government. The premier hired Paul Bunner to write his speeches, a man who made a career of suggesting that residential school survivors were selling a “bogus genocide story” for their own gain, and then appointed Chris Champion to help rewrite the curriculum, who argued against teaching the history of residential schools,” Feehan said.

Opposition members have called on the Minister of Indigenous Relations several times to endorse the language of the National Inquiry report, which specifically names this atrocity as genocide. He has evaded the question every time.

“While the Minister’s behaviour is disgraceful, it is a far more serious matter for this legislature to formally exclude the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada from our remembrance and condemnation of genocide,” Feehan said. “If passed in its current form, this bill will be a dangerous step backwards for reconciliation in Alberta.”