A private member’s resolution calling for the inclusion of an Indigenous land acknowledgement at the start of the daily proceedings at the Manitoba legislature did not go to a vote last week.

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A private member’s resolution calling for the inclusion of an Indigenous land acknowledgement at the start of the daily proceedings at the Manitoba legislature did not go to a vote last week.

On Thursday, NDP MLA Ian Bushie’s resolution got "talked out" — with members speaking about the bill until the allotted time ran out.

"It was very strategic and methodical for the PC caucus to speak it out, and that is a very telling example of where they situate Indigenous people," NDP house leader Nahanni Fontaine said Monday.

The PC caucus said "multiple" Tory MLAs spoke to the motion, including Métis members Alan Lagimodiere (Selkirk) and Bob Lagassé (Dawson Trail), "to share the province’s commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," spokesperson Delaney Hoeppner said in an email.

"As this is an important matter, other members may want the opportunity participate in the debate," Hoeppner said. "The Opposition is always free to allocate more time to continue debate on this resolution, should they wish to do so."

The NDP Opposition says it has been asking for an Indigenous land acknowledgement since 2017.

"It’s 2021 — you can’t have the language of reconciliation and not do something that is so simple that everyone is doing," Fontaine said.

A land acknowledgement is recited before Winnipeg professional sporting events, conferences and city hall meetings. She said the Manitoba legislature, which sits on traditional Treaty 1 territory, could include the land acknowledgement without a formal vote, if house leaders agreed and asked the Speaker.

"If there’s political will and agreement, we could have it start tomorrow," Fontaine said in a scrum Monday. She doesn’t expect a land acknowledgement will be included in the proceedings before the house rises for the summer June 1, and it may not happen until the session resumes in October — or when the NDP next forms government, she said.

The adherents to Treaty 1, who are commemorating its 150th anniversary this year, want the Manitoba legislature to acknowledge the land it is on as part of the daily proceedings.

"We are pleased that MLA Bushie and the Manitoba NDP has reached out to the Treaty 1 Nation to begin consultation of this addition to daily proceedings, which we feel is one step towards reconciliation with a government that has largely ignored First Nations in Manitoba," spokesman Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said in an email.

"The timing of this resolution is also good as we head into the 150th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 1 in August this year, and we look forward to discussions and more recognition of the First Peoples of what is now the province of Manitoba."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.