Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation: Current Problems

Métis


January 7, 2020


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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 2, 2022


AB

Alberta cuts off Métis Consultation Policy negotiations

Métis Nation of Alberta – MNA has appealed a recent Alberta court decision that concluded the Kenney Government’s decision to cut off negotiations with the MNA on the development of Métis Consultation Policy did not breach the honour of the Crown, including the constitutional duties and obligations Alberta owed the MNA after five years of negotiations. The decision was based on internal and secret government documents that were never disclosed to the MNA at the time negotiations were terminated, and which the MNA only discovered due to the filing of a judicial review.

“The long outstanding and contentious issue of Crown consultation with Alberta Métis continues to undermine both Métis rights and resource development in the province,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras. “While Alberta has consultation policies in place for First Nations and the eight Alberta Métis Settlements, the vast majority of Alberta Métis citizens and communities are never consulted by Alberta when Métis lands, rights and interest are impacted by resource development. Alberta’s approach stands in stark contrast to the federal government who regularly consults with the MNA, which includes its Regions and Locals located throughout Alberta.”

In October 2014, the Progressive Conservative government led by Jim Prentice, and subsequently the New Democratic Party (NDP) government, led by Rachel Notley, engaged in formal negotiations with the MNA to develop a Métis Consultation Policy. In December 2018, a draft policy was presented to Cabinet with direction that further consultations be undertaken. In April 2019, the United Conservative Party government led by Jason Kenney was elected. Then, in September 2019, Alberta wrote to the MNA stating that it “will not be moving forward with the draft consultation policy,” ending five years of negotiations without explanation for the decision.

The MNA filed for a judicial review of the Minister’s decision. In the litigation, Alberta denied it was even negotiating with the MNA or that the honour of the Crown was engaged by its decision to terminate negotiations. Alberta also claimed it owed no duty or obligations to the MNA whatsoever.
Based on a unanimous resolution of the MNA Provincial Council, the MNA has now filed an appeal of Justice Ho’s decision to the Alberta Court of Appeal. In the appeal, the MNA claims that Justice Ho erred in considering and applying the application of the honour of the Crown, including the Crown’s duty to negotiate with the MNA. This is the first Alberta case to deal with the Crown’s duty to negotiate with Indigenous peoples, which has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in a series of cases.


July 6, 2018


ON

Cancellation of Indigenous curriculum content

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has cancelled a project to update provincial curriculum documents with Indigenous content. including those on TRC curriculum revisions and Indigenous languages in kindergarten. Ontario is the only province to renege on its commitment. See Education C2A # 62i. Doug Ford continues to undo the work of his predecessor, Kathleen Wynne, who initiated a number of positive reforms to advance Reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Indigenous stakeholder groups in Ontario have raised objections to this unilateral and unjustified dismantling of Reconciliation efforts especially given the positive momentum generated in other provinces and territories.


November 15, 2018


ON

Closing Child and Youth Advocate Office

Letter from the Provincial Advocate for Children. Mar. 13, 2019
Progressive Conservative government announced as part of its Fall Economic Outlook that they would be repealing the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007, and transferring investigation authority into child welfare services, residential care (including youth justice) and children’s secure treatment to the Ombudsman’s Office.

30% of child welfare caseload in Ontario is Indigenous despite comprising only 4.1% of the population. Many of the provisions in the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, 2007, will not be carried over to the Ombudsman’s Office.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • broadening the Ombudsman’s investigation mandate to include all children and youth currently served within our mandate;
  • the power to investigate or be notified of incidents of serious occurrences, such as when a young person dies or suffers serious bodily harm; and
  • the responsibility to provide rights education to children and youth seeking or receiving services.

June 29, 2018


ON

Eliminating dedicated Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Eliminating a dedicated cabinet position for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and subsuming all responsibilities under one Ministry responsible for energy, northern development ad mines, and Indigenous Affairs June 29, 2018 – The Ipperwash Inquiry into the police killing of protester Dudley George in an Indigenous occupation of a provincial park in 1995 concluded that divided attention was dangerous — that Native Affairs, as it then was, should be its own ministry. (Ottawa Citizen)


February 26, 2018


MB

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.


February 28, 2019


Fed. Govt.

Firing of Jody Wilson-Raybould over SNC-Lavalin

Firing Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould for refusing to grant SNC-Lavalin a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement”. As she stated in her testimony to the Justice Committee: “I was taught to always hold true to your core values, principles and to act with integrity…I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House”.
“The history of Crown-Indigenous relations in this country, includes a history of the rule of law not being respected…And I have seen the negative impacts for freedom, equality and a just society this can have first-hand.” Jody Wilson-Raybould. “For more than150 years Canada has bent laws, disrespected treaties, spent millions taking First Nations to court over resource sharing and tried to bully communities into pipelines.” Tanya Talaga. Toronto Star. March 1, 2019


March 19, 2019


Fed. Govt.

Funding for National Council for Reconciliation

Deferring the budget decision to fund the National Council for Reconciliation until AFTER the next election. The Interim Board of Directors appointed in Dec. 2017 submitted their interim report to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs on June 12, 2018. The 2020 fiscal year beginning April 1, 2020 will be almost five years since the TRC Summary Report was issued on June 2, 2015 and almost 2 years since the National Council interim board submitted their report on June 2018 with detailed recommendations on mandate, scope, budget, reporting, governance etc. This will be the third government since the TRC Summary Report was issued: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau (2 x).Make that 3x and no progress as of Dec. 5, 2021)


April 17, 2019


MB

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


March 5, 2018


MB

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.


June 5, 2022


AB

Métis Nation of Alberta claims victory over Alberta government’s negotiating scrip settlement with illegitimate Métis groups

Toronto Star – The future of a lawsuit seeking to hold Canada accountable for the loss of Métis lands is in doubt after about a third of the plaintiffs asked to withdraw from the action when their legitimacy was questioned.

The Métis Nation of Alberta says the move proves that it speaks for Alberta’s Métis and that the provincial government’s dealings with breakaway groups should stop. “These are the same groups that the current provincial government props up and consults with to the exclusion of the vast majority of Métis in Alberta,” vice-president Dan Cardinal said in a release.

The so-called Durocher case, filed in 2019, was brought by 17 Métis groups and individuals in Alberta and another 39 similar plaintiffs from Saskatchewan on behalf of all Métis in the area. It sought compensation for the loss of a vast amount of land in the northern reaches of the two provinces through the issuance of scrip certificates to Métis around the turn of the last century.

The scrip was supposed to be redeemable for land. The available land, however, was far from the Métis homelands. Much scrip was bought by speculators for pennies on the dollar from people who didn’t understand the deal they were making. The lawsuit sought damages, a declaration that Métis still hold title to the land and negotiations toward a land claim.

But that lawsuit is now on hold. The Alberta plaintiffs have asked to be removed from it after the Métis Nation of Alberta and the federal government challenged the legitimacy of their claim to represent all Métis. In addition to 10 individuals, the groups withdrawing are the Métis associations in Athabasca Landing, Fort McKay, Lakeland, Willow Lake, Owl River and Conklin. The 17th plaintiff, Chard Métis Dene Inc., has been dissolved.

“When the light of scrutiny is on them, it’s telling that they say we’ll just withdraw,” said Jason Madden, lawyer for the Métis Nation. Métis Nation president Audrey Poitras said that any scrip settlement must be negotiated with representatives of all Métis.

The lawsuit sought compensation for the loss of a vast amount of land in Alberta and Saskatchewan


March 4, 2022


MB

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


MB

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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.