For 150 years Canada has a long and dismal record of systematically denying Indigenous children the most basic opportunities that other young Canadians take for granted – they must travel long distances away from their families for schooling, receive substandard medical care, and, too often, have few opportunities in their home communities.
That's why I am proposing accountability measures to protect the rights of Indigenous youth. One of the key steps is decolonizing the structures that have actively impeded Indigenous social development in Canada.
The Liberals have ignored four compliance orders of the Human Rights Tribunal and have ignored the order of Parliament to immediately end the underfunding of child welfare and fully implement Jordan’s Principle – we can and must do more.
What Charlie will do
Establish an Indigenous Children’s Ombudsperson.
Create a new, independent Officer of Parliament with responsibility for ensuring the compliance of all federal government departments with established policies aimed at promoting Indigenous child welfare. This independent Officer of Parliament will have the power to initiate investigations and respond to individual complaints. Uniquely among other Officers of Parliament, the Indigenous Children’s Ombudsperson will have order-making powers to compel the government to act when it is found in breach of its obligations to children.
Audit and dismantle INAC to return decision-making powers for education, health, and community development back to Indigenous communities.
As a first step, Charlie will order a full, independent audit and investigation of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Health Canada’s Indigenous programs. This will give the government and Indigenous peoples a clear picture of how the government operates programs. From there, the federal government will work with Indigenous peoples to identify the programs and priorities to be devolved, ensuring that program dollars are administered by the people they are supposed to serve.
Work with the Parliamentary Budget Office and Indigenous leadership to determine the true cost of service delivery.
Establishing the real costs of education, health, child welfare and other youth programs will lay the groundwork to ensure that these services are delivered by and for Indigenous people.
Ensure that Justice Canada acts in compliance with core human rights and freedoms, including Indigenous rights.
Amend the Department of Justice Act to include the obligation to comply with Section 35 rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: the Supreme Court has ruled that these two sets of rights are “sister provisions.”
At the same time, require the Justice Department to act in compliance with UNDRIP, TRC and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to end the longstanding practice of fighting and denying Indigenous rights in court
End the federal government’s culture of secrecy around Indigenous people.
The Auditor General and Parliamentary Budget Officer have pointed out in numerous reports that the federal government has been a black hole of accountability when it comes to Indigenous affairs. I will empower the Office of the Information Commissioner to ensure that all documents relating to public delivery of services from health, education, infrastructure, planning are made public.