Bob Chamberlin, Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate, addresses the crowd at the grand opening of his office Saturday afternoon, while Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, looks on. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate officially opens office, talks reconciliation

Bob Chamberlin was chosen as NDP candidate last week

Momentum is increasing for truth and reconciliation in Canada, says the Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate.

Bob Chamberlin, chief councillor of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, won the NDP nomination last week and officially opened his campaign office today, April 6.

In his speech to the assembled crowd, Chamberlin talked about growing up in Harewood and raising his son in Nanaimo as a single father. He also addressed issues such as the “ever-unravelling truth” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the situation centring on the situation with SNC Lavalin, and also talked about reconciliation.

When asked about the state of Canadian reconciliation, he said it is “looking to push the clutch and go into second gear.”

“We’ve raised and elevated the need both from a human rights perspective, but also just for the greatness of this country to come to terms with the atrocities that have happened in the past,” said Chamberlin. “But I believe now that everyday Canadians are starting to know and understand what has happened and why it is so important that Canada really, meaningfully, advance the recognition of human rights of First Nations people.”

RELATED: Chamberlin wins Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP nomination

Chamberlin said it’s not simply a First Nations issue, but a human rights issue as well. It’s about the refinement and development of Canada, he said, and as that happens, there will be more certainty for economic activities and the inclusion of First Nations as a rightful, meaningful government-to-government relationship.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Attorney General and person of indigenous ancestry, was recently removed from Liberal caucus and when asked about the effect on reconciliation, Chamberlin said it seems like the federal government is only paying lip service when it comes to reconciliation matters.

“It certainly was the cherry on top of a very poorly cooked pie … I’ve been engaged with the federal government at a variety of very high levels on this topic of reconciliation and what I found within the bureaucracy and the path forward where the discussions are occurring, the intentions were entirely different, or fell extremely short, from what the high-level politicial rhetoric was,” Chamberlin said.

Along with Chamberlin, other candidates in the byelection include John Hirst, with the Conservative Party of Canada; Paul Manly, Green Party; Michelle Corfield, Liberals and Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada.

General voting for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection is May 6.



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