Becka supports the call from Canada’s premiers and Indigenous leaders for a national public inquiry into Canada’s crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
An RCMP report issued in 2013 states that there have been 1,181 police-recorded incidents of Indigenous homicides and unresolved missing women investigations over the past 30 years, and Indigenous women are more than seven times as likely as non-indigenous women to be victims of homicide.
This issue is a Canadian social crisis that needs urgent attention. Missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada is much more than a criminal issue. Colonialism, racism, violence against women and poverty are the foundation of this national crisis.
The Federal government must lead a national public inquiry and national roundtable in order to establish and implement a comprehensive, national framework of action to end this systemic and very real violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The glaring exception to everything one loves about Canada can be found in the profound inequality of life on First Nations Reserves and life for off-reserve urban Indigenous people across Canada. Water that is too hazardous to drink; serious health problems from diabetes to tuberculosis, addiction, and suicide; unacceptably poor housing stock; high unemployment rates − all make a mockery of our progress elsewhere in maintaining our “social safety net.”
Canadians like to forget that white South Africa based apartheid on the Canadian Aboriginal policy. Many non-natives are unaware of the fundamental human rights violations occurring within our midst. Canadian Indigenous peoples, First Nation, Métis and Inuit, know that the fundamental assumption of colonial powers since the first Europeans arrived in what is now Canada has been a policy of assimilation.
Unbeknownst to most non-native Canadians, and even some First Nations, the ultimate disposition of land claims agreement is the extinguishment of Aboriginal title. This is an inherent right of indigenous people and its extinguishment violates international human rights law. Various human rights committees within the United Nations system have frequently been critical of Canada’s treatment of and laws regarding Indigenous peoples.
The issues impacting Indigenous people in Canada are complex and cannot be assessed without a full sense of the searing violence of generations of occupation and assault upon their traditional cultures and values. No Canadian should be satisfied with the failed policies of the Indian Act, the huge bureaucracy of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the enormous outlays of funding for lawyers and “experts” in the interminable comprehensive claims process.
Something fundamental needs to shift. That shift must begin with dignity for all Indigenous peoples: respect, an end to policies of assimilation, and strong support for health and education on and off reserve. Health specialists and behavioural experts need to be trained from within communities to provide the proper support for fetal alcohol syndrome children. Work must be intensified to ensure more programs that involve elders mentoring young people. Employment opportunities in resource-based industries on Indigenous territories will be encouraged. Trap lines will be protected. We will work to sustain the Inuit hunting culture that is under rapid assault due to the impacts of the climate crisis. The Green Party of Canada will ensure that governments and corporations alike respect the 1990 Supreme Court of Canada Sparrow decision upholding Indigenous rights such as fishing and the right of Indigenous peoples to be consulted about decisions and accommodated in those decisions that impact their resources and their future.
As an Elected Green Party MP Beck will work to:
- Honour Canada’s fiduciary responsibility and the Indigenous rights, treaty rights and other rights of Indigenous peoples, including their inherent rights of self-government.
- Support the development of Indigenous education curricula that are language and culture specific.
- Assist the delivery of health care, education and other services in a way that incorporates traditional practices and recognizes the role of extended families and elders.
- Set up task forces to address the treatment of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian justice system and to investigate and address the disappearance of Indigenous women.
- Ensure, through consultation with indigenous organizations representing the concerns of Indigenous women, that the rights of Inuit, Métis and First Nations women are protected.
- In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, work towards the creation of an Indigenous Lands and Treaties Tribunal Act to establish an independent body to decide on specific claims, ensure that treaty negotiations are conducted and financed fairly, and ensure that treaty negotiations and claims resolutions do not result in the extinguishment of Aboriginal and treaty rights.
- Immediately implement the lands claims agreements already negotiated and languishing for lack of funding, particularly for First Nations in the territories.
- Review all existing federal policies on self-government, in consultation with indigenous representatives, to ensure they are achieving the goals of indigenous peoples.
- Ensure that negotiations of treaties and self-government are not based on the extinguishment of Aboriginal title and rights, and on assimilation, but on reconciliation of rights and title, and that negotiations recognize the diversity of traditional self-governance.
- Fully implement the recommendations of the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, thereby embarking on true nation-to-nation negotiations on a full range of outstanding legal issues and land claims.
- Ensure that Canada upholds the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Ensure that governments and corporations respect the Sparrow decision (recognizing the Indigenous right to fish) and the Haida decision (the right of Indigenous peoples to be not just consulted but their concerns accommodated regarding decisions that may impact their resources and their future).
- Negotiate and legislate primary hunting, fishing, trapping and logging rights for indigenous peoples on traditional lands, especially lands under federal jurisdiction, subject to standards of sustainable harvesting.
- Launch and maintain new processes driven by indigenous priorities and legal entitlements, to provide for interim measures prior to settlement of treaties, and address governance issues, a just and fair share of lands and resources, legislative inconsistencies, policy inequities, reconciliation and, if in accordance with the wishes of First Nations, the phased-out elimination of the Indian Act
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