It has been a year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report, "Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future." It seemed like we finally had a government in Ottawa ready to listen and act. In the year since, we have seen the listening. Now we need to see the action.
The results show that Canadians still have a long way to go, said Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations.
Incarcerating mothers is commonly associated with depression, anger, poor school performance and environmental disruptions among their families, especially for their children. We are impacting entire communities spanning generations.
The Liberals had promised a new, government-wide appointment process that is open and based on merit. They recently reaffirmed that promise and added that they will ensure gender parity and that indigenous peoples and minority groups are reflected in positions of leadership. Nobody yet knows what this new government-wide process will look like.
The current system has tremendous shortcomings -- it abandons victims, leaving them to heal alone, at times powerless, and without any meaningful answers. There is a better way to help victims heal and to hold offenders accountable for their acts while empowering them to improve their lives. That alternative is restorative justice.
The election of Justin Trudeau has been variously described as historic. And it was. Another less talked about historic moment was the election of 10 First Nations MPs. Add to this that a record-breaking 54 Aboriginal candidates put their names forward during the election. Each of these candidates ran in one of the 51 swing ridings identified by Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Perry Bellegarde. Bellegrade was blunt and clear that the Aboriginal vote could make a difference between a majority and minority government.
While some political parties are more responsible for instances of blatant racism than others, no political party has committed to action on combating racism in Canada. Aboriginal and racialized realities of being heavily surveilled, unfairly carded in the streets, and higher rates of violence remain fringe issues.
Last week, the Yukon Court of Appeal heard arguments about the future of the massive Peel River watershed, and about the meaning and application of modern aboriginal treaties. Will this land be mostly protected from development, as the planning commission decided after extensive aboriginal consultation? Or will it mostly be used for resource extraction, as the Yukon government wants? So soon after the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will First Nations interests again be sacrificed for the economic gain of others?
The recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were on the agenda of Canada's premiers, meeting at Happy Valley-Goose Bay earlier this week. The Premiers did more than discuss the wide-ranging recommendations.
National chief says 'ultimate goal' would be to have Aboriginal languages printed beside English and French.