The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) report on the ongoing trauma from the residential school system was recently released. The Harper administration’s participation was marked by its virtual silence. This sad chapter of Canadian history must be fully heard. The consequences continue to reverberate. We cannot say 'we didn't know'.
Truth telling begins the process of healing. Reconciliation needs much more. It has never been so important for Canadians to work together for social justice. We can create a diverse Canadian culture of respect, acceptance and understanding, a Canada where all children are valued and treated with compassion.
In Elizabeth's words: "Reconciliation means forging new relationships in the light of this history - extending the respect and equality to First Nations that has been withheld for generations. These recommendations give us the means to work with aboriginal communities to begin to overcome the historical and ongoing injustices of brutal colonialism and cultural genocide. We can, and must, all take action to redress the legacy of residential schools."
On July 8th, 2015 Elizabeth's spoke at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly in Montreal highlighting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, what needs to happen now, and how we need to learn from FN peoples to have stronger respect for people and our environment.
The Green vision for reconciliation begins with the formal recognition of the cultural genocide from the residential school system and its ongoing consequences. The second step is the creation of a new system for decision-making in partnership. Elizabeth described this as a better version of the council of the first ministers. The new council would have representation from federal, First Nations, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Its mandate would be to work together, in respect, to collectively address the pressing challenges facing us all.
See Elizabeth's compelling presentation at the First Nations Assembly here. For more information on the Green Party platform, see Vision Green.