OTTAWA – Today on Aboriginal Justice Awareness Day, the Green Party of Canada recognizes that much work remains to be done to implement policies and initiatives that promote and ensure justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
“There have been efforts by this government to recognize the need for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples but words are hollow if not backed up by action,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “It’s been two years since the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) recommended 231 calls for justice. Today, the promised Action plan has not been introduced because the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister postponed the process last year.
“The Liberals endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2016. It took four years for the government tabled Bill C-15, an act to implement UNDRIP. And they did so without proper consultation.
“It is not difficult to understand the frustration, disappointment and mistrust expressed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who have witnessed successive governments continue to delay the implementation of policies to deliver justice. It is shameful that Indigenous Peoples should have to fight so hard to have their rights recognised, whether it be land rights or compensation for First Nations children harmed by the on-reserve welfare system.
“Canada prides itself on its respect for human rights and yet we are not respecting the rights of the original people of this land. Let us not forget that as of January 26, 2021, 61 long-term drinking water advisories remain in 39 communities.
“Indigenous Peoples continue to be overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system. Unfortunately, recent reforms do not address systemic racism within our criminal justice system, including harsher sentences and a greater likelihood of arrest and also of solitary confinement. Despite calls for reform, systemic racism persists within public Institutions such as health-care facilities.
“Just months ago, the tragic case of Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman who died in a Quebec hospital after filming staff insulting her, highlighted the systemic racism many Indigenous Peoples face when accessing health services in Canada. Justice has still not come for Chantel Moore, an Indigenous woman who was fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B. during a ‘wellness’ check. The list goes on.
“If we are truly committed to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership, as laid out in the 2015 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), then it’s time for people in Canada to insist that this is prioritised by our government."
# # #
For more information or to arrange an interview: