Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable
senators, I wish to echo my esteemed colleague, Senator
Watt, in thanking all the honourable senators for the
support that they have given me in the Senate, for their
kindness and for their support for all of the work that went
toward the historic apology yesterday.
Yesterday was a monumental day. I believe
that the apology by the Prime Minister was heartfelt and
sincere, as were the apologies from the leaders of all the
parties. It was a very moving event.
I wish to accept the apology of the
Prime Minister on behalf of my mother, who was a residential
school survivor — she is no longer alive — and of her
siblings. All of her family were subjected to the
residential school experience. It is an experience which
they never shared with us because I think they did not wish
to make us feel bad, or because the experiences were so
terrible that they were not able to speak about them.
Nonetheless, I think we are moving forward in Canadian
I accept the apologies and I fully
expect that all Canadians — Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal —
accept the view that this is merely the first step, and that
the words will translate into action such as outlined by my
esteemed colleague, Senator Watt. One of those actions would
be the signing of the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Within the Senate chamber itself, we
have had Bill C-292 on the Order Paper since May 6. It is a
private member's bill, put forward by former Prime Minister,
Paul Martin. It might not have weight behind it as a private
member's bill but third reading is here. I would love to
vote "yes" to that bill; I urge all senators to pass it.
Whether it leads to something concrete or not, it provides
an opportunity. I fully expect that we will deal with it at
some point in the future. That is my expectation as I rise
here in the chamber.