Setting Canada on a ‘real path of reconciliation’ with Indigenous people

A Canada Day message from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Posted July 1st, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Dear Friends,

We all want to feel good about what Canada stands for. From progress on LGBTQ rights, to communities coming together to support new immigrants, to modest steps toAward reconciliation, there are reasons to be proud of how far we’ve come in 2017.

But are we prepared to move beyond pride—to acknowledge just how much more work needs to be done?

For over 35 years, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has been promoting public policy solutions grounded in ideals of social, economic and environmental justice. We’ve always believed that public policy can play an important role on the road to social transformation. But today, on the occasion of Canada 150, we are asking ourselves tough questions about the role of public policy in reconciliation.

Today, Indigenous people in this country experience shocking levels of poverty, inadequate access to clean water and housing, disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration, unequal levels of health care and education, the exploitation of their resources, and the regular abuse of treaty and land rights. Aboriginal women are murdered or go missing at rates far above any other part of the population.

In these and other ways, Canada is still a colonial state, a relic of the past. If we can’t recognize this reality on the country’s 150th anniversary, when is the right time? If we can’t use this moment to celebrate the idea of a better, more equal society, what, exactly, are we celebrating?

We know that that the system isn’t working for so many of us. We know that rhetoric and platitudes are not an effective defense against inequality in all its forms. We need concrete alternatives—thought out, costed, and defended, in solidarity with our neighbours of all walks of life—to move forward together.

We need to put Indigenous voices and lived experiences at the centre of policy-making conversations in Canada—from robust consultation on resource projects, to direct involvement in housing and health care services in Indigenous communities.

Here at the CCPA, we are steadfastly committed to the policy research that will set us on a path to real reconciliation, and reaffirm our commitment to equity, sustainability and solidarity for all. Social progress cannot be left up to chance, half-hearted political efforts or even good intentions.

This Canada Day, the CCPA is celebrating by renewing its promise to be there with the research and analysis that support bold and ambitious policy goals, and make the case for equality and sustainability that much harder to ignore.

In solidarity, Peter Bleyer, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


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