Indigenous Justice Agenda

Jagmeet Singh will reverse this shameful course and make substantial investments that support Indigenous leadership and the self-determination of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Indigenous Justice Agenda

In 2015, Canadians were asked to confront the discrimination and settler-colonial exploitation that runs thick through Canadian history, to acknowledge the hard truths of residential schools, and take action to make reconciliation a reality.

Despite their election promises, the Trudeau Liberals have continually failed to meet many of their most substantial promises to Indigenous peoples. They have come up short on education, on critical housing and water infrastructure, on mental health and suicide prevention, on the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), on equitable funding for public services and on implementing a true nation to nation agenda with First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

As Prime Minister, Jagmeet Singh will reverse this shameful course and make substantial investments that support Indigenous leadership and the self-determination of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Fulfilling Canada’s Constitutional and fiscal responsibilities

A Jagmeet-led government will fulfill Canada’s constitutional and fiscal responsibilities to Indigenous peoples in all sectors. This includes:

  • Compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings that call for ending the racially discriminatory underfunding of First Nations child and family welfare services. As NDP Leader, Jagmeet will immediately press the Trudeau government to close the $200 million funding gap and provide Indigenous children services comparable to those received by others as recommended by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.

  • Implementing Jordan’s Principle to ensure that the government of first contact in any service situation covers costs up front.

  • Increasing funding and removing the cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) so that all First Nations Students, including students on current wait lists, can attend the post-secondary institutions of their choice. This also includes honouring the Daniels decision to ensure that Métis and Non-Status Indians also have access to PSSSP.

  • Creating a post-secondary education grant program to fund graduate level education for Indigenous students in mental health fields.

  • Holding the Trudeau government accountable to its commitments to close the multi-billion-dollar funding deficit for First Nations education, housing, and boil water advisories on reserves, by providing adequate funding in the 2018 budget.

  • Immediately ending the discriminatory 2% funding cap on education.

  • Heeding calls of Indigenous leaders to increase investment in the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy to $2.4 billion over 10 years.

  • Initiating a multi-governmental council with the provinces, territories and First Nations to address the crisis of foster care overrepresentation. 

An UNDRIP-informed partnership with Indigenous communities

As Prime Minister, Jagmeet will develop an approach to alter the colonial nature of Crown and Indigenous relations that is in line with international instruments (UNDRIP), the Royal Commision on Aboriginal Peoples, the TRC Calls to Action, and collaborates with Indigenous governance structures. 

A Jagmeet-led government will actively work in true partnership with Indigenous communities to reimagine Canada’s relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit. This means implementing the spirit and intent of Treaties and addressing the long-standing issues of breaches to the Crown’s Treaty obligations. 

Jagmeet is committed to:

  • Adopting and fully implementing the principles of UNDRIP, including free, prior and informed consent in cases like new natural resource projects. To ensure that the constitutional and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples are being honoured, Jagmeet will establish an independent UNDRIP commissioner’s office. Complete with Indigenous legal expertise, this office will receive UNDRIP violation complaints and challenges related to resource development and other issues, and will help the government determine whether a project is consistent with UNDRIP.

  • Respecting constitutionally-protected Aboriginal and treaty rights, inherent rights and First Nations jurisdictions, and Aboriginal title as as outlined in the Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot'in Nation v British Columbia decision. Immediately ending federal court cases that contravene this respect.

  • Strengthening the federal environmental assessment process to ensure that the government acts in good faith when carrying out the duty to free, prior, and informed consent with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities

  • Establish a modern treaty process with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities to strengthen self-governance over health, education and social services, and to ensure that Canada’s constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples are delivered. This modern treaty process must address the enduring legacy of settler-colonialism in Canada, and establish a robust UNDRIP framework for collaborative care, management and governance of lands and fisheries between Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories and the federal government.

  • Consult a cross-section of Indigenous representatives in naming the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Minister of Indigenous Services.

Investing in Indigenous languages

The inherent value and vibrancy of Indigenous culture should be respected, celebrated and given the resources to flourish. Currently, there are more than 60 Indigenous languages being spoken in Canada, but only three are predicted to survive unless there is drastic action. Ensuring the health and viability of Indigenous languages is key to the self-determination of Indigenous peoples.

From the Indian Act to residential schools, Canada is directly responsible for the decline of Indigenous languages, and thus needs to play a key role in their protection and revitalization.

That’s why, as Prime Minister Jagmeet will: 

  • Introduce an Indigenous Languages Act that will provide support to Indigenous communities seeking to protect, preserve, and grow their languages.

  • Recognize in law that Indigenous language speakers - like English and French language speakers - have the right to have their children educated in their language.

  • Consult with Indigenous communities on how the government should take responsibility for the decline in Indigenous languages and develop a framework for Indigenous language revitalization.

  • Commit to federal funding for the development and implementation of fully-immersive Indigenous language education. Incentivize secondary and post-secondary systems to develop these programs in accordance with the federal framework outlined above.

Taking meaningful action on Reconciliation

The legacy of Canada’s settler-colonial history, including residential schools, the infamous North West Half-Breed Commission and forced Inuit relocation, must be acknowledged and broadly understood by Canadians. Jagmeet is committed to implementing all TRC calls to action under federal jurisdiction, on a priority basis established in consultation with Indigenous communities.

This work must begin immediately.

As set out in the TRC’s calls to action, a Jagmeet-led government will start by working in collaboration with residential school survivors, their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, in order to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools National Monument in Ottawa to honour Survivors and the children who were lost to their families and communities. 

As Leader, Jagmeet will call on the Trudeau government to immediately set up annual Parliamentary monitoring and a National Council for Reconciliation (as outlined in TRC calls to action 53-56). This Council will immediately set benchmarks to measure the progress made in implementing the TRC’s recommendations. The Council will be an independent, national oversight body to monitor, evaluate, and report annually to Parliament.

Action and justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and their families

For decades, Indigenous women have led the fight for justice for their missing and murdered loved ones through advocacy and organizing. The MMIWG inquiry is the result of the love, courage and resiliency of MMIWG families.

As Indigenous grassroots organizers and the families of MMIWG have emphasized, the inquiry is not and cannot be the end. More action is needed and that action is needed urgently.

As Leader, Jagmeet will immediately press the federal government to: 

  • Create a National Monument in Ottawa to honour MMIWG victims and their families

  • Update the the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference to include police misconduct, and systemic racism in policing in order to promote the accountability and transparency of the RCMP. 

  • Expand the mandate of the inquiry - based on the feedback of Indigenous families, experts and advocates - to explicitly include the ability to investigate relevant federal, provincial and municipal police forces, including individual cases of misconduct, sexual and race-based violence. 

  • Strengthen public resourcing of the Native Women's Association of Canada. This includes increased funding to support regional family and survivor support programming as well as increased capacity for violence prevention programming.

  • Support and resource Indigenous women’s leadership in community advocacy through an investment in Indigenous women’s legal education. 

  • Create national advocacy centres for MMIWG that would function as a resource for families and survivors of MMIWG.

  • Invest in First Nations community-based MMIWG prevention centres informed by Indigenous cultural teachings and values. These centres would develop educational and mental health outreach programming for domestic violence prevention, skills and job training, cultural support, elder-involved child care, and harm and risk-reduction health services.

  • Guarantee ongoing mental health services for MMIWG family and survivors, including the funding of Indigenous healing and cultural practitioners.

  • Support and invest in resourcing Indigenous sexual health education, including the work of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and programming focused on violence prevention for sex workers.

  • Fund the creation of Indigenous Women and Girls Research Chairs (IWGRC) in every Canadian province to support Indigenous scholars who will work in collaboration with the Inquiry.

  • Establish a forum of federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous partners to recommend a pathway to develop self-governing, Indigenous-led community-policing.

Invest in women’s shelters in Northern and rural communities

Victims fleeing violence should not have to choose between leaving their communities and being safe. As Prime Minister, Jagmeet will collaborate with provinces, territories and National Indigenous Organizations to develop a comprehensive strategy that provides much needed women’s shelters in Northern and rural communities.

To start, Jagmeet will immediately invest $250 million - half of the budget that was spent to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation - to invest in new facilities. He also commits to providing stable funding, not only to build new facilities and services, but also to repair and upgrade existing services.