#FirstNations; #ResidentialSchools; #CanadianHeritage; #TruthAndReconciliation
Ottawa, Sep 30 (Canadian-Media): Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced Sep 30 support for 200 projects which aim to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.
Residential schools. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Committed to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten, the government is continuing its work towards the implementation of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A legislation to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Call to Action #80) was introduced Sep 29 by the government of Canada and is committed to implementing Call to Action #81, which calls for the installation of a Residential Schools National Monument in the City of Ottawa.
With an aim to provide an opportunity to Canadian youth to learn first-hand from residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers, artists and leaders from nations and cultures across the country, a national virtual gathering is being hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for students across the country to coincide with Orange Shirt Day on September 30.
#Ottawa, #Canada; #COVID19Pandemic; #FirstNations; #BoilWaterWarning
Ottawa, Sep 29 (Canadian-Media): Some of the Liberal government's key deadlines of its reconciliation agenda including a promise to end all long-term boil-water advisories on First Nations by next March have been jeopardized due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
First Nations Boiling water watch. Image credit: Unsplash
The most common boil water advisory for First Nations communities being advised to use boiled water for at least one minute before drinking, brushing their teeth, or cooking and that they shouldn’t use tap water to bathe infants, toddlers, or the elderly.
Last week's throne speech did not mention of the 2021 deadline of the long-term boil-water advisories on First Nations, which was clearly stated in the previous throne speech in 2019, which raises questions if the Liberals, hard-hit with COVID-19, would be able to comply with March 2021 target date they set during the 2015 election.
In addition to the federal government of Canada's concern of short construction season for communities that rely on ice road transport for heavy equipment and resupply, some communities have resorted to refuse outside contractors in their communities to protect themselves from COVID-19, which can likely push construction deadlines back even further.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told CBC News Sep 28 that despite the challenges, he is hoping that the spring 2021 target would be met by the government by spending more funds this fall to make it happen.
"That deadline is very much one that we are working aggressively to meet," Miller said. "This isn't a question of funds, this is a question of planning."
Cathy McLeod, the Conservative critic for Crown-Indigenous relations, however, was skeptical, and said, "All of a sudden, they've taken out time frames — it's a real problem. "I can understand the disappointment of communities, of Indigenous communities across this country," reported by CBC News.
#Gatineu; #Quebec; #IndigenousLanguageAct; #IndigenousLanguageSymposium; #VirtualConsultations
Gatineau (Quebec), Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): Steven Guilbeault, Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced Sep 28 that the Government of Canada is taking essential steps to advance the implementation of the Indigenous Language Act (ILA) -- developed in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and received Royal Assent June 21, 2019 -- by hosting close to 40 virtual consultations directly with Indigenous people using video conferencing and teleconferencing technology.
Steven Guilbeault. Image credit: Facebook page
These virtual consultations would discuss the appointment of a Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (CIL) and up to three directors who will form the Office of CIL, and to seek input on the use of the Indigenous Language funding model to best meet the needs of First Nations for the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance, and strengthening of Indigenous languages.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the selection committee will also include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation representatives.
The availability of an online questionnaire would ensure the minister hears from all interested parties, including Indigenous elders, youth, persons with disabilities, women, men, two-spirit, and LGBTQ persons.
In early 2021, a virtual IL Symposium would be hosted by the government of Canada to bring together a wide range of national and international experts to share their knowledge and best practices on the revitalization of Indigenous languages.
2019 budget announced an investment of $333.7 million over five years, starting in 2019-2020, with $115.7 million ongoing, to support the implementation of the act.
#Canada; #CatherineMcKenna; #COVID19ResilienceStream; #Investing
Ottawa, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): Speech by Catherine McKenna Canada's Minister of Infrastructure and Communities at the COVID-19 Resilience Stream/Investing in Canada plan flexibilities announcement.
Catherine McKenna. Image credit: Official
"It’s a pleasure to be here today with Stephen Bekta, the chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa and Owen Charters, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. We are grateful to have the opportunity to be present in this territory.
It is so great to be back here at the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa speaking to you in person. I know we’ve all missed having in-person gatherings like this, and it’s especially fitting for today’s announcement – which in many ways is all about bringing people together.
People are faced with such different challenges today than only a few months ago. The pandemic has brought losses - human suffering and economic costs - and we’ve learned some vital, if painful, lessons.
We know how to reduce the impact of the pandemic, to protect more lives, and to rebuild businesses and create jobs.
We’re painfully aware of the need to improve safety for older people who are living in long-term care facilities.
We know the importance of school for children, and we know that parents are struggling with what is the best thing for their child this fall.
Immediate and different investments in public infrastructure are needed now to Build Up, to address the health risks, create jobs, and make healthy, resilient communities.
That’s why I am announcing today that we’re adapting our infrastructure program to make it easier to invest in making schools safer for children and long-term care facilities safer for aging people. We also need ways for people to exercise and appreciate nature without putting themselves at risk.
We’re speeding up project approvals, opening up the kind of projects eligible for funding, and offering a bigger federal cost share.
Under the new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream, the federal government will pay 80 per cent of the cost for projects that have a value of less than $10 million and can be completed by the end of 2021. Projects in the Territories are eligible for 100 per cent federal funding, and have an extra year to be completed.
We’re also making some changes to the eligibility criteria in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, for projects that can start in the near term.
For example, mobile phone and cellular projects are now eligible for funding, as are inter-city transit projects.
The health and well-being of Canadians has been—and will continue to be—the top priority of our government. But this pandemic has affected more than our personal health. It has also affected our economy.
Which is why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the $19-billion Safe Restart Agreement on July 16. It includes $2 billion for cities and towns across Canada to support front line workers and critical municipal services, which will be cost-matched by the provinces and territories.
The Government of Canada will also cost-match more than $1.8 billion to support any additional provincial/territorial contributions made for public transit. Here in Ontario, the federal contribution to transit operations is $1 billion.
We are in a time of transition and adaptation. The whole world is.
Every dollar we invest should do triple duty – creating jobs and economic stability, making communities more resilient, especially given the changing climate, and making communities equitable so that everyone has a fair shot to succeed.
I want to leave you with this thought: the trauma of this pandemic will pass, but in its wake the world will be a different place, and Canada will be too.
We have the chance to think carefully about the Canada we need and the Canada we want in the future.
To make the choices that ensure we are that country that lives its values -- of compassion, equality, optimism, concern for the planet.
The post-pandemic world will be full of new opportunities, and I want to help our people take advantage of those opportunities.
#Hamilton; #Ontario; #LGBTQ; #RedeemerUniversity; #BiblicalIntentions; #Christianity
Hamilton (Ontario), Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): Redeemer University, a private Christian school in the Hamilton area, is facing criticism its anti-LGBTQ policies from LGBTQ alumni who said that fear among LGBTQ attendees prevails, media reports said.
Redeemer University. Image credit: Twitter handle
Redeemer University based its school policy on the theory of "biblical intentions," and said disciplinary actions would be taken against the students who were found to engage in any sexual behaviour that occurs outside a heterosexual marriage.
"This covers a broad range of sexual behaviour by students when it falls outside biblical intentions and/or explicit guidelines. These include sexual intimacies which occur outside of a heterosexual marriage, including any type of intercourse or sexual relations or involvement with pornographic material," the policy says, reported by CBC News.
When asked by CBC News from a number of Redeemer students, past and present, some refused to speak for fear of retaliation from the university or as they had not publicly revealed their sexual orientation.
But all of them expressed concerns about the school's discriminatory policy against LGBTQ students.
The school justifies its policy and says it is part of the Reformed Christian tradition and does not discriminate.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Canada in 2005.
Human rights experts said that Redeemer's policy could lead to lawsuits and human rights complaints.
"They're not discriminating against [students] because they're Christian, they're discriminating against them because they're LGBTQ by this code of conduct," Susan Ursel, the Toronto lawyer who represented the Canadian Bar Association against Trinity Western, told CBC.
"You can discriminate on the basis of only wanting Christians, sure, but once you're inside your Christian community, you don't get to pick and choose whether you like people who are gay or straight. You take your community the way you find it and you serve it."
Personal accounts from students and alumni, many of whom identify within the LGBTQ community is contained in the the Rainbow Report, a 45-page document submitted to the university in 2019.
Many students said they did not feel safe on campus and some left school before graduation.
"The question for decision makers in our courts is, 'Can religion do anything it wants? Or in a decent, multicultural, diverse society, are there even limits on what religion can do?" Ursel said, reported by CBC.
#BC; #VancouverPride; #VirtualParade
British Columbia (B.C.), Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): B.C. Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement to mark Vancouver Pride, media reports said.
Vancouver Pride. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Pride began as a protest. And that work continues, as many LGBTQ2S+ people around the world still fight for basic rights that many people take for granted: equal marriage, access to adoption, legal protections for gender expression and gender identity.
“This time last year, Vancouver was getting ready to welcome over 650,000 people on its streets marching in support of the annual Pride parade. This year, Vancouver Pride Week has looked a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that losing the opportunity to come together in person in recognition, celebration and solidarity has been incredibly difficult.
“Many people continue to be targeted with harassment and discrimination because of their gender or sexuality. Our government has taken some first steps to making our province more inclusive for LGBTQ and two-spirit people, including teaching sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive education, re-establishing the human rights commission and implementing a gender-X option for provincial identification.
“As we mark the Vancouver Pride parade virtually this year, I hope everyone takes this opportunity to learn more about LGTBQ2S+ history, celebrate how far we’ve come and recognize how far we have to go.
“Pride cannot be cancelled.
“Together, we will build a province where everyone can live without fear of violence or discrimination, where everyone can take pride in who they are.”
Ontario, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): A lawsuit seeking $400,000 in damages against the Ontario Government, two identified Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers and a number of unknown officers was filed in Toronto on July 22, media reports said.
OPP. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the lawsuit, OPP allegedly falsifying their notes to justify a racially influenced violent takedown of two First Nations brothers in the front yard and driveway of May's home in Orillia, Ont. and was captured in cellphone video that was obtained by CBC News .
It alleges that the two officers, acting on a report that a "Native male" had fallen off a bicycle, illegally assaulted Randall May, 57, of Nipissing First Nation, and Aaron Keeshig, 50, of Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation.
According to the statement of claim, the lawsuit also alleged that an OPP officer, assigned to investigate a complaint over the incident filed by May, offered to have May's charges dropped if he abandoned the complaint.
"In order to justify the illegal assault, detention and arrest, the police falsified police notes, falsely accused both brothers of offences they did not commit and wrongly charged Mr. May of assaulting police," said the statement of claim, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. "Mr. May and Mr. Keeshig, who are both First Nations men, assert that the illegal, violent and entirely unjustified treatment they suffered was the result of racial profiling, racial bias and discrimination."
The OPP said in a statement that the OPP's professional standards bureau investigated the complaint filed by May in February 2019, at the direction of the police watchdog, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and that the internal investigation concluded that the allegations were "unsubstantiated" and that the findings were relayed by the OIPRD to May.
The file was closed in May 2019, the OPP's statement said.
May told CBC News he doesn't remember ever receiving the results of the investigation from the OIPRD. The lawsuit claims he suffered the worst during the takedown. He was not only thrown to the ground and punched but also repeatedly Tasered to the point where he lost control of his bodily functions, according to the statement of claim.
"I could hear myself screaming," May said in an interview with CBC News outside his home, at the spot where the incident occurred on Sept. 15, 2018.
The statement of claim alleges that the officers "illegally" detained May and Keeshig, not informing them the reason for their arrest. The document said the brothers were the victims of "assault and battery" at the hands of the officers.
The legal action takes place at a time of awareness of racial profiling by the police against Black and Indigenous people and amid worldwide protests over recent high-profile incidents of police brutality. Two Indigenous people in Canada were shot and killed by police in New Brunswick within a span of eight days in June. Chantal Moore, 26, was killed by police in Edmundston during a wellness check at her home, while the RCMP fatally shot Rodney Levi, 48, of Metepenagiag First Nation.
#Ottawa;#IndigenousPeople; #IGPP; #Sustainability; #Biodiversity; #EcosystemConservation
Ottawa, Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Government of Canada announced July 22 $600,000 in funding for 10 new projects across the country for the period 2020–2021 in the First Nations tier 1 stream under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program ( IGPP), media reports said.
Jonathan Wilkinson. Image credit: Twitter handle
A joint working group of First Nations experts and federal representatives selected 10 successful projects out of more than 100 proposals against rigorous criteria for their benefit to Indigenous communities and sustainability.
Being leaders in environmental stewardship, sustainable development, and natural resource management, Indigenous-led work would be advanced by IGPP to protect and conserve ecosystems, develop and maintain sustainable economies, and reinforce cultural connection to the land.
"Indigenous Peoples have protected nature since time immemorial, which is why we are pleased to support their leadership in safeguarding our natural environment—for now and for generations to come,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Indigenous Environment Network. Image credit: Twitter handle
"It means...more lands and waters will be managed for the benefit of all, ” Valérie Courtois, Director of Indigenous Leadership Initiative.
This would also result in creation of both seasonal and full-time employment opportunities for the indigenous people as their territories contain as much as 80 percent of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity.
#UN; #WHO; #Covid19; #IndigenousAmericans;
New York, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): With the Americas still the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the region’s indigenous people is of deep concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The Bogotá Ministry of Health have sent a Muisca nurse to Suba, in the north of Bogotá, Colombia, to check on the local indigenous population.
Image credit: PAHO/Karen González Abril
More than 70,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported among this population as of 6 July, according to the UN agency.
There have been at least six cases among the Nahua people, who live in the Peruvian Amazon, latest information has revealed.
A vulnerable population
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that because indigenous people are among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable groups, they are especially at risk of contracting the disease.
“Like other vulnerable groups, indigenous peoples face many challenges. This includes a lack of political representation, economic marginalization and lack of access to health, education and social services”, he said, speaking from Geneva during the regular crisis update.
“Indigenous peoples often have a high burden of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and both communicable and non-communicable diseases, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its severe outcomes.”
Stepping up action
WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas recently published recommendations for preventing and responding to COVID-19 among indigenous peoples.
The agency also is working with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, to step up the fight against the disease.
Lessons learned from Ebola
WHO also used the briefing to underline the importance of contact tracing to suppress COVID-19 transmission among indigenous communities and the population at large.
The process is essential as more countries begin to re-open after lifting lockdown measures.
“One of the lessons from the recent Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was declared over the last month, is that contact tracing can be done even in the most difficult circumstances, with security problems”, Tedros told journalists.
Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, said contact tracing helps break further transmission of COVID-19, thus reducing its caseload and impact.
“What we need to understand is that contact tracing is not an isolated practice. It is part of the best practices for epidemiology,” he said, speaking in French.
Experimental vaccine ‘good news’WHO has welcomed promising news about a potential vaccine against COVID-19, as research into treatments in multiple countries, continues.
An experimental vaccine developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, appears safe and triggers an immune response, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
“It is good news”, said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, though he cautioned that “the data is very new”.
Dr. Ryan said the vaccine was given to 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years. None appeared to suffer any serious adverse effects, other than chills, muscle aches and headaches, which were expected.
“But again, there is a long way to go”, he said. “These are phase one studies. We now need to move into large-scale, real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery.”
Dr. Ryan reported that 23 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are currently in clinical development.
#UN: #UNOCHA; #Columbia; #Amazon Trapeze; #Covid19Pandemic; #Indigenous; #INGO
Columbia/UNOCHA, Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of health systems and the plight of particularly vulnerable groups around the world, UNOCH reports said.
The city of Leticia, Colombia. Image Credit: UNICEF/Diego López
Indigenous peoples, including those in Latin America, are facing several challenges that threaten their very survival. People living in remote areas along the Amazon river have witnessed the highest transmission rates in the country, partially due to their insufficient access to basic health and sanitation services.
“It’s worrying to see the vulnerability of these populations, mainly indigenous, in a region where there is limited institutional presence and significant logistical challenges,” says Claudia Rodriguez Burrell, the head of OCHA in Colombia. “The needs assessment mission, we were able to deploy in the Amazonas department in May, evidenced the multiple needs and challenges communities in the region are facing. We are pleased a first joint UN and INGO response was rapidly mobilized, but much more needs to be done.”
The OCHA/Mecanismo Intersectorial de Respuesta en Emergencias (MIRE) Consortium evaluation mission in some rural areas of the so-called Amazon Trapeze, which has registered the highest infection rates in Latin America, found that more than 21,000 people from 54 communities had compounded multisectoral needs related to access to sanitation, health and food. Among these, 19 communities along the Amazon river lacked access to health services and clean water. Urban centres, where many people from the area – including from neighbouring countries – seek access to basic services, also require humanitarian action.