As published in The Lance on November 1, 2017
In addition to my role as Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface – Saint Vital, I also serve as Chair of two caucuses: Manitoba Caucus and Indigenous Caucus. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight why these two roles are also important for you, the constituents of Saint Boniface – Saint Vital.
Manitoba Caucus includes all seven Liberal MPs from our province and meets once a week to discuss issues related to Manitoba and our individual constituencies. When our meetings are held in Ottawa, we invite ministers and department representatives to discuss emerging issues, funding opportunities and long-term priorities for our ridings and our province.
When our meetings are held in Winnipeg, we take the opportunity to meet with individuals and groups from across the province to hear their priorities and concerns. This allows us to discuss directly with the people who are on the ground, developing programs and initiatives that will benefit Manitobans. Often, through our discussions, we will find that an issue of importance to one riding is shared by many. Having a united voice to fight for our constituencies benefits us all.
My role as Chair of Indigenous Caucus also impacts the Saint Boniface – Saint Vital riding. Similar to Manitoba Caucus, the Indigenous Caucus was created as a forum for Indigenous Members of Parliament to work together to advocate for the well-being of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Indigenous Caucus also regularly meets with ministers and stakeholders to ensure that priorities are being addressed.
According to the 2011 Census, Indigenous peoples made up 17% of Manitoba’s population, the highest share of all provinces. Winnipeg is widely regarded as the Indigenous capital of Canada; we have more Métis, First nations and Inuit people living in Winnipeg today than Nunavut, NWT and Yukon combined! In Saint Boniface – Saint Vital, the same 2011 Census data indicates that 10% of the population identifies as Indigenous.
Given the large Indigenous population in our province – and that the fastest growing population in Winnipeg today is young Métis, First nation and Inuit peoples – we have a vested interest in ensuring long term prosperity for Indigenous peoples.
As you see, there are a number of ways that a Member of Parliament works for his/her riding. Together, through open dialogue and sharing ideas, we can succeed in making each of our communities a better place to live.