Killing of Indigenous man stokes racial tensions in Saskatchewan
- Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man belonging to the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed by a farmer while driving with four friends on private property near Glenside.
- The shooter was arrested and charged with second-degree homicide, but First Nation leaders have accused the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of releasing a prejudicial press release to bias public opinion against the victim.
- A torrent of racist social media comments led the Saskatchewan premier to issue a warning that laws would be enforced to prosecute online hate speech.
“Racial tensions flare in Saskatchewan after shooting of Indigenous man” (The Guardian)
“Racial tensions flare in Saskatchewan after killing of First Nations man” (The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail)
“‘We are all in shock’: 22-year-old man fatally shot in farmyard, 54-year-old man charged with murder” (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)
(Image Credit: via The Guardian)
PM Trudeau forms most diverse government in Canadian history
- Fulfilling a campaign promise, Trudeau has created a gender-equal 30-member cabinet “because it’s 2015,” as he bluntly stated at a press conference unveiling his new government.
- The cabinet also includes the country’s first Muslim minister, two indigenous ministers, three Sikhs, and two ministers with disabilities.
- Trudeau’s cabinet is also relatively youthful, with most ministers under the age of 50, reflecting Trudeau’s commitment to generational change.
“A Canadian Cabinet for 2015” (The Atlantic)
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils diverse cabinet in touching ceremony” (The Star)
“Trudeau gives Canada first cabinet with equal number of men and women” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Chris Wattle/Reuters, via the Atlantic)
Canadian elections bring significant victories for women, First Nations, and other minorities
- A wave of victories swept a record 10 new indigenous MPs (eight Liberal and two NDP) into the House of Commons as preliminary reports indicate higher than normal turnout rates among indigenous Canadian communities.
- Women won 88 seats, increasing their representation to 26%, while new PM Justin Trudeau has promised to have equal gender representation in his Cabinet.
- Six Muslims won seats during an election cycle that saw religious freedom issues contentiously debated, and visible minority representation increased to 13.6% from 9.7% in 2011.
“Record 10 indigenous MPs elected to the House of Commons” (CBC News)
“On-reserve voters endure lines and ballot issues for historic election” (The Globe and Mail)
“Women and visible minorities make election gains” (Yahoo! News)
(Image Credit: CBC)
First Nations leaders take on Big Oil over massive proposed pipeline in Canada
- First Nations leaders have joined environmental activists in opposing the proposed Northern Gateway, a 731-mile tar sands pipeline stretching from central Alberta to the British Columbian coast.
- The pipeline has become a political battleground as PM Stephen Harper has vowed to make Canada an “energy superpower,” while Alberta’s premier has been enlisted by pipeline company Enbridge to negotiate with First Nations leaders.
- Eight First Nations have taken the issue to court in what became the longest case heard before Canada’s federal court of appeals, claiming a faulty approval process, negligent environmental impact studies, and encroachment on First Nations’ rights.
“Indigenous Canadians take leading role in battle against tar sands pipeline” (The Guardian)
“First Nations’ challenges of Northern Gateway pipeline to be heard in court” (The Globe and Mail)
“Northern Gateway pipeline battle could set tone for future government, aboriginal relations” (The Canadian Press via The Vancouver Sun)
(Image Credit: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press, via The Vancouver Sun)
Canadian aboriginal women overrepresented as homicide victims, most often at the hands of their own families and communities
- Despite representing only 4.3% of the population, aboriginal women represent 16% of female homicide victims nationwide.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has identified the need to develop new crime prevention strategies in the aboriginal community, which suffers from high levels of poverty, family breakdown, lower life expectancy, and other security-sceptic phenomena.
- In addition to the 1,017 murdered between 1980 and 2012, another 108 are missing cases from the period.
“Aboriginal women continue to be overrepresented among Canada’s missing and murdered women. And while I applaud the efforts of everyone who is working to lessen violence against aboriginal women, it is clear that much work remains to be done.”
Read the full story at the Guardian.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission finds government committed “cultural genocide” against Canadian indigenous peoples for more than a century.
- Report finds 3,201 died while in the schools–often because of mistreatment or neglect–though some research suggests more.
- The Commission offers 94 recommendations, including the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, child welfare system reform and amendment of Canada’s oath of citizenship.
- Canadian aboriginals still face structural inequality, being disproportionately incarcerated and present in child welfare caseloads.
More on this story at The New York Times.
Image Source: Library and Archive of Canada, via The New York Times