(OTTAWA) - As Canada gears up to celebrate its 150th anniversary, also known as the 150th anniversary of Confederation, many Indigenous peoples in Canada will be struggling with unresolved human rights abuses, including a lack of clean drinking water, discrimination against Indigenous children, and an inquiry into the unexplained deaths and disappearance of hundreds of Indigenous women across the country.
“Childcare advocates are still pressing the Government of Canada to comply with a ruling issued by the Human Rights Tribunal to end discrimination against First Nation children in Canada,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Advocates are pushing the federal government to abide by an order to provide equitable funding for child and family services on reserves. This year’s budget contained nothing to address this shortfall in funding. This blatant discrimination tarnishes Canada’s human rights record.”
The lives of Indigenous children are negatively impacted by this lack of action on the childcare file and this is compounded by difficult situations caused by a lack of clean drinking water in more than 100 First Nation communities, said Lorraine Rekmans, Indigenous Affairs Critic for the Green Party of Canada.
“There are still 150 communities that don’t have safe drinking water, and some of these boil-water advisories are more than two decades old. The lack of care and safety for Indigenous women is another issue at the heart of these abuses. First Nation communities are now in the midst of a national Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, where commissioners are examining the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience, and their greater vulnerability to violence. Commissioners will study the underlying historical, social, economic, institutional and cultural factors that contribute to the violence. The province of Québec has also recently launched a wide-ranging inquiry into systemic racism within the Sûreté du Québec after many allegations of abuse at the hands of police officers,” Rekmans said.
“All of these issues are indicators that Indigenous communities are under assault, either through neglect or from systemic racism. On National Aboriginal Day, it’s time Canadians soberly take stock of Canada’s track record on human rights here at home,” Rekmans concluded.
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