On June 11, 2021, the federal government posted updates to their “Delivering on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action” website as well as an update delivered on June 7, 2021 using the phrase “Date modified”.
Not a single word has changed from the last revision to the site on Sept. 5, 2019!
Those updates, beginning on June 7, began just 11 days after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops and the resulting outcry over the lack of government actions and resolve in addressing the TRC Calls to Action and, in particular, those relating to “Missing Children and Burial Information” (Calls to Action 71 – 76). To consciously draw attention to “modified” sections of the Calls to Action implies that something has been revised or updated and that there is progress in advancing those specific Calls to Action.
Take a careful look at which Calls to Action have purportedly been updated. All seven relate directly to those areas that would draw the most attention from the media, concerned Canadians and Indigenous groups themselves given the context of the last month:the discovery of about 1,250 unmarked graves in four sites and counting.
|Update||Call to Action (C2A) Theme||# of C2A’s||Changes||Context to the news of last month|
|June 7||Commemoration||4||Nothing||Residential school memorial in Ottawa; commemorating residential school sites and history|
|June 11||Justice||16||Nothing||The sheer number of unmarked graves implies criminal activity|
|June 11||National Council for Truth and Reconciliation||4||Nothing||Official Govt site to report on Reconciliation. Stalled in IW due to no progress in over two years|
|June 11||Church Apologies||1||Nothing||Focus on Pope’s refusal to apologize|
|June 11||Education for Reconciliation||2||Nothing||History of residential schools in K-12|
|June 11||Missing Children and Burial Information||5||Nothing||Records, locations, funding and plans|
|June 11||National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation||1||Nothing||Official archives and site for TRC|
The perception is that up to 33 Calls to Action have been “modified” to some degree. The reality is that nothing has changed at all.
Not a single word!
What does that say about the government’s commitment to honesty, transparency, accountability – and respect?
People in general and Indigenous people in particular have had their trust in governments at all levels eroded by the deceit, manipulations and overly loose playing with language. Hiding behind false statements that do not reflect the truth; broadcasting a misleading message that signals you are doing something when you are not; these are the ingredients of lies. Deliberate lies.
For what purpose?
In the context of what is now about 1,250 unmarked graves in four locations in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the demand for truth not only from Indigenous people but from non-Indigenous Canadians as well, why counter with misinformation and deception. That is not the way to build trust. That level of communication demonstrates a profound lack of respect to Indigenous people who deserve so much better especially from this government who have done so much more than previous governments to repair the damages inflicted by generations of previous governments.
So much has happened that could be honestly updated on the site if there was even the slightest interest in keeping Canadians informed about how reconciliation is advancing and where and how it is not. Indigenous Watchdog (IW) has documented numerous examples of where and how reconciliation is advancing and where problems continue to persist and fester. As a point of contrast, the most recent “Status Updates” issued by Indigenous Watchdog identified the following number of updates across all 94 Calls to Action as follows:
- June 14, 2021 = 59 updates
- March 31, 2021 = 40 updates
- Feb.- Dec. 2020 = 151 updates
That’s 250 updates over 17 months. Admittedly, that includes all the Calls to Action not just the ones the federal government is accountable or co-accountable for. The Indigenous Watchdog blog site was launched on Feb. 25, 2020 specifically to track the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action including the official Government of Canada’s response to each of the 94 Calls to Action. Aside from the above noted “Dates of Modification” posted on June 7 and June 11, there have been two previous government updates as follows:
- Feb. 27, 2020 – Call to Action # 3: Changed number of products and services delivered under Jordan’s Principle
- July 6, 2020 – Call to Action # 3: Changed number of products and services delivered under Jordan’s Principle
So in reality, in almost two years, the Government of Canada has issued two updates, both relating to the same Call to Action. The federal government’s official response “Delivering on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action” is physically located on the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada website.
The government states that it has modified seven Call to Action themes? My question is “Where and what has been modified?”
Check out the government’s seven “modified” Calls to Action on “Delivering on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action” (above link) with their original responses from the September 5, 2019 update as recorded on the Indigenous Watchdog site (click on each specific Call to Action to find “Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019).
Then ask yourself, why would the federal government do this? What was their motive?
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)