Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is projected to form a minority government after Monday night’s midterm election, putting the Liberal Party in Ottawa at the top again for a sixth year.
current prime minister often said“No relationship is more important to Canada than relations with Indigenous peoples,” but Indigenous leaders across the country have criticized the lack of attention cohesion received during the campaign.
Still, some experts predict that Monday night’s result represents a “turning point” in the path of the federal government with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Indigenous policy analyst Rus Diabo said the discovery of mass unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools in BC and Saskatchewan prompted immediate action from the Trudeau government, and he predicted that momentum within the party would continue.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, in a day he proclaimed an indigenous governor general, flew to Saskatchewan to visit the Cowes mass grave site, and signed a child and family services agreement with the Cowess,” he explained. .
“Then his government signed an agreement with the Manitoba Métis Federation on the same day. So (he) managed to cover three classes of indigenous people in one day…. You know, it’s kind of a twist.”
a re-elected liberal government Has promised “Tackling the legacy of residential schools” by appointing a special negotiator to work with indigenous communities and governments on a regulatory framework that will “advance justice” relating to unspecified graves and burial sites.
Trudeau has also promised funding for discoveries for communities that want him, as well as expediting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action and violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people. His government’s action plan has also been promised to eliminate
No new deadlines or dollar figures were announced during the campaign for those reasons.
Since 2015, liberals have kept some promises and broken others, but Diabo said they have not implemented the structural reform that indigenous advocates are calling for.
The Trudeau government did not replace the power systems that perpetuated poverty in Indigenous communities across the country, he explained, but instead split Indigenous affairs into two separate departments “without consultation.”
Diabo said Trudeau would continue to pour billions into First Nations, Inuit and Metis programming — welcome funding — but within the same problematic, colonial system.
“The Liberal government takes the kind of approach that they’re going to recognize collective rights, but they unilaterally define what those rights are.”
Trudeau has committed to an Indigenous-led transition away from the Indian Act, to resolve outstanding land claims, and to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Their platform includes “fair and equitable compensation” for those harmed by the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, 3,300 new Indigenous child-care spaces, and a permanent home for the National Truth and Reconciliation Center.
It also outlines select financial commitments, including an additional $1.4 billion for First Nations, Inuit and Métis mental health and wellness strategies, $2 billion for Indigenous housing, and “necessary” to eliminate the remaining boil water advice on reserves. any investment”.
“It feels good — if they do,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, shortly after the platform was first announced.
“And it’s always been ‘if they do it’ where there have been serious problems.”
Blackstock lamented the lack of accountability mechanisms baked into the document, and is uncertain how a re-elected Liberal government will perform in development.
“Often the government wants to apologise and then deliver a ‘let’s move on’ speech before it can hold itself accountable and demonstrate that it has learned.”
Indigenous public policy expert Ken Coates said the liberal leader could face a “reality check” in many ways as he tackles a list of promises “over your arm.”
At some point, he explained, Trudeau will have to grapple with items of action like Canada’s post-pandemic pocketbook, and advice on boiling water with an “element of paternalism” in his historical approach.
“Once you’ve got clean water, that’s only part of the solution,” Coates explained, citing various infrastructure issues that haven’t made the Liberal campaign a highlight reel.
He said Trudeau favored indigenous “protesters” over indigenous peoples who support oil and gas development projects, and they would need to reconcile this – especially as he aims to rebuild the economy.
Coates predicted that First Nations, Inuit and Métis would play a more prominent, public role in shaping policy approaches going forward.
If he lives up to the confidence of the House of Commons, Coates said Trudeau will have to repair a “real scar” in his relationship with indigenous peoples – the mistreatment of former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
The first Indigenous person to hold the position was kicked out of the caucus in 2019 after clashes over how a potential criminal case against Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin should be handled.
“I think they misunderstood how important this was to Indigenous politicians and people across the country,” said Coates, Canada Research Chair at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
“If the government is really serious about long-term changes and long-term development, they really have to focus on that individual side and give real importance to more indigenous people standing next to the government. Jodi the way Wilson-Raybould did it.”