Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation: Current Problems

MB


November 21, 2021


First Nations

25th Anniversay of the RCAP Final Report

Prime Minister’s Office – “25th anniversary of the final report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples”.
The five-volume landmark document outlined 440 recommendations on Indigenous governance, nation rebuilding, lands and resources, treaties, economic development, and social policy, and called for the renewal of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and all orders of government in Canada.

“The Government of Canada established the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (the Commission) in 1991, in the aftermath of the conflict at Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawà:ke, during a time of upheaval, concern, and hope, following longstanding challenges across the country. The Commission’s comprehensive mandate was developed in consultation with national and regional Indigenous leaders and groups, and federal, provincial, and territorial elected representatives. Its mandate was to investigate the evolution of the relationship between Indigenous peoples, the Canadian government, and Canadian society as a whole, propose specific solutions to the problems that have hindered those relationships, and examine all issues it deemed relevant to Indigenous peoples in Canada. What has happened since?

The RCAP Final Report was issued 25 years ago and many of its 440 recommendations were never implemented as acknowledged by Prime Minister Trudeau who stated, “Since 1996, the Commission’s report has continued to inform the actions of successive governments to support Indigenous peoples, even if many of its recommendations have not been fully implemented.”

As of March 22, 2022, according to the Indigenous Watchdog “TRC Calls to Action Status Progress Snapshot” the federal government has completed 8 of the 76 Calls to Action for which they are either directly or jointly accountable. That is 8 completed Calls to Action in 6 ½ years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its Summary Report on June 2, 2015.

As the Prime Minister pointed out: “The report concluded that many policies pursued since the colonial period onwards had been wrong. In a country built on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples, many government policies and societal practices have led to the systemic erosion of many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures, identities, practices, and governance structures and systems.”

25 years later, that statement still rings true. And 25 years later, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people are still waiting for substantive change to take place.


January 7, 2020


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

8 Ways to champion Human Rights

Toronto Star – Toronto Star identified eight ways that Canada can champion human rights in the 2020s, including the following:

  • First step is to adopt overdue legislation making the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Canada’s framework for rights and reconciliation. And to show we truly mean it:
    • address mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows First Nation,
    • halt construction of the Site C dam in NE British Columbia and
    • redress years of discrimination against First Nations children
  • Second, the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has been released. Now is time to create a National Action Plan to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People, harmonized with a wider National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.

In addition, two of the other 8 issues by default include Indigenous populations:

  • we are beginning to shake off the smug denial that racism is a concern in Canada. We need to move from anguished hand-wringing to meaningful action. Governments across the country should work to address racism in policing, beginning with consistent laws to ban carding and random street checks.
  • Naming the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise last April may help address human rights abuses by Canadian mining and other companies when they operate abroad. But that will remain an empty gesture unless the federal government grants her office the powers to conduct effective investigations. (This impacts Indigenous peoples in other countries where Canadian mining companies operate)

That’s 50% of 8 recommendations!


June 15, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

AFN/Canada Race Race Relations Foundation poll

Assembly of First Nations – Thirteen years after the Government of Canada offered a formal apology to the survivors of the residential school system and families, 68 percent of Canadians polled still say they were either unaware of the severity of abuses at residential schools or completely shocked by it.

A poll conducted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the Assembly of First Nations and Abacus Data shows that the majority of Canadians believe governments are not doing enough to teach students about the legacy of the residential school system. “The results of the survey expose glaring gaps of knowledge and education related to Canada’s history and renew calls to re-examine questions around who should be held accountable.

  • 93 percent of Canadians are aware of the discovery of remains at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, with 58 percent Canadians following the news closely.
  • This is a slight increase (seven percent) in the number of Canadians who were closely following the news on the legacy of residential schools upon the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, nearly six years ago.
  • Despite 72 percent of Canadians being saddened by the news of the mass grave, only 10 percent of Canadians are very familiar with the history of the residential school system
  • 62 percent of Canadians believe that provincial education curricula do not include nearly enough about residential schools,
  • 65 percent believe the level of education around residential schools should increase.
  • 70 percent of survey respondents say that the framing of residential schools has been downplayed in the education system.

The majority of Canadians are unequivocal about whom should take responsibility for the damage done by the residential school system:

  • Ninety percent of respondents believe that the federal government is liable for the damage caused by residential schools, followed by the Catholic Church (81 percent) and the RCMP (80 percent).
  • Four out of five Canadians would like to see the Pope formally apologize to the survivors of residential schools. Nearly as many want the federal government to offer more funding to identify other possible mass graves at all residential school sites.

“By margins of greater than three to one, Canadians are telling us they want action on First Nations priorities,” added AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “People want to see Canada accelerate progress on the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, invest in efforts to identify all unmarked graves at residential schools, and to stop fighting against our children and residential school survivors in court. Decisionmakers at all levels must heed these calls for action. These are some of the ways we can truly honour the lives of those who were so tragically lost.”


February 3, 2020


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

CTV News – People from a Manitoba First Nation destroyed by flooding nearly nine years ago met in Winnipeg on Monday after a federal court upheld a decision by the federal government last week to end benefits for evacuees still waiting to go home Chief Adrian Sinclair has expressed concern some people, who have been temporarily living in Winnipeg since severe flooding displaced around 1,400 people, could end up homeless with evacuation benefits coming to an end.

The federal government said Monday, financial support is ending because there’s more housing now than before the flood.
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November 7, 2019


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

Government of Canada – announcement by the Government of Canada to cut off funding for emergency aid to residents of Lake St. Martin First Nation in Manitoba on Dec. 31. 2019 with the expectation that new housing stock – needed due to the massive 2011 flood – will be finished by then to accommodate all evacuees. Lake St. Martin Chief Adrian Sinclair says the recent storm, and other factors have delayed the completion of houses on the First Nation.

When a massive flood hit Manitoba, the Government of Manitoba decided to divert water to Lake St. Martin in order to protect cottage, and agricultural properties on other bodies of water. As a result, all the housing at Lake St. Martin First Nation was destroyed. As of 2014, the approximately 1,900 flood evacuees are still displaced (Wikipedia).


November 6, 2019


First Nations

Cutting emergency funding to evacuated First Nation

Nov. 6, 2019 – While some have returned to newly constructed houses, 991 people are still waiting for a place to live, 400 of them children. (CTV)


February 26, 2018


Métis

Failure to attend Métis Nation Health Forum

Manitoba Métis Federation – MMF is frustrated and disappointed by the lack of representation from the Province of Manitoba at a national Métis Nation Health Forum and the message that sends to the Métis Nation. A first ever Metis Nation Health Forum was held in Ottawa on February 26, 2018. The Forum brought together over one hundred participants including Métis Nation leaders, officials and staff, government guests from a range of departments and agencies and other health collaborators. Part of the discussion included a review of the MMF-commissioned report Profile of Métis Health Status and Healthcare Utilization in Manitoba: A Population-Based Study. The report was created in 2010 to identify the key health issues facing Manitoba’s Métis Citizens.


April 17, 2019


Métis

Government of Manitoba cancels self-government negotiations

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) – MMF received a letter from the Pallister government cancelling the province’s support for self-government negotiations between Manitoba, Canada, and the MMF. This cancellation is one of several such notices sent from the province in the last year to the Manitoba Métis Government, the MMF. Since 1987, the Federal Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, and the Manitoba Métis Government have been working through the tripartite negotiation process. Pallister’s recent decision to cut the support represents a significant shift from the long-standing process that ensured an avenue for government-to-government conversations between the Manitoba Métis and the two levels of government. “They have no interest in the rights of the Métis People.

“They have no respect for the Métis Nation as rights-bearing Aboriginal People. There is no relationship between the province and the MMF”. MMF President David Chartrand


April 22, 2022


Manitoba government fails to implement Path to Reconciliation Act: Auditor-Genneral

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs: Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues this statement in response to the Auditor General’s Report regarding Manitoba’s failure to take meaningful action to implement the Path to Reconciliation Act passed in 2016.

Following the release of the 94 Calls to Action in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for all levels of government to immediately act in remedying the pervasive discrimination and structural violence that continues to stifle First Nations inherent rights, the Manitoba Legislature unanimously passed the Path to Reconciliation Act in 2016 as a local remedy to enact their commitment to honour the distinct needs of First Nations in the province. Unfortunately, measures to apply the full scope of this Act have not evolved in any meaningful way under Manitoba’s current administration.

Acting Grand Chief Cornell McLean, Lake Manitoba First Nation stated, “The AMC is acutely aware of Manitoba’s failure to take meaningful action on a path to reconciliation. In the past year, during this unprecedented crisis with the pandemic, First Nations people have experienced increased hardship as a result of Manitoba’s failure to honour the spirit and intent of its own reconciliation agreements by failing to engage in meaningful consultation with First Nations people on pressing matters which impact their well-being.”

The Auditor General’s Report highlights 5 key recommendations that Manitoba should take to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to reconciliation. These include:

  • taking action to develop an immediate strategy to fulfill its commitment to reconciliation;
  • to engage all First Nations, Metis and Inuit sectors of government and citizens to implement the four principles of respect, engagement, understanding and union pertaining to nation-to-nation relations;
  • to enlist the support of the Civil Service Commission to provide needed training to public servants on key legislation that protects First Nations; and,
  • to provide translations of annual reporting on its progress in all 7 key languages in the region.

“The AMC has routinely requested that the Province of Manitoba engage First Nations in consultation long before developing or amending any policies or legislation that impacts First Nations citizens, and they routinely ignore these requests” continued Acting Grand Chief McLean.

In 2020, the Province of Manitoba introduced and passed the Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act (BITSA) which included sections that legalized the theft of $338 million of Children’s Special Allowance funds from First Nations children and youth in care of the provincial child and family services system and prevents those impacted from seeking legal action against Manitoba. Advocacy and demonstrations undertaken by the AMC to withdraw this violent legislation were ignored.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another example of many that demonstrates the provincial governments lack of commitment to implement the full scope of the Path to Reconciliation Act, and lack of efforts to engage in meaningful collaboration with First Nations” concluded Acting Grand Chief McLean.

https://www.oag.mb.ca/audit-reports/report/manitobas-implementation-of-the-path-to-reconciliation-act/


March 5, 2018


Métis

Manitoba Government vs Manitiba Métis Federation

Refusing to invite the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) to comprehensive discussions to develop a provincial mineral development protocol to advance mineral development opportunities and projects on Indigenous territories. “This Provincial Government continues to disrespect the Métis Nation’s claims, rights and interests,” added President Chartr and. “Here is a clear example that the mining impacts on the Métis people – social, economic, and environmental – do not matter to this government.” “Manitoba is still using obsolete 1960s policies and they believe they can do whatever they want to the Métis Nation.


March 4, 2022


Métis

MMF Lawsuit against Manitoba Government breaking Manitoba Hydro contract

Manitoba Métis Federation: The Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear the Manitoba Métis Federation’s (MMF) appeal of the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s (MBCA) decision in Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. v Brian Pallister et al. Important issues raised by the MMF remain to be decided by the courts, and the Crown’s duty to consult with and accommodate the Manitoba Métis on significant Hydro projects remains unfulfilled.

This MMF-Manitoba Hydro agreement was intended to address the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult with and accommodate the Manitoba Métis regarding certain Manitoba Hydro projects. After the Pallister government directed Manitoba Hydro not to honour its agreement with the MMF and had repeatedly refused to meet with the leadership of Manitoba Hydro to discuss important issues, nine of 10 members of the Manitoba Hydro board of directors resigned.

Despite this mass resignation, Premier Pallister denied that his government had done anything wrong and denied that the honour of the Crown applied in any way to his government’s decisions, despite the obvious and direct effects on the Manitoba Métis.

The MBCA ultimately determined that the honour of the Crown did apply to the Pallister government’s decision to direct Manitoba Hydro on how to treat the MMF. However, the Court concluded that the decision did not breach the honour of the Crown, even though the Pallister government did not follow the terms of the dispute resolution process the parties had previously agreed to.

The Court recognized that while the Pallister government could direct Manitoba Hydro not to honour its specific agreement with the MMF, the Crown still had a constitutional duty to consult with and accommodate the Manitoba Métis, and the Pallister government’s direction “did not preclude” a future agreement addressing these obligations.

The MMF sought to appeal this MBCA decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to hear the MMF’s appeal. Despite this, the MMF had previously commenced separate civil litigation in respect of the Pallister government’s termination of the agreement between Manitoba, the MMF and Manitoba Hydro, amongst other matters. In declining to enjoin that termination, Chief Justice Glenn D. Joyal, of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench emphasized that the duty to consult and accommodate would continue. MMF’s litigation includes a claim for damages and related relief, and raises important issues that are not affected by today’s ruling. The case will be dealt with by the Manitoba courts.


May 7, 2021


Métis

MMF Lawsuit against Manitoba Government breaking Manitoba Hydro contract

Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) – The Manitoba of Appeal ruled against the MMF legal challenge to the Pallister Government’s March 21, 2018 decision to stop Manitoba Hydro from honouring a July 2017 Agreement made between Manitoba Hydro and the MMF, which was negotiated bilaterally under a framework put in place through the Kwaysh-kin-na-mihk la paazh Agreement (in English, the Turning the Page Agreement or TPA). The TPA is a historic agreement signed between the MMF, Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro in 2014 that set out a new way forward to finally address Métis rights and the impacts of Manitoba Hydro’s projects on Métis lands and way of life.

The July 2017 Agreement dealt with several specific Manitoba Hydro projects and would have provided $67.5 million in compensation for the infringement of Métis rights, as well as other accommodation measures. In March 2017, nine of 10 members of the Manitoba Hydro board of directors resigned after Premier Pallister repeatedly refused to meet with the leadership of Manitoba Hydro to discuss important issues.
While the MBCA overturned the lower-court decision issued by Chief Justice Joyal, who had concluded that the honour of the Crown did not apply to the TPA or the July 2017 Agreement, the appeal court went on to conclude that Manitoba’s actions in March 2017 did not breach the honour of the Crown, even though Manitoba did not follow the terms of the dispute resolution process in the TPA.

“If the honour of the Crown doesn’t even require governments to honour the processes it agreed to in negotiated agreements with Indigenous peoples, it’s just hollow words then,” said MMF President David Chartrand.

President Chartrand added, “At the very least, the honour of the Crown must require governments to follow the processes it commits to with Indigenous people. Manitoba didn’t do this and the MBCA has turned a blind eye to Manitoba’s duplicity. This is why we will be seeking leave to appeal on this case to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

President Chartrand also warned other Indigenous peoples and companies in Manitoba with agreements with any of Manitoba’s Crown corporations that if this can happen to the MMF, the Pallister Government can now reach in and cancel other agreements at any time. The highest court in Manitoba has now made independent Manitoba Crown corporations vulnerable to unilateral action by the Pallister Government and future governments based on its interpretation of the directive power in the The Crown Corporations Governance and Accountability Act.


September 14, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Native Women’s Association of Canada Political Party Report Card

NDP

Liberal Green Conservative Bloc Québecois

A

B

B

D

D

Rights of Indigenous Women & MMIWG2S

4

5 5 2

1

Self Determination & Decision-Making

5

5 5 4

5

Reconciliation & residential Schools

5

3 4 3

3

Environment & Climate Change

5

4 4 1

1

Clean Drinking Water & Public Services

5

5 3 3

2

Housing

4

5 4 2

1

Child Welfare

5

4 4 1

1

Justice and Policing

5

2 4 2

1

Employment and Econ. Dev.

4

3 1 4

2

Education

5

4 3 1

1

Health Care

5

5 4 3

1

TOTAL SCORE

52

45 41 26

19


September 14, 2021


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Native Women’s Association of Canada Political Party Report Card

Native Women’s Association of Canada – NWAC commissioned Nanos Research to compare the parties’ platforms with the 11 policy issues NWAC determined to be of primary importance. Those policy issues include:

  • human rights
  • self-determination
  • reconciliation
  • environment
  • clean water
  • housing
  • child welfare
  • justice and policing
  • employment and
  • economic development, and
  • health care.

The result is a 79-page document called SCORECARD: Where do the federal parties stand on Indigenous women’s issues:

  • First: NDP – A (52 points)
  • Second: Liberal – B (45 points)
  • Third: Green – B (41 points)
  • Fourth: Conservatives – D (26 points)
  • Fifth: Bloc Québecois – D (19 points)

https://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/NWAC_SCORECARD.pdf


July 11, 2019


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

The Council of The Federation, bi-annual meetings of the Federal, Provincial and Territory Premiers

Refusal to allow leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, the Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and the Native Woman’s Association of Canada to participate in the main body of meetings with a primary focus on climate change within each jurisdiction. As has been noted by numerous media, Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of climate change, especially in the north.

Multiple articles in UNDRIP explicitly address the rights of Indigenous peoples “to free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them” (Article 19) as well other fundamental rights relating to treaties and land claims, spiritual relationship “to lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources (Article 25)”,and “the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources (Article 29).

Articles 1, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 37, 40, 42, 46

Fully and completely honor the commitment to UNDRIP specifically and “Reconciliation” in general. Develop and implement the logistical framework and protocols to allow the leadership of the designated national Indigenous organizations – AFN, Métis National Council, Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and Native Women’s Association of Canada) to participate in all agenda items that directly impact Indigenous peoples.
https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf


July 9, 2019


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada

Upstream – Failure to reduce the level of poverty among Indigenous children. Tracking Indigenous child poverty and non-Indigenous child poverty trends between Census 2006 and Census 2016, it’s clear that these differences have not markedly changed over that 10-year period. “Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada” co-authored by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and published by Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society says First Nations children experience the highest levels of poverty in Canada.

The following straightforward recommendations should be included in the federal government’s poverty reduction plan:

  • Low-income lines, including the Market Basket Measure (MBM) and the after-tax Low Income Measure (LIM-AT), should be applied on reserves and in the territories;
  • Reserves, conditional upon the agreement of First Nations governments, should be included in annual income surveys, as has already begun to occur in the territories;
  • The federal government should commit to a 20% reduction in MBM poverty on reserves between 2015 and 2020 and 50% reduction between 2015 and 2030.16 This is in line with the national goals, but should be evaluated separately for reserves;
  • The federal government should commit to supporting self-determination, both financially and jurisdictionally, with an emphasis on revenue sharing.

https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Upstream_report_final_English_June-24-2019.pdf


December 15, 2020


First Nations, Inuit, Métis

TRC Commissioners comments about pace of Reconciliation

APTN – The three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild, and Dr. Marie Wilson, are issuing a public statement expressing their concern about the slow and uneven pace of implementation of the Calls to Action released by the TRC five years ago today… While they acknowledge important and encouraging initiatives that have been made, they note that the essential foundations for reconciliation have yet to be implemented, despite government commitments, especially the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and the National Council for Reconciliation The three Commissioners have come together for the first time since the release of TRC’s final report because they feel strongly that the sense of urgency, purpose and unity around the Calls to Action must be renewed.

“Five years ago today, we delivered a report, and 94 Calls to Action, that we hoped would change the fabric of Canada forever, and bring forward important changes in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. We’ve seen some promising changes like new curriculum and courses that teach the history of Residential Schools in Canada. However, it is very concerning that the federal government still does not have a tangible plan for how they will work towards implementing the Calls to Action,” said Senator Murray Sinclair.