Canadians believe in equality, that all men and women have equal rights. We have determined that all shall be treated fairly and that no one shall be shut out of Canadian life, and especially that no one shall be shut out because of his, or her, race.
Only a policy based on this belief can enable Canadians of Aboriginal heritage to realize their needs and aspirations.
Native Aboriginal relations with other Canadians began with special treatment by government and society, and special treatment has been the rule since Europeans first settled in Canada. Special treatment has made of the Aboriginals a community disadvantaged and apart.
Obviously, the course of history must be changed.
The changes proposed recognize the simple reality that the separate legal status of Aboriginals, and the policies which have flowed from it, have kept the Aboriginal people apart from, and behind, other Canadians. The treatment resulting from their different status has often been worse, sometimes equal and occasionally better than that accorded to their fellow citizens.
What matters is that it has been different.
We can no longer perpetuate the separation of Canadians.
Now is the time to change.