Native War Vets Motion Passes In Parliament

Wednesday, April 06, 2005 at 14:50



Members of Parliament have voted in favour of a motion that calls on the government to properly address the issue of compensating Aboriginal war veterans.


The private member’s motion was put forward by northern Saskatchewan MP Jeremy Harrison.


The motion was carried by a vote count of 144 to 101.


According to Harrison, the Liberal’s party whip ordered all Liberal MPs to vote against the motion — but two voted in favour of it, anyway.


All Conservative, Bloc and NDP MPs in the House at the time also voted in favour of the measure.


Harrison admits a private member’s motion doesn’t carry as much weight as a bill, and there is nothing that legally forces the Liberals to abide by the passed motion.


However, he says the government of the day has a moral obligation to abide by the wishes of the House when a vote has been taken.


Harrison also says it’s unclear what the Liberals will do, since it’s very rare for private member’s motions to be passed. In fact, Harrison says this might be the first time it has happened in the last 20 years.


Regardless, Harrison says the Liberals, at the very least, need to sit down with groups that represent Aboriginal veterans and work out some sort of settlement.


Harrison says it’s a proven fact that Native vets were shortchanged when they returned from the World Wars and the Korean War.