CRE’s Policy Forecast is a monthly roundup of what’s happening in policy – whether that’s at the grassroots or parliamentary level – and how it could impact you, your community, your politics, and your activism.
Highlights from this issue include:
- Implementing UNDRIP is under the microscope at the House of Commons,
- The COVID-19 vaccine campaign ramps up in Indigenous communities,
- A new bill to hold the government accountable for environmental racism.
UNDRIP: Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was introduced in the House of Commons for its first reading in December. This month, the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs began studying the Bill, which seeks to implement UNDRIP in Canada.
The Bill mandates that the Government of Canada must bring Canada’s laws in alignment with UNDRIP and that an action plan must be developed to achieve the goals of the Declaration – all of which must be done in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples and within three years from when the bill becomes law. The bill would also allow for a federal minister to be appointed to coordinate and oversee all of this work.
As part of the study, anyone can submit their written suggestions about the Bill to the Committee until April 8 – click here to learn more or to submit!
At Committee: In the House of Commons this month, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is continuing its study on implementing Mi’kmaq treaty fishing rights to support a moderate livelihood. Click here to read the briefs and listen to what witnesses are recommending to the government.
In the House of Commons: On March 22, a motion introduced by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to condemn the recent shootings in Atlanta and the rise of anti-Asian racism was adopted unanimously by the House of Commons.
Fighting Environmental Racism: Nova Scotia MP Lenore Zann introduced a bill this week that would require the federal government to collect statistics on the location of environmental hazards across Canada (such as pipelines, chemical plants, mines, etc.) and the connections to race, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes. Read about environmental racism and how it has impacted communities like Aamjiwnaang First Nation, here. On March 24, the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development – stay tuned for opportunities to contribute to the study!
Content warning: racism, violence, police
Criminal Justice System: The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) is an independent agency that reviews the way that the RCMP conducts investigations and interacts with the public. Last week, the Commission released a report concluding that the RCMP’s treatment of Colten Boushie’s mother, Debbie Batiste, constitutes discrimination. You can read more about the report’s findings here, and read more about findings at each stage of the complaint process at the CRCC’s website.
COVID-19: As of March 23, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is reporting that 610 First Nations and/or Inuit communities have vaccinations underway.
If you are living in an urban community and not sure if or when you will be eligible, click here for more information.
If you are not sure whether you are eligible for a vaccine, click here to find out where your province/territory is at in terms of vaccine roll-out, and how you can register for one.
- This month, podcast Don’t Call Me Resilient posted an episode about Indigenous land defenders. They talk about environmental protection, survival, and Canada’s long legacy of land encroachment You can find it on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, and on Google Podcasts.
- If you’re looking for more podcasts, check out All My Relations, hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation); this month they posted an episode about the collective transformation that has characterized the past year.
Tools & Resources
- As the Government works out how to implement UNDRIP in Canada, we’re revisiting this handbook by the Indigenous Bar Association on understanding and implementing UNDRIP
- Anishinaabe Comedian and podcaster Ryan McMahon worked with CBC to turn his podcast Stories from the Land into a short docuseries. You can watch the first two episodes on YouTube now, and the full series will be available on CBC Docs’ YouTube channel.
What did you think of this issue of CRE’s Policy Forecast? Send your feedback, ideas for future topics, and/or podcast suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.