Issue 01 (Dec. 2020)
Welcome to CRE’s Policy Forecast!
At CRE, we are always looking for ways to empower Indigenous youth with the tools they need to inform and unsettle the policies and processes that impact them. Every month, you can come here to learn more about what’s happening in policy – whether that’s at the grassroots or parliamentary level – and how it impacts you, your community, your politics, and your activism.
Highlights from this issue include: the end date for boil water advisories being pushed back, a fall economic update from the federal government, and looking at the connections between traditional practices and mental wellness.
Parliament wrapped for their winter break on December 11th and are scheduled to get back to work on January 25, 2021.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Liberal Government will not meet its commitment to end all boil water advisories in First Nations communities by March 2021.
Trudeau initially promised that he would end boil water advisories within five years of being elected in 2015.
CBC has published a full history of the land defense being mounted by Six Nations of the Grand River, including interviews with community members and an update on where things are at now.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett has expressed wanting to meet with the community, but at the time of publishing this roundup, no negotiations have begun.
With no formal federal budget released since last year, the Liberal government has provided an economic statement highlighting the current deficit and some spending plans.
Among the funds that have been earmarked are a boost to the Canada Summer Jobs program for the creation of 120,000 job placements next year and an expansion to the program so that employers can hire students outside of the summer, as well as more funds to help young people who have lost jobs because of the pandemic.
You can read the full update here, and we will keep you updated when more information is released about how that money will be distributed.
The Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs met throughout November and December to talk about another wave of COVID-19 support funding for Indigenous communities.
Watch past testimonies, read briefs that have been submitted, and see when their next meeting will take place here.
Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Justice is meeting to review Bill C-6, which would make conversion therapy a criminal offense in Canada, among other amendments.
See how the study is going here.
Lastly, a bill that would create a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is making its way through the House and Senate, which would fulfill one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action.
Get caught up on the Bill and all of its activity here.
Speech From The Throne Update
The September 2020 Speech from the Throne includes a number of commitments CRE will be monitoring in the coming months.
Of particular note is the pledge to “address systemic racism […] in a way informed by the lived experiences of racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples”, which the government is proposing to do through economic empowerment programs, better data collection, more inclusive hiring practices, and addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black peoples in the criminal justice system through intensive reforms.
Other Throne Speech commitments include getting rural and remote communities connected to high-speed internet by 2026, which the government has begun moving forward on, and a promise to introduce UNDRIP legislation by the end of 2020 (more on that below). You can read the full Speech From the Throne here.
Read CRE’s Commentary on the Speech From the Throne here.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On December 3rd, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti introduced Bill C-15, which mandates that the Government “must take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent” with the Declaration, and that an action plan must be developed and implemented to “achieve the objectives of the Declaration.”
The legislation follows up on a commitment in the 2020 Throne Speech to introduce a bill that would align Canadian law with UNDRIP by the end of this year.
You can also read the first edition of our new series, CRE Explains, to learn more about what UNDRIP is, how it came to be, and how it could impact Indigenous communities.
Studies and Reports
Heidi Illingworth, the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, has released a progress report saying that the Government needs to do more to create a more balanced criminal justice system, especially for Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups.
Read the full report and list of recommendations here.
On December 7, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada would be receiving 249,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer.
These doses have been reserved for folks living and working in long-term care homes.
Three new episodes of Canadaland’s Thunder Bay podcast, hosted by Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon, are available online now.
Canadaland: Commons also published an episode on Starlight Tours, which you can find here.
*Content warning for both: police violence, racism*
Tools & Resources
- This vaccine tracker shows what stage different vaccines are at in the approval process.
- The Yellowhead Institute published this interview with Glassco Fellow Ashley Carvill about her research on the positive impacts traditional practices can have on mental health. You can read Ashley’s full paper here.
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.
More to come!