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June 7, 2021
The Hon. Cliff Cullen
Minister of Education
168 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
The Hon. Eileen Clarke
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations
301 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Dear Minister Cullen and Minister Clarke:
RE: Bill 64 – THE EDUCATION MODERNIZATION ACT
Request to Immediately Withdraw Bill
Tabling of Legislation Contrary to The Path to Reconciliation Act, C.C.S.M. c. R30.5
Further to the release in the Legislative Assembly of the text Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act in early March, 2021, MKO requests that the Bill be immediately withdrawn as your development and the introduction of the Bill are each contrary to The Path to Reconciliation Act, C.C.S.M. c. R30.5.
As well, MKO is deeply concerned about the fact that Bill 64 was introduced and given first reading on November 2, 2020 but the actual text of the bill was not distributed to MLAs or available to the public until early March, 2021, some four months later. Manitoba may be the only Commonwealth jurisdiction in the entire former British empire that does not provide the text of a bill at the same time as or very shortly following introduction and first reading, either by customary practice or by an express rule.
The Path to Reconciliation Act provides at section 1(1):
“Reconciliation” refers to the ongoing process of establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in order to build trust, affirm historical agreements, address healing and create a more equitable and inclusive society.
As defined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:
“The Commission defines reconciliation as an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships. A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by making apologies, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change. (…)”
Collectively, the development and introduction of Bill 64 is undemocratic, perpetuates colonialism and are inappropriate in light of Legislative Assembly’s endorsement of the principles of reconciliation, the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the principles of the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Legislative Assembly’s express direction as to the conduct of Members of the Executive Council through the Path to Reconciliation Act.
MKO says that there is nothing about the manner of the development and introduction to the Legislative Assembly of Bill 64 that is consistent with the concept and definition of reconciliation as set out in the Path to Reconciliation Act or by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. MKO calls on each of you to withdraw Bill 64 and to start over from the beginning to engage MKO and the MKO First Nations in a process that is reflective of “establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships” and that is consistent with The Path to Reconciliation Act.
Please contact Brennan Manoakeesick, Chief of Staff, at [email protected] or (204) 795-0449, to discuss and to confirm your responses to MKO’s third request.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
cc. MKO Executive Council
Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Office of the Auditor General of Manitoba
MKO First Nations