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Two for Trudeau: Manitoba Association for Rights & Liberties

What are the top two human rights issues that Justin Trudeau needs to address?


I found it virtually impossible to select only two of the platform promises that the Liberal party should address immediately. It was because of the question that I asked myself,”Which Liberal campaign promises would alleviate the most pressing human crisis that we are facing not only as a nation but internationally as well?” With that question in mind three Liberal promises came to the forefront; Syrian Refugees, First Nations Education and Climate Change.

The Liberal Party has promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by year’s end. This simply needs to be done. We cannot expect the European Union to continue accepting the overwhelming influx of migrants/refugees into their countries as we sit idly by, allowing a mere trickle to come in. We have the resources, the infrastructure, and most of all, the will of the majority of our citizens to do so. We already have the tragedy of the S.S. St. Louis on our hands and I do not want another in our history.

We cannot continue to ignore the overall oppression, discriminatory practices and systemic underfunding of our First Nations Education. Shannen Koostachin, a First Nations student from Attawapiskat, stated, at the tender age of thirteen, that ‘education was a human right.’ She spoke out about being educated in a toxic environment in rundown portables. She went to Parliament to address her concerns and yet nothing significant was done. The year was 2012. How can this be? We need to make our amends to all the residential school victims and survivors and this is an essential step in doing so. It is also about equity, dignity, inclusion, and respect. Enough of the excuses and denying their treaty rights. Enough about going to court on each challenge they bring forward. The money that our previous governments have spent on litigation would probably have addressed all their education needs and more. The past was one of us against them with no winners and with the First Nations children and their communities receiving the brunt of the impact. How many years can we let this continue? None.

The last issue is Climate Change which is currently impacting our world on a daily basis, both physically and economically. People are literally losing their lives due to severe droughts, flooding, fires, hurricanes and other disasters amplified by a warming world. The Liberal’s promises of reducing fossil fuel subsidies, albeit slowly, and establishing a National strategy with the Provinces and Territories are taking us into the right direction. But more needs to be done and quickly, especially in the area of alternative green energy. We are lagging behind many countries, including Germany, which now uses solar, wind and other alternative sources as their primary energy source. Because we have not diversified enough in the energy sector, we are now in the midst of a huge federal economic quandary. Green energy needs to be our mantra call. People might say that it is too late and it certain is if we do not start right now.

I, for one, believe that change is coming and I hope the Liberal Government of Canada starts with my three wishes. Stand firm, stand tall but most of all stand together to get it done.

Estelle Lamoureux, Board of Directors

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