When it comes to Indigenous issues, history is written in the present tense, and we are its privileged witnesses.
The Ashukan Institute and its team are committed to keeping their finger on the pulse of current events affecting First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada.
If 2022 provided ample opportunities for reflection and discussion, 2023 promises to be even richer in this regard.
For example, yesterday, January 31, marked the anniversary of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that confirmed the existence of actual discrimination in the funding of the Indigenous police service of Mashteuiatsh. This year will likely see other communities taking steps to secure adequate funding for public safety. A federal bill on the subject is expected later this year.
Pursuing Reconciliation Through Legislation
One of the major events expected in 2023 is undoubtedly the tabling, scheduled for June, of the national action plan for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP). This plan represents the first step in measuring the tangible impact of this significant document.
After years of national reconciliation discussions, criticism remains regarding government commitment and insufficient investment in necessary measures.
The question persists: how can the UNDRIP principles be harmonized with Canadian law? This question will undoubtedly be one of the dominant themes in Indigenous news in 2023.
In addition to the UNDRIP action plan, we will need to keep a close eye over the coming months on several issues demonstrating the complexity of its implementation.
Consider the long-awaited Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Indigenous Child Welfare Act (C-92). The judges' decision can alter the parameters of Indigenous governance in this country, which is significant!
And it's only the beginning; many other laws, regulations and policies need to be modified, or even completely restructured, if the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada are to become fully established as a reality.
We'll have to keep a close eye on the processes underway to set up an autonomous entity to address specific claims, a mechanism that communities have been calling for for decades. It will also be interesting to see how discussions evolve around new legislation on First Nations, Métis and Inuit regarding health and the essential nature of policing and public safety services adapted to Indigenous communities.
Finally, new amendments to the infamous "Indian Act" are coming, and we must watch them closely. It is concerning that this law still exists today, serving as a reminder that reconciliation is far from complete.
The team at the Ashukan Institute will, therefore, be following these developments attentively to ensure that we are always in a position to pass on relevant, up-to-date information to our partners.
Happy New Year to all!