In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its Executive Summary and 94 Calls to Action. Formed as a means of reckoning with the devastating legacy of assimilation and abuse left by residential schools, the TRC listened to stories from “thousands of residential school survivors” from 2008 to 2014 (CBC News). 

In all, the TRC collected “6,750 statements” (Yellowhead Institute) from survivors, their families, and others directly impacted by the residential school system. Based on those hearings, the TRC released the report that devised the 94 Calls to Action: instructions to guide governments, communities and faith groups towards reconciliation. 

On December 17, 2020, the Green Party of Canada released a press statement calling on the government to swiftly implement all Calls to Action outlined in the TRC report and the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

“Five years on and there are still Calls to Action that remain unfulfilled, and that is simply unacceptable,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “There was initial optimism when the TRC report was first released that the government would move expeditiously to implement all 94 recommendations, but unfortunately this has not been the case.” 

At Ryerson University, academics Eva Jewell and Ian Mosby co-authored a 2019 status update on behalf of the Yellowhead Institute. 

Jewell and Mosby revealed that in the first year of the Calls to Action’s implementation, there were only five calls to action that were completed. “And since 2016… only four more have been completed,” Jewell said in an interview with APTN News. “That gives us an average of about 2.25 calls to action being completed per year, which is dreadful progress.” At this rate, “it will be 2057 by the time all the calls are completed,” she said.

Last Updated: December 14, 2020

Source: CBC News

For the Green Party of Canada, this progress is “not good enough.” According to Senator Murray Sinclair, we are losing survivors of the residential school system every day, survivors who will be unable to “finally bear witness to significant change.” 

“In a year that has seen First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples continue to suffer from police brutality, racism and the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unfair and unjust that we are unable to fulfill promises made.”

Furthermore, Annamie Paul called attention to the outstanding long-term drinking water advisories in 41 Indigenous communities in Canada. “The suffering endured by people in these communities is unconscionable in a country as rich as Canada,” Ms. Paul stated. The Green Party of Canada requests that swift action be taken to remediate the outstanding drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, the “most basic of human rights.”

The Green Party calls for the immediate implementation of all 94 Calls to Action from the TRC, and that the calls for justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG be promptly enacted. As promised in June, the Green Party also requests the advancement of a national action plan to make life safer for Indigenous women and girls.

Margaret Saville

Margaret Saville studies psychology and political science at McGill University in Montreal, and would like to pursue political journalism. She was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Nelson, British Columbia. Her passions include environmentalism, literature and writing, and down-hill skiing. Margaret is committed to addressing social issues such as the climate change crisis, racial and gender inequality, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+ rights, and advocating for mental health awareness.

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