The recent decision by an all-white jury to acquit Gerald Stanley, the killer of Colten Boushie calls on us all to confront systematic racism and demand reforms to Canada’s justice system, which “works against Indigenous people at every level”.
Last week’s decision by an all-white jury to acquit Gerald Stanley, the killer of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, calls for an overhaul of Canada’s settler-based legal system, and an investigation into the racism embedded within Canadian society and police forces.
Today, on the occasion of Canada 150, we should be asking ourselves tough questions relating to the role of public policy in Canada’s ongoing efforts at reconciling with Indigenous people. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: “Above all, we must deliberately put Indigenous voices and lived experiences at the centre of policy-making conversations in Canada”.
Read the open letter recently dispatched to Marion Buller, the Chief Commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, by the victims’ families, advocates, Indigenous leaders, experts and grassroots people. The “inquiry is in serious trouble.”
According to Tara Williamson, a singer-songwriter and poet from Manitoba, one of the many problems inherent in Canada’s current effort to reconcile with Indigenous peoples is this: “We must be willing to reconcile, willing to hear apologies, willing to share our trauma with others, willing to heal and willing to forgive.”
The planned Innavik Hydro Electric Project will provide clean energy and propel the indigenous Inukjuak community in Northern Quebec off its dependency on dirty diesel energy. But the project faces serious challenges, including lack of adequate funding, and mega hydro projects’ disastrous legacy of wiping out thousands of caribou and flooding large swaths of land.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is suing the Trudeau government over its approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline. First Nations leaders have repeatedly stated that no genuine reconciliation is possible as long as Canada continues to approve fossil fuel-based projects that threaten their communities and the planet.
The controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador, Canada, “relies on local Innu people giving up their own lands.” It “joins a long history of dispossession in North America.”