Thursday, May 26, 2022

Tallying reconciliation

Eva Jewell, an indigenous sociologist, and historian Ian Mosby, both of the (newly renamed) Toronto Metropolitan University, have a strong piece in the Globe and Mail that draws on their annual report for the Yellowhead Institute on implementation progress on the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Or, rather, lack of action: they count 11 actions completed since 2015. And these have been "actions that require little in the way of structural change and are largely symbolic in nature."

One of the most telling failures on Canada’s part is that four of the legacy calls to action simply ask that meaningful benchmarks and annual reporting requirements be established in areas such as child welfare (Call No. 2), education (Call No. 9), health (Call No. 19) and justice (Call No. 30). None of these have been completed.

If Canada can’t even report the truth about the way Indigenous peoples are treated in this country, how can we ever expect it to make lasting and meaningful change?

Jewell and Mosby note that simply ticking off boxes on an implementation chart has significant limitations, given that action on some Calls would be much more transformational than others, but they intend to continue their annual reports. At least until someone else takes up the benchmarking called for.

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