Mass incarceration of Indigenous people betrays Ottawa’s reconciliation efforts – Policy Options

by ahnationtalk on June 25, 2020393 Views

June 25, 2020

When Justin Trudeau became prime minister of Canada in 2015, there was considerable hope that there was a partner in Ottawa whom Indigenous peoples could work with to deliver meaningful change. Within months of taking office, he endorsed the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He also launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and expressed support for its calls for justice. Trudeau used the term genocide to describe the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and committed the federal government to the path toward reconciliation. Following the Supreme Court’s Daniels ruling in 2016, he also committed to working with off-reserve Indigenous people who had previously been denied the title and rights afforded to those living on reserve.

The path forward to which the prime minister committed includes concrete steps to end the systemic discrimination that Indigenous people face when encountering Canadian state institutions and to pave the way for Indigenous self-determination. Expanding the use of alternatives to incarceration and restorative justice in the wake of social harm, and expanding the resources available for these alternatives, was proposed by both the TRC and the MMIWG Inquiry. These measures are integral to meeting the prime minister’s commitments, but these commitments are among the many made by the federal government that continue to be betrayed in 2020.

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