Caron decries Liberal “lip service” during stop in Prince Albert

NDP MP and leadership candidate hopeful Guy Caron addresses party members during a brief stop in Prince Albert on Monday. Caron said poverty, electoral reform, taxation and rebuilding relationships with Canada’s Indigenous people should be the NDP’s main priorities going forward. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

NDP leadership candidate Guy Caron says the federal government is talking a good game, but failing to follow through on its promises when it comes to Aboriginal issues.

Caron was in Prince Albert on Monday for a quick meeting with party supporters before Tuesday’s leadership debate in Saskatoon. The current MP for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, said the ruling Liberals have paid “lip service” to things like housing and living conditions in First Nations communities, and lack the political will to make the appropriate changes.

“They keep saying that this relationship (with Aboriginal people) is the most important one we have, but they don’t show it with actions,” Caron said. “It’s only words.”

Housing, clean water and implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action are at the top of his to-do list. Although the Liberals have moved forward in some areas, like supporting an NDP motion in October 2016 that called for an immediate increase in welfare services for First Nations children, Caron said the overall process has been slow.

That sentiment has some support from aboriginal leaders, like Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde. In June, Bellegarde released a statement lauding the “great response from all levels of government” to the TRC, but also noted that “change is not happening fast enough.”

Caron said an NDP government would make the federal government’s relationship with Aboriginal people a priority. That would involve things like increasing the amount of consultation with aboriginal leaders prior to developing major infrastructure projects, like the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

For the rest of this story, please see the July 12 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.