The Canadian Club of Halton hosted former parliamentarian Bob Rae as the dinner speaker for an audience of over 170 members and guests, Thursday, October 20, 2016. Mr. Rae’s remarks were titled “Mending Hearts, Mending Treaties”.
Bob Rae is a senior partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP who works with First Nations across Canada as legal counsel, advisor, negotiator, and arbitrator. Bob was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislature between 1978 and 2013. He served as Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995 and Interim Federal Leader and foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011- 2013. In 2011 he was chosen by his colleagues as Parliamentarian of the Year.
Bob resigned from Parliament in 2013 to return to legal practice and, in particular, to use his legal, political and strategic skills to assist First Nations communities.
Bob reminded his audience that, while celebrating Canada’s 150th year as a country, we have great challenges ahead in working with First Nations people and communities. “Canadians have to recognize that our country’s history did not begin with Champlain, the Loyalists, or Wolfe and Montcalm, but rather when the first people crossed the Bering Strait and arrived in North America 15,000 years ago at the end of the ice age.” It is difficult to imagine that explorers could come from Europe, “plant a flag” on the land and then own all of the rights to it.
“The problem today”, says Bob Rae,” is that we have made some serious blunders concerning First Nations and Aboriginal people”. However, “today… we are all here. We are all here together. We are all here to stay!” He went on to say that the best thing we can do for the Prime Minister and other officials of our government is to let them do what is required for the betterment of our country and to support their decisions.
“We are the world in one country. It is a part of who we are. It is a beautiful land, great and magnificent. We are lucky to have this as our home.”
Article and photos courtesy of Janet Bedford.
View more event photos here.