“A dynasty in the making” was the headline on the day Mr. Twoskies gave his speech of acceptance in the House of Commons. Billy, the father of Mr. Tim Twoskies, had been a politician also, presiding over the affairs of his First Nation for four consecutive terms. It’s said the apple falls near to the tree, but Mr. Twoskies was now more than 1,500 kilometres from the fly-in community where his father had been Chief years ago.
Mr. Twoskies was 20 his first time on a plane. “Enjoy the flight Mister Tooski,” said the woman at the check-in counter. Thus began a new phase of life in the city:
– Here’s your change, Mr. Tooski.
– How’s Tuesday at 3, Mr. Tooski?
– The doctor will see you now, Mr. Tooski.
– Have a nice day, Mr. Tooski.
Each time he smiles and says, “That’s two skies.”
Time passes and he finds it’s rare now, as he goes about his business, that people confuse or comment on his name.
– Tooski? You don’t look Polish at all.
One day Mr. Twoskies reads an article about a local Member of Parliament who is retiring from politics. He decides in that moment to run for office in the upcoming by-election. The outgoing NDP candidate is more than happy to help. The NDP are very popular around here, he tells Mr. Twoskies. “We need more of your people in politics,” he says. “With my backing, you’ll do well.”
Mr. Twoskies wins the by-election: he is going to Ottawa. In the weeks that follow he dreams of Parliament, where he will transform his struggling community.
He arrives at the Hill and is welcomed into the fold with enthusiasm. Parliamentary aides show him to his office and colleagues stop by to shake his hand. A press release announces his victory and notes that the number of Indigenous MPs is now 10—a record.
Later that week a Member of Parliament rises in the commons and says: What a wonderful day for Canada! What a great country we have!
People are smiling and hugging and shaking hands. “Today we see our world-renowned values reflected in our Parliament,” says another Member, rising to more cheers and shaking of hands. What a wonderful place Canada is, adds another. It’s a thing of wonder: 18.5 percent of the Indigenous people who ran for public office have been elected, and they now make up a record 3 percent of this august body.
Member after member rises to deliver moving tributes celebrating the greatness of Canada: its openness, tolerance, generosity, diversity. Mr. Twoskies is moved by the passion and eloquence of his colleagues. What great things they are going to do!
Mr. Twoskies stands. He is overcome by this feeling of love. On the desk before him is the award given to him in honour of being the 10th Indigenous Member of Parliament. “I am honored to accept this,” he says. “Canada is a great country and I am proud to serve.” When he sits he feels as if the change he had come to fight for has taken place already. Yes: his world is transformed, a place of bright light and applause and honors and endless possibilities.