Urban Commitments to Reconciliation: Current Problems

Individual Municipal Issues

April 21, 2023


‘A wicked web of lies’: Alberta town under fire for rejecting wellness centre for Indigenous families

Earlier this year, the Town of Bashaw, its mayor, past and present councilors were sued by Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc.
Earlier this year, the Town of Bashaw, its mayor, past and present councilors were sued by Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc. The Town of Bashaw / Facebook

NationTalk: Global News – The town of Bashaw in central Alberta is facing a $4 million lawsuit launched by Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc. against the mayor and past and current councilors, alleging they obstructed efforts to rent the facility out as a wellness centre for Indigenous families.

In a statement of claim filed in late February, Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc. plaintiffs James Carpenter and Dr. Tony Mucciarone – both non-Indigenous – claimed “misuse of power rooted in prejudice” that made the Bear Hills Family Wellness Centre project impossible. The Town filed their statement of defense on April 13, saying “the town denies each and every allegation in the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim unless otherwise stated,” and denies “this matter involves a misuse of power rooted in prejudice.”

Bashaw has not responded to Global News’ requests for comment. None of the claims have been proven in court.

The lawsuit centers around a retreat centre at 5430 51A St. the plaintiffs planned to rent to Maskwacis — a First Nations community made up of Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and Montana First Nation — for use as a wellness centre for Indigenous families. Bashaw is about 60 kilometres southeast of Maskwacis, near Red Deer.

Phillip Millar, legal council for Carpenter and Mucciarone, said while the four First Nations are not involved in the lawsuit, they’ve voiced support.

In a statement read to town council on June 14, 2022 Louis Bull Coun. Wayne Moonias, said “our experience has been unpleasant to say the least, our messages have been deflected and met with indifference … (the building) has been approved by (Bashaw) for a senior’s lodge, event center, festival center, retreat center and various congregate living. “We are no different than these types of uses.”

He went on to say repeated requests for information by the town council have “infringed on our sacred way and forced us to exploit our culture as though it were a simple, medical procedure of sorts.”

Prior to the pandemic, the former Bashaw Valley Lodge facility was used as an event and wedding venue, but when COVID-19 shuttered everything, Maskwacis began talks with Carpenter and Mucciarone to see about using the facility as a family wellness centre. Carpenter and Mucciarone sought a letter of support from town council, which started a process of “bureaucratic hoop jumping” Carpenter told Global News.

They say the town’s CAO told them to submit an application  for a change of use — they didn’t understand why as the facility had been used for a variety of things in the past but submitted the application in May 2021 which triggered repeated requests for more information. The town’s statement of defence reads “the change of use was required to comply with the Land Use Bylaw 780-2018.”

At a council meeting a month later, the East Central Alberta Review reported that Carpenter expressed concern that the delays were because of  “the colour of one’s skin,” and “… if this wasn’t First Nations I don’t believe we would even be at this discussion right now.”

They went back to the drawing board and did community consultation. “We did three open houses, three Facebook lives; we put a three page flyer in every mailbox in town and then we actually knocked on every single door,” Carpenter said.

A second application was submitted on Jan. 10, 2022 which was deemed incomplete and the town asked for more information eight times. That application was deemed complete on May 3, 2022 but another request for more information was issued 17 days later.

“Bear Hill’s Family Wellness Centre was a 900-page document that was submitted. So in other words, the town council knew what the program was … 100 per cent, town council knew exactly what we were doing there,” said Carpenter at a news conference earlier this year. The town’s statement of defence reads “The town denies that it forced the plaintiff to submit hundreds of pages of information. The town also denies that its requests for supporting documentation were definitively answered by the plaintiff.”

Eventually town council unanimously defeated the application on Aug. 30, 2022.

A large facility with beige siding and a ramp entrance has a small windmill out front.
Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc. was an event and wedding venue before the pandemic hit. 5430 51A Street / realtor.ca
Application rejected

The town cited six reasons including that “the applicant has not provided a clear understanding of what is proposed to occur in the facility” and “the proposed location directly adjacent to the residential community and in close proximity to the local school would unduly impact the use and enjoyment of the adjacent properties.”

Carpenter believes the community soured on the idea because the word “rehabilitation” was used in the first application and they assumed it was for an addictions facility. “We (originally) called it Young Spirit Winds because that was one of the programs (Maskwacis) had, and it was the same team that wanted to do a family wellness centre,” he said. Young Spirit Winds is a day treatment program.

At a news conference earlier this year Carpenter tried to clarify use of the word “rehab.” “Never, ever, ever, ever were intoxicated individuals coming here or people on drugs or anything,” he said. “These were people that wanted to come together and reconnect with their heritage and their culture, their spiritual, their elders, their family lives to build and grow and to help their children and nurture their families.”

When Moonias attended a town council meeting last year, he tried to clarify as well, saying in his statement “the Western terms have become a way to make ‘treatment’ or ‘rehabilitation’ words of disgrace, have a negative impact and form judgment to look down upon those with addiction issues or in need of mental health help.”

He pointed out Maskwacis already had addictions services and the proposed facility would be “for overall wellness and to be a culturally based program for families to improve wellness.”

But it went nowhere. “It’s a wicked web of lies, roadblocks and everything else,” Carpenter said.

‘Prejudice and discrimination’

The statement of claim alleges “when the Bashaw town council learned of the plaintiff’s intent to involve First Nations clientele, the defendants actively sought to obstruct the business venture and engaged in a pattern of dealing, based on prejudice and discrimination to prevent the use of the facility by Indigenous clientele.”

The lawsuit names the current Bashaw Mayor Robert McDonald and both present and former councillors.

One of the former councilors named is Lynn Schultz, who according to local media reports, during a council meeting rejected the idea of adopting a land acknowledgement saying “I don’t really care what people think if I’m racist. I’m not … I don’t think recognizing that this was once Aboriginal ground is a way to move forward.”

In that same council meeting, local media quoted former Bashaw deputy mayor Rosella Peterman defending residential schools saying “We have a number of friends who went to residential schools who said those were the happiest years of their lives,” she continued. “(Indigenous people) weren’t ripped from their families in this case. They were large families that couldn’t look after their children … we get fed one picture all of the time and that isn’t the only picture.”

Carpenter and Mucciarone have given up on the plans for Bear Hills Family Wellness Centre and the property is currently listed for sale priced at $1.35 million.

A town divided

Bashaw resident Jan Wells said she was disappointed to see the project die. “It would have put Bashaw on the map for a good reason rather than where it is sitting now for a bad reason,” she said. “A lot of the people in town, they only heard what they wanted to hear … they had these preconceived notions.”

Wells believes the majority of Bashaw’s 800 residents are glad the project didn’t go through. “It’s a very cliquey town, you either fit in or you don’t and to bring in a centre like this, would be on the wrong spectrum for most folks … ‘You’re not going to bring those people in to our town,’ you know?’”

She runs a home-based business and said after making supportive comments on social media, was called into a store that sells her products and asked to remove them. “That’s just how things are in town now,” she said.

A letter to the editor posted in the East Central Alberta Review, by resident Margaret Baier, said “I have lived in or around Bashaw for 43 years and found this community welcoming, caring and tolerant … media coverage emphasizes this situation as a racial issue but I do not believe that is at all true.”

On a public Facebook post about the lawsuit, a resident said “I’m all for supporting mental health and supporting others to get better but not at the risk of our youth. Find another building, our town council made the right call.” In an interview with Global News, Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc.’s lawyer said “I think a lot of their defence is saying they just had discretion … OK discretion of what?”

Adding, “We’re going to move as soon as possible to book questioning, hopefully we can get our documents together and get something moving within three months. I know the citizens want something and communities want something.”

September 14, 2022


Advancing the TRC Calls to Action

Women Transforming Cities: Delegates to the 2022 Convention were presented with highlights on the progress local governments have made in advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action at a clinic earlier today.

Speakers from Women Transforming Cities identified that 54% of surveyed municipalities have made progress on less than three calls to action; common barriers include:

  • limited staff capacity
  • lack of funding
  • lack of knowledge and education; and
  • that small towns are most challenged to make progress. 

In discussing misconceptions about the calls to action, delegates were reminded that this is the work that we’ve all been asked to do by Indigenous communities. “The calls to action empower and create permission to do more work and take ownership,” said Clara Prager, TRC Project Lead.

Councillor Wark from the District of Chetwynd provided local examples of their reconciliation work.  “Reconciliation is an ongoing effort,” said Wark and she encouraged delegates to focus on communication.  “There are so many opportunities for local governments and First Nations to work together.”

Patience is the key recommendation from Barclay Pitkethly, Deputy CAO with the District of Mission.  He provided an example of a ten-year land transfer process that will provide tremendous benefit for both the Indigenous communities and the local government.

May 8, 2023


City of St. Albert publishes report of racist comments residents made during naming discussions

‘This is not the St. Albert I know,’ Mayor Cathy Heron say

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

St. Albert Place is seen in winter.
The City of St. Albert has published a report of racist and discriminatory comments residents made during public engagement on its recent municipal naming project. (Peter Evans/CBC)

CBC News: Consultants who ran public engagement sessions on municipal naming in St. Albert, Alta., last year say the project drew an unprecedented level of discriminatory, racist and threatening comments from a small but vocal minority of residents.

The City of St. Albert decided to re-examine its naming process in 2021, after receiving requests to remove the Grandin name from streets and municipal assets. 

Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin was a proponent and architect of the residential school system. Since the discovery of suspected unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in 2021, numerous school boards, including Catholic boards in St. Albert and Edmonton, have voted to remove his name from schools.

Consultants hired by the city to conduct public engagement on municipal naming wrote a report on public feedback. At the urging of focus group members, they also produced a second report that contained discriminatory comments received during the engagement. The consultants gave the racism report to the city’s executive leadership in December. 

Teneya Gwin of Eleven Eleven Consulting focused on Indigenous engagement during the project and Blaise Fontaine of Proactive Planning focused on public engagement. Both women said the majority of St. Albert residents’ feedback was respectful during engagement sessions, but the racism and discrimination generated by about 10 per cent of respondents was unlike anything they had ever encountered.

“I’ve never experienced this type of racism and discrimination in any community,” said Gwin, who has been doing community engagement work across Alberta for 16 years.

Fontaine said racism expressed during the project discouraged people from participating in some sessions, made some Indigenous people feel unsafe and caused tremendous hurt in the community.  “Our team really did hope that by sharing this report with leadership, with council, that changes would be made internally at the city and programming would be initiated and a greater public engagement process would take place for how to restore safety in the city,” Fontaine said.

She said the city has an opportunity to acknowledge the issue and take restorative action. Focus group member Krista Osborne, a therapist and social worker in St. Albert, said she wants city council to understand the consequences of the public engagement project. “You have to be very careful about the dangers that can pose to the community,” she said. 

St. Albert seen from above.
Consultants held a cariety of focus group and engagement sessions for people interested in discussing municipal naming in St. Albert. (David Bajer/CBC)
Report recently published

CBC News requested a copy of the then-confidential Municipal Naming Project Racism, Harassment and Discrimination Summary report in March but the city said it was not in a position to release any details from it. “Due to the nature of some of the comments, there is a real risk that releasing it could cause harm, both from a psychological and emotional perspective,” communications director Paul Pearson said in an email at the time.

After CBC filed a freedom of information request for the report, the city’s FOIP head said the report would be publicly available on or before May 7. On Sunday, the city published the 45-page report on its website, with a content warning saying it had determined there was no valid legal reason not to disclose it.

“When I learned of the hurtful comments we received from some members of the community, I was sad, appalled and extremely disappointed,” Mayor Cathy Heron said in a news release Monday morning. “This is not the St. Albert I know.” She said the city recognizes there is work to be done to make the city more inclusive.

Multiple residents’ comments included in the report use slurs and stereotypes to refer to Indigenous people and deny or question the fact that abuse occurred at residential schools.

One resident said in an email to project organizers that Indigenous people “were conquered by a technologically and culturally superior people” and because children were undisciplined before entering the schools they interpreted discipline as abuse.

Others insulted the people in charge of the project. “You are mentally damaged children, full of pharmaceuticals and postmodernism,” wrote one resident, who was responding to a draft policy survey. The report said despite the project team’s efforts to communicate that this type of feedback would not be tolerated, “these residents persisted either due to pure ignorance or uncontrollable desires to express hatred.”

Arden Theatre event

Fontaine said at an engagement event at the Arden Theatre last November, audience members were yelling, insulting the event organizers and refusing to stop recording the session on their phones. 

Corina Morin Hollingworth, a former St. Albert resident who attended the event with her husband and daughter, said attendees questioned the realities of residential schools, suggesting Indigenous people were making up stories to receive money from the government. “That was the first time in a long time in my life where I felt, whoa, I don’t know if I’m going to be safe here,” she said.

Hollingworth said she could feel hatred for her identity in the room — she is a member of the Enoch Cree Nation whose parents attended residential schools. She said those schools, which were designed to assimilate children, had painful, intergenerational effects on her family and others.  She said the city should create an Indigenous department in response to the racism and discrimination report.

Fontaine said she and her colleagues had planned to have a public open house with draft policy sections for residents to comment on, but because of how the Arden event unfolded and safety concerns, they didn’t hold any more in-person public events. Instead, they made a video about the draft policy and asked residents to comment on it through a survey.

New naming policy 

St. Albert’s standing committee of the whole is scheduled to discuss the draft naming policy on Tuesday. The draft policy, written by Proactive Planning’s Russ Leedham, says commemorative names should be used only on rare occasions and names should not be discriminatory or reference a harm-causing person or practice.

Residents or people with substantial connections to St. Albert can apply to remove or rename a municipal asset and the city’s naming committee will determine whether to recommend removal to council.  “As difficult as this project was and some of the things that came out of it, there are some positives that we can lean into and really celebrate,” Gwin said.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support for survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour service at 1-866-925-4419.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Madeleine Cummings


Madeleine Cummings is a reporter with CBC Edmonton. She covers local news for CBC Edmonton’s web, radio and TV platforms. You can reach her at madeleine.cummings@cbc.ca.

February 27, 2023


Lawsuit claims racism from an Alberta town made approved wellness centre impossible to realize

“…an apology isn’t going to cut it.” — Phillip Millar, legal counsel

A seniors lodge with its 38 rooms in Bashaw, Alta. was to be converted into a residential care facility for First Nations, but owners of the facility allege that town council frustrated development because of racial prejudice.

First Peoples Law Report: Windspeaker.com – Legal action initiated against the central Alberta town of Bashaw claims that “racial prejudice” made the approval of a wellness centre that would serve Maskwacis members impossible to be realized.

James Carpenter and Dr. Tony Mucciarone, partners in the Bashaw Retreat Centre Inc., filed their statement of claim in the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta Feb. 27 in Wetaskiwin. The statement names current Bashaw Mayor Rob McDonald and both present and former councillors. While Maskwacis is not part of the legal action, many conversations with the four First Nations that comprise Maskwacis occurred and they are supportive of the action being taken, says Phillip Millar, legal counsel for Carpenter and Mucciarone.

Carpenter and Mucciarone are asking for more than $4 million in compensation for economic losses after two years of being unable to fulfill the demands put before them by Bashaw council. “This is a way to give voice to how this discrimination exists,” Millar told Windspeaker.com.

“The allegations are serious and it’s because, I think, the timing has never been better to actually stand up for what is right…Racism isn’t always in your face. We’re just in a situation where we actually have some evidence of people who are decision makers expressing prejudicial views about projects that’s given us the ability to finally try to shed some light on the way prejudice and racism can be implemented behind the cloak of politeness and protocol,” said Millar in a news conference held in Calgary.

The alleged discussions took place behind closed doors, “but everybody knows what happened here,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter and Mucciarone were joined by Russel Burns, advocate and First Nations consultant on the project, and Elder Charlene Burns, advocate for women, mothers and families supporting the project. “Words of such hate. This is what racism is. We don’t need that, and with a town of 800 and four churches…Something has to give there,” said Russel Burns. “It saddens me. In fact, I get emotional to think the racism is so blatant in this day and age when we are supposed to live the diversity among people. And yet you see something like this,” said Charlene Burns.

In May 2021, Bashaw Retreat Centre decided to change the renovated seniors lodge with its 38 rooms into a residential care facility for First Nations. Acquiring the existing building was easier than accessing capital funding to build a new facility, said Carpenter.

The location was ideal, he added, with Bashaw’s proximity to the residents of Maskwacis and the facility being located on five acres on Treaty 6 territory.

Maskwacis members could go outside of their community to build relationships with their families at the facility, get the supports they needed, Carpenter said, and then return home stronger. Those supports would be provided and developed by First Nations. “Bashaw was chosen because the First Nations found willing partners that would stand with them and walk the journey and navigate a non-Indigenous world that we’ve now learned is nothing short of a bunch of pitfalls and obstacles and disappointments,” said Carpenter.

According to the statement of claim, the development permit for a seniors centre had been approved by town council in 2017.

However, in May 2021, despite the residential care facility being defined in the same way as a seniors lodge by the land-use bylaw, council asked Bashaw Retreat Centre to apply for a new permit, which they did that same month. On June 8 that year, the application was deemed incomplete. A second application was submitted a month later and was also deemed incomplete. From that point forward to May 20, 2022, the applicants were continuously asked to provide more information. They responded each time but then eventually on Aug. 30 last year, the second application was reconsidered and denied due to yet more information being required.

Council, both past and present members, “treated the plaintiffs with hostility and never sought to meet or assist the plaintiffs or the Chiefs of the four Nations of Maskwacis, despite numerous requests,” reads the statement of claim. Further, the statement says that town council did not approve the second application because they viewed the Maskwacis “as problematic”; that the “further presence of the Maskwacis would devalue residential property values”; and that members would “do ‘terrible things’ in the town.”

According to the legal action, town council has “engaged in a pattern of dealing amounting to civil conspiracy, defamation against the nearby First Nations group, public malfeasance, and/or fraudulent misrepresentations.”

None of these allegations have yet been tested in court.

Bashaw Retreat Centre lost business and opportunities and incurred various expenses approximating $2.5 million, they contend. As well, the value of the facility has deteriorated approximately $1.5 million. As a remedy, Bashaw Retreat Centre is not asking for town council to apologize to Maskwacis.

Millar says it’s not his place to ask for action for Maskwacis. But he also adds that “people are tired of apologies.” “We’ve had too many apologies and you know, for me, an apology isn’t going to cut it. We don’t need that. We need action. We need something that’s going to be different. We need to let people know…(that) this kind of blatant racism, this is where it ends. It’s really sad that we have to go through this route to address this,” said Charlene Burns. “There’s no choice other than this action.”

In response to Windspeaker.com, Theresa Fuller, chief administrative officer with Bashaw, said in an email, “The town has not been served, we have no comment at this time.”

By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

March 16, 2023


Measuring Realities of Racism in Northern Ontario

Nationtalk: While racism and discrimination are still prevalent in Northern Ontario, the latest reports by Northern Policy Institute in partnership with Environics Research show that, for the most part, northern communities are welcoming.

In February 2022, Northern Policy Institute and organizations across Northern Ontario launched a data-collection exercise to measure individual experiences and attitudes across the regions. The reports with those findings, “Tangled Lines: Unraveling the Racism and Discrimination Divides in Northern Ontario,” are now available. Each report focuses on one of the five largest centres in Northern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Greater Sudbury.

The majority of residents who responded to the survey stated that, not only is their community welcoming, but that these welcoming efforts will continue over the next 10 years. As well, most respondents in the five communities, save for Thunder Bay (responses were split), indicated that relations between people of different racial backgrounds were generally good.

However, while findings varied between the five communities, there were several noted areas of concern that were shared, such as: individual prejudice was found to be a bigger issue for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples compared to discrimination built into laws and institutions. Furthermore, when compared to treatment of white people at work, school, public places and in dealing with police and the courts, the experiences of visible minorities and Indigenous peoples differed. Notably, treatment for Indigenous
peoples was relatively more negative, even compared to visible minorities.

“These reports, alongside the numerous initiatives that focus on anti-racism and discrimination, are crucial for keeping communities accountable,” says Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO of Northern Policy Institute. “By tracking attitudes over time, we can measure the effectiveness of anti-racism and discrimination efforts.”

Based on the findings, the reports provide several recommendations:

1. Continue public education about racism and discrimination in all spaces;
2. Identify who is not around the decision-making table and why; and,
3. Spotlight best practices and implement where possible.

Follow the link to read the reports:https://www.northernpolicy.ca/racism-survey- summary-2022


Media Interviews: NPI President & CEO Charles Cirtwill and NPI Senior Policy Analyst
Mercedes Labelle are available for comment. To arrange an interview, please contact:

Lalit Bhojwani
Media and Marketing Officer
807-343-8956 ext. 508

About the Author:
Rachel Rizzuto is the former Research Manager for Northern Policy Institute. Originally from the United States, Rachel attended the University of Guelph and the University of
Waterloo, earning her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. (co-op) in Political Science, respectively. Throughout her academic and professional careers, Rachel has pursued the study of
community and economic development, an enthusiasm borne out of travel throughout rural and urban China. Rachel provides research expertise and passion for seeing
northern and rural communities thrive.

About Northern Policy Institute:

Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent, evidence-driven think tank. We perform research, analyze data, and disseminate ideas. Our mission is to enhance
Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socio-economic policy that impacts our communities, our province, our country, and our world.

We believe in partnership, reconciliation, collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Our team seeks to do inclusive research that involves broad engagement and delivers recommendations for specific, measurable action. Our success depends on our partnerships with other entities present in or passionate about Northern Ontario.

Based in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Kirkland Lake, NPI is active in every region of Northern Ontario. During the summer months, we have satellite offices in communities
across Northern Ontario staffed by teams of Experience North placements. These placements are university and college students working in your community on issues
important to you and your neighbours.

About Environics Research:

At Environics Research, our unique understanding of motivations, attitudes and behaviours allows us to work with clients to help them form solutions. Utilizing a range of
well thought out frameworks, we not only collect, organize and simplify information, but also provide relevant insights that our clients can act on.

North Bay


Sault Ste. Marie




Thunder Bay




June 15, 2020

City of Montreal

Report on Systemic Discrimination in Montreal

The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) makes public today the “Report on the public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination” within Montréal jurisdiction.“ The analysis of the documentation provided and accounts heard lead the commission to conclude that the lack of formal recognition of the systemic nature of the racism and discrimination victimizing racialized groups and indigenous peoples prevents the City from equipping itself with the necessary tools to really tackle the problem,” says OCPM president Dominique Ollivier.

The commission outlines 11 findings and 38 recommendations to guide the decisions of the municipal administration. Firstly, major cross-cutting recommendations, whose starting point is the acknowledgement that the phenomenon exists, target the implementation of operational changes that are consistent with the diagnosis. Secondly, thematic recommendations tackle specific problems, such as representation within the City’s workforce and executive, racial and social profiling, culture and social iniquities.

Indigenous-specific Recommendations: Numbers 9 and 10 plus others

Recommendation #9 

In conformity with the principles of transversality, perennity and coconstruction that are set forth in the Strategy of Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the Commission recommends that, by the end of the first mandate of the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, the City of Montréal, together with Indigenous organizations, proceed to revise: 

  • The offer of municipal services to Indigenous persons, regardless of the borough in which an individual lives or in which an organization is located, in order to better adapt the services to the demographic reality of the Montréal Indigenous population; 
  • The system of grant subsidies for projects in order to examine if biases or organizational practices are disadvantaging Indigenous groups. 

Recommendation #10 

In order to strengthen and increase the support for measures concerning the relations with Indigenous people, the Commission recommends that the City of Montréal: 

  • Ensure the perennity of the mandate of the Indigenous affairs Commissioner and increase her resources so that she can adequately carried out the mandate conferred; 
  • Request that the SPVM work with the Indigenous groups in order to reinforce the work of the liaison officer in various sectors of police activities. 

Recommendation #4

To expand and update the scope of the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, the Commission recommends that the Municipal Council: 

  • Modify article 16 i) so that it includes the recognition of the systemic and intersectional character of the various forms of discrimination enumerated in the article; 
  • Adds its endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the preamble, emphasizing the City’s adhesion to texts that promote fundamental rights. 

Recommendation #29 The Commission recommends that within the next year, the City of Montréal, in collaboration with Indigenous organizations, examine the possibility of establishing an Indigenous cultural center in Montréal, and ensure that the training provided to guides includes substantial and accurate content relating to Indigenous history, art and culture. 


January 17, 2022


Yellowknife’s Indigenous Relations Advisor

Cabin Radio – Stacie Smith to become Yellowknofe’s new deputy Mayor. Smith, who was elected in 2018, is of Tłı̨chǫ, Nunatukavut, and English descent. She is currently the only Indigenous member of Yellowknife’s city council. During her tenure, she has served as chair of the city’s community advisory board on homelessness and spoken about the importance of Indigenous representation.

The deputy mayor is responsible for overseeing meetings, attending public events, and has signatory authority when the mayor is unavailable.

March 12, 2020


Yellowknife’s Indigenous Relations Advisor

CBC – Eliminating the Indigenous Relations Advisor in a city with 24% Indigenous population (2018 data). Indigenous Service Canada provided initial funding for 18 months that was not renewed. The city would not include in ongoing budget. Councillor Stacie Smith, who is Tlicho, the only Indigenous member on City Council, said that with few Indigenous people working at city hall, any progress is “doing to, rather than with” Indigenous people. The position was intended to help improve the city’s relationship with Indigenous people and governments, and embed reconciliation in its practices and decisions. Reconciliation has been highlighted as one of six core values in the city’s 2019-2022 strategic priorities.

Other Current Problems By Theme

Federal Budgets

Read more

Women Transforming Cities

Read more