All topics impacting the indigenous population.

First indigenous Supreme Court nominee

Michelle O’Bonsawin, an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation in Ontario, has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the first indigenous member of the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been a judge in the Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa since 2017 and before that was general counsel for a mental health hospital in Ottawa and has worked with the RCMP and Canada Post. [node:read-more:link]

Feds back indigenous fight against Quebec

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu supports indigenous communities’ calls for exemption from Quebec legislation limiting the use of English in the public service and increasing French-language requirements in schools. “We cannot put barriers in the way of children striving to reach their full potential, including barriers that involve language,",” she said. “We will continue to stand by and defend the leaders with whom I have the opportunity to work.” [node:read-more:link]

Compensation deal for indigenous children

The Assembly of First Nations and the federal government have announced a final compensation package for indigenous children discriminated against for decades in how government services were provided. The $20-million settlement must be approved by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court of Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Francophone legal challenge for GG

Governor General Mary Simon’s lack of fluency in French has prompted a group led by a former Parti Québécois leadership hopeful to file suit against her appointment on ground that it violates a constitutional requirement that the vice-regal representative, A Quebec-born Inuk who speaks English and Inuktitut, speak both official languages. The move in Quebec Superior Court follows a successful attempt by New Brunswick Acadians to have the appointment of their anglophone Lieutenant-Governor declared unconstitutional. [node:read-more:link]

N.B. power reactor relicensed

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the operating licence for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick for 10 years only days before its current licence was set to expire. NB Power had requested a 25-year renewal for the reactor, which began generating power in 1983, but the regulator said June 22 that 10 years was “appropriate” due to “strong public interest” in a series of hearings. [node:read-more:link]

Residential schools also a U.S. problem

As Canada continues to grapple with its history of residential schools’ abuse of indigenous children, U.S. government investigators reported May 11 that they had found at least 53 separate burial sites at Native American boarding schools where families were forced to send their children as part of an assimilation program. The initial findings have prompted officials to speculate that the number of victims could be in the tens of thousands. [node:read-more:link]

Pope apologizes for residential schools

In a move survivors and their families have been awaiting for decades, Pope Francis apologized today to Canada’s indigenous communities for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential schools tragedy. “I am very sorry, and I joined my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon,” the Pontiff told a gathering at the Vatican. “I’m also feeling shame . . . [node:read-more:link]

Liberals form pact with NDP

A “supply and confidence” agreement with the New Democratic Party is designed to ensure the Liberals’ hold on governance until 2025 in return for commitments to cooperate on key policy areas. Those include climate change, health care spending, indigenous reconciliation, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable. However, the deal confirmed March 22 does not give the NDP a seat at the cabinet table. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta blocking First Nation?

A First Nation in south-central Alberta is accusing the provincial government of ignoring federal legislation which would enable it to control its own child welfare services. The tribe sought an agreement with the two levels of government in October 2020 under the auspices of Bill C-92, passed by Parliament in June 2019, which permits indigenous jurisdiction. The legislation states that if an agreement isn’t in place within a year of the request, indigenous law takes precedence. [node:read-more:link]

Details of draft First Nations deal released

The government and First Nations leaders today unveiled details of their agreement-in-principle to provide $20 billion in compensation to children and their families harmed by an underfunded child welfare system and to spend an equivalent amount on long-term reforms [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa closed-mouth on schools case

The federal government is refusing to explain its decision to abandon a compensation lawsuit against Catholic church over the treatment of indigenous children at residential schools. Some of more than a dozen current or former cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats have said they likely have relevant documents but have declined to make them public. [node:read-more:link]

Australia takes inquiry cue from Canada

Australia is planning an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and children after its Senate approved a motion to form a committee to investigate systemic causes of violence. One of the motion’s sponsors, Lidia Thorpe, an indigenous member of the Greens Party who has lost family members, told the Senate that there was never any justice for the victims “because they weren’t important enough for investigations to happen.” [node:read-more:link]

$40 billion for indigenous children

The federal government is setting aside $40 billion for First Nations child welfare in a bid to comply with a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal directive as well as deal with two class-action lawsuits. The tribunal ordered the government in 2019 to compensate each child and guardian who was denied services on their reserve or forced to leave to access services. [node:read-more:link]

Montrealers charged with firearms offences

Two Montreal-area men have been charged after the seizure in Ontario of 59 restricted weapons and 110 large-capacity magazines. The RCMP, which worked with Ontario and Quebec provincial police and Akwesasne Mohawk Police, have confirmed that a boat, which was seen Nov. 26 with large sacks, had offloaded its cargo to a vehicle in Cornwall and was intercepted by the RCMP. [node:read-more:link]


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