• Judicial appointments a process that can’t be rushed

    When I became minister I committed to creating a better judicial appointment process — one that would be open, transparent and ensured that the best possible candidates became judges. I also wanted a judiciary that more accurately reflected the country it served… Among the judges I have appointed or promoted to new roles, more than half are women, eight are Indigenous, 18 are members of visible minority communities, 12 identify as LGBTQ2, and three identify as people with disabilities.

  • Ottawa funds health changes aimed at giving First Nations more control

    Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott announced $68 million over three years for Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan… Philpott says the money will help boost First Nations health services closer to home. She says this should help reduce the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in areas such as diabetes and infectious disease… “The idea is to increase the control and the design of health systems in the hands of First Nations governments”

  • It’s time to take consultations with First Nations seriously

    Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote: “Meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow Indigenous peoples ‘to blow off steam’ before the Crown proceeds to do what it always intended to do. Consultation is meaningless when it excludes from the outset any form of accommodation.” … In sum, consultation needs to be done when Indigenous rights are affected by a development. Consultation must include the possibility of accommodation. Each affected First Nation is entitled to its own consultations, particular to their own circumstances.

  • Indigenous issues can’t be fixed by statues and holidays alone

    The disturbing truth is more Indigenous children are being taken from their homes and communities today than at the height of the residential school system. In 2016, more than 14,000 Indigenous children were placed in foster care, often far from home. And routinely for family problems that are rooted in poverty. Indigenous children made up just 7 per cent of all the children in Canada but accounted for over half the kids taken into care.

  • Sorry, but I’ve had enough of saying sorry

    The modern euphemism for men like Macdonald and Langevin is that they had “complicated” legacies or personal stories. What that means is that they were men of their time and place, subject to the common failings (that is, racism or misogyny) of their era, plus burdened with personal weaknesses. Of course they were. Who isn’t?

  • We can no longer afford to whitewash our history

    The headlines about the residential schools was the catalyst that made the government admit that the history we’ve been taught has been whitewashed. All Canadian children need to know that their culture has made contributions to Canadian society… Writing workshops were scheduled this summer to update the curriculum…. But one month after the Ontario election, just before the legislature resumed, these workshops, years in the making, were suddenly cancelled.

  • Shocking Gaps in Educational Attainment

    By far the most important gap in terms of high school completion among major ethnic communities is that for indigenous students… escape from poverty requires children to complete, at a minimum, their secondary education and that the instruction be of decent quality… Based on the 2016 census, young First Nation adults, ages 20 – 24, 75 percent living off-reserve have completed high school, but only 48 percent living on-reserve have done so. This compares with 92 percent among non-indigenous students.

  • Think education in Ontario doesn’t need to be protected as a human right? Think again

    If you have access to education, you are more likely to know your rights, and know how to advocate for yourself and for others… By framing education as a fundamental human right, we place the emphasis on education for all without discrimination; the obligation of states to protect, respect and fulfil this right; and the need for accountability mechanisms when people cannot realize their right.

  • Federal government urged to rein in mandatory minimum sentences

    “Crowns and judges alike… share the concern of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association that mandatory minimum sentences interfere with the ability of the parties to properly assess cases, properly exercise discretion and to resolve matters that should be resolved.” … “The proliferation of mandatory minimum penalties not only disproportionately impacts Indigenous peoples, but also harms us all by making Canada a harsher, more punitive country and by undermining our commitment to equality and the rule of law,”

  • Ontario cancels curriculum rewrite that would boost Indigenous content

    Although the new government of Premier Doug Ford says it did not order the cancellation, a statement from Education Minister Lisa Thompson suggests the move was made by the bureaucracy to cut costs… the ministry cancelled three curriculum writing sessions, including those on: TRC curriculum revisions, American Sign Language, and Indigenous languages in kindergarten… The ministry “will continue to move ahead with” the curriculum revisions related to the TRC… but did not indicate when that would happen.