Whether you’re interested in politics (the drama, the intrigue!), looking for ways to dismantle settler-colonial-hetero-patriarchy, or just confused about what politicians ACTUALLY do all day, Policy Forecast is here for you!
With each season, CRE’s Centre for Indigenous Policy and Research will bring you a new edition of Policy Forecast recapping everything you need to know about what’s going on in Canadian policy when it comes to Indigenous rights, community, and reconciliation.
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Highlights from this issue
- Black Youth Summit
- Bill C-29
Truth and Reconciliation
>NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION: September 30 marked the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day is meant to honour residential school survivors and the children who never returned home from them, as well as their families and communities. The day is a federal holiday in Canada but is not recognized as a statutory holiday by many provincial and territorial governments. Check out these reflections on reconciliation and how the idea has evolved since the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
- Jack Saddleback, two-spirit from Samson Cree First Nation, says that more focus is needed on queer and two-spirit needs in communities.
- Justin Trudeau admitted that work on reconciliation is moving slowly. According to Indigenous Watchdog, 11 Calls to Action have been completed, and 47 are in progress as of September 2022.
- Kelsi-Leigh Balaban and Hayden King of Yellowhead Institute interviewed Eva Jewell (Yellowhead Institute) and Douglas Sinclar (Indigenous Watchdog) on measuring reconciliation and tracking its progress. Check out this article to see how they feel about the progress made on the 94 CTAs and insights into measuring them.
> BILL C-29: If passed, a new bill introduced in parliament will see the creation of the National Council for Reconciliation. The bill has passed its second reading, which is the third step out of five total before becoming law. The council would act as a national oversight body and have duties including developing a national action plan on reconciliation, monitoring and assessing progress on reconciliation, and conducting research on reconciliation, among other things. The creation of this council was called for in TRC Calls to Action 53 and 54. Click here to see who has been testifying at the House of Commons about the Bill.
>MI’KMAW FISHING RIGHTS UPDATE: Cory Francis, a Mi’kmaw fisherman of Acadia First Nation, is defending himself in court against charges of violating a fishery management order. Francis was exercising his right to fish eel for food, social and ceremonial purposes, and his right to a moderate livelihood when he was charged. He is filing a constitutional challenge against his charge, stating that his rights are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act.
>GOVERNOR GENERAL AWARDS IN MEDIA: David Ruben Piqtoukun (Inuit) and Gerald McMaster (Cree) were each given a Governor General Award for Media and Visual Arts. This award was created by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General to celebrate and recognize remarkable contributions to art in Canada, and is given annually to up to eight people. Piqtoukun was recognized for his sculpting work, and McMaster was given the award for his contributions to art curation.
>FOX LAKE CREE NATION: At age 26, Jade Kirkness became the youngest counsellor her community has ever had, and says she wanted to give back to her community anyway she could, leaving a positive impact for future generations. Earlier this year, Jade reflected further on why she is doing this job, her family’s struggles, and what she hopes for her community in this.
>BLACK YOUTH SUMMIT: The National Black Canadians Summit was held in Halifax in September, and saw about 400 Black youth gather to talk about the power of connection, representation, and mentorship. The Summit started in 2017 to bring Black folks and their efforts together, and to see better outcomes for the Black community.
It’s been really inspiring to see a lot of Black leaders, and young Black leaders because it’s not something that is portrayed everydayDrayton Mulindabagiwi Jabo
>INDIGENOUS COLLABORATION AGREEMENT WITH AOTEAROA: In August, Canada signed an Indigenous collaboration agreement with Aotearoa (New Zealand). This agreement is meant to formalize a “shared commitment to promote and advance priorities of Indigenous peoples in both countries”. In the first year of this agreement, Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada will work with the Ministry of Māori Development in Aotearoa to promote Indigenous rights, self-determination, service delivery, health and wellbeing, and data sharing.
At Parliament Hill
>APPOINTMENTS: In September, Honourable Shannon Smallwood became the first Indigenous person appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. Chief Justices are responsible for the leadership and administration of their courts and are appointed by the Governor General. Chief Justice Smallwood is K’ashógot’įne from Fort Good Hope First Nation.
>POILIEVRE LEADS THE CONS: Pierre Poilievre is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada as of September, winning the leadership with about 68% of the total vote of party members. Poilievre has expressed that as the leader of the Conservatives, the economy is going to be his first priority, including trying to combat inflation. The next federal election isn’t set to happen until 2025, so it will be a few years before we see Poilievre in a run for Prime Minister.
>DEFEAT OF BILL C-210: Bill C-210, An Act to amend Canada Elections Act (voting age), was defeated at its second reading in September – which means it will not pass. The Bill would have lowered the voting age in federal elections from 18 to 16 years old, and had the ultimate goal of getting more young folks engaged in politics and outvoting on things that will impact them the most – such as climate change.
>NIHB ACCESSIBILITY: The Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs is looking at the accessibility of Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) for Indigenous people. Briefs with insights from individuals and organizations have been submitted to the committee on this matter, including briefs from the Northwest Territories Metis Nation and the Canadian Dental Association.
- The Northwest Territories Métis Nation expressed in their brief that NIHB is inaccessible to Métis folks, as Métis are not eligible for the program. The brief cites a Supreme Court case, Daniels v. Canada, where it was ruled that the Canadian Government should be providing programs for all Indigenous folks (including Métis people), not only those with Status.
- The Canadian Dental Association points out in their brief that administrative barriers often prevent those covered by NIHB from actually accessing the service properly. They cited that lengthy forms plus multiple steps in the approval process are often a burden to those seeking dental care.
- ODETTE AUGER: Check out this piece by Odette Auger, called The quiet joys of coming home to Anishinaabe Territories. Auger says that this is “a letter of gratitude after saying bamapii to her kin”.
- SOLIDARITY IS CEREMONY: In the previous issue of Policy Forecast, we highlighted Grassy Narrows community members rallying outside of Ontario Legislature to demand compensation for mercury poisoning that has affected their community. Check out this reflection from Vanessa Gray on the 12th River Run.
- AYSANABEE: Aysanabee is an Oji-Cree folk artist, currently living in Toronto. He is currently also the curator of the Indigenous playlist on Spotify.
- SETTLER ELECTION FEVER: Check out this podcast from MEDIA INDIGENA on a retrospective look at Election 2019, which includes conversations about the potential of an all-Indigenous party.
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.