Former NCTR director says National Council for Reconciliation is vital

As Bill C-29, the proposed legislation that will officially create a National Council for Reconciliation (NCR) moves through the Parliamentary process, Ry Moran says residential school survivors are closer to having a government body that will hold the government to account.

The NCR was listed as call to action 53 in the Truth and Reconciliations final report.

The former director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation says for years people have been asking him, “how are we doing, where are we at, when it comes to implementing the calls to action.”

“It’s going to hold the government to account, it’s also going to establish multi-year plans for further achievements and problem-solving.”

Moran said there are still a lot of questions around the NCR including whether it will have the necessary resources and money to do its work.

“There are funds set aside, there’s some money for a start-up phase and also ongoing operations, but I think its fair to say, this councils work is very broad,” he told Nation to Nation. “It’s actually a lot of work and we have to see whether or not this council is properly supported with the financial resources it needs.”

Sterilization report in Quebec

A new report out of Quebec brings to light the issue of forced sterilization of Indigenous women in that province.

Patricia Bouchard, co-author of “Free and Informed Consent and Imposed Sterilizations,” said discrimination played the role in many of the incidents documented, which took place since the 1980s.

Bouchard said there’s a lot of pain and mistrust when it comes to treatment in health care, but the women agreed to speak up with the hope it will not happen again to other indigenous women.

She said many women were told, “you have too many children, you are going to end up in poverty. You should just close your legs next time, so you don’t have any more children.”

“There were also many instances of the disrespect of the free and informed consent of these ladies,” said Bouchard. “They were proposed the tubal ligation while they were in labor.”

Of the 35 participants, the report found 22 cases of forced sterilization.

Man camps

Also on Nation to Nation, the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women has been studying the link between resource extraction projects and violence against Indigenous women.

It is expected to present a draft report to Parliament in the coming days.

It’s something Lisa Smith will be watching for.

Smith, senior director of governance for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, testified at the committee last September.

At that time, she told them, “resource extraction projects usually create environments best described as boom towns or man camps, where transient, non-Indigenous men, who are paid high salaries, come to work on these sites.

“These sites are reported to have increased rates of sexual violence and human trafficking.”

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report released in 2019 also made recommendations about man camps and the association with violence against Indigenous women.

“We have the tools, now all of us, not just governments, not just civil societies, all Canadians must implement the calls for justice immediately,” said Smith.