Demand Reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples

Seven years ago, the Prime Minister apologized to former students of residential schools, their families and communities.

He officially acknowledged that Canada’s 150-year policy of seizing Aboriginal children and placing them in government-supported, church-run residential schools was wrong and misguided.  He remembered the thousands of children who never made it home, and the children who suffered abuses.

That apology was an important moment in Canadian history. But words alone are not enough.

Post-WoDA2015-Li_Cvr_FAThe Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s landmark report, Honouring the Past, Reconciling for the Future gives political leaders a clear path forward. It makes an urgent call to end violence against Aboriginal women and for action to eliminate inequalities in child welfare, education and treaty rights.

The federal election is on October 19th. Here are key questions to ask Party Leaders about building a new relationship with Aboriginal Peoples:

Almost 1,200 Aboriginal women and girls have been reported as missing or murdered in Canada. Will your government initiate a full, public inquiry?

There are more Aboriginal children in care today than during the height of residential schools. Will your government work to reduce the number of children in care? Will you provide resources so that children can remain within Aboriginal families and communities?

Aboriginal students on reserves receive between $2,000 and $3,000 less per person per year for education than students in the provincial systems. Will your government eliminate the discrepancies in educational funding? How will you address discrepancies in graduation and employment rates for Aboriginal students and workers? Will you ensure that education curriculum reflects the culture and experience of Aboriginal Peoples?

The federal government has a constitutional duty to consult on actions that impact Aboriginal treaty rights. How will your party ensure the genuine involvement and input of Aboriginal Peoples at every stage of resource development projects? How will your party approach and respond to Aboriginal land claims and treaty obligations?

The Government of Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2012. Will your government take action to ensure Canada’s laws, policies and practices align with the UNDRIP?

Reconciliation is more than words – 150 years later demand a new relationship with Aboriginal Peoples.

#womenvoteforaction

Dr. Marion Lynn is a member of the Fundraising Committee for Winona’s Place, YWCA Toronto’s housing program for Aboriginal women.