For immediate release
September 23, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is issuing this statement in response to the Speech from the Throne, which was shared in Ottawa earlier today.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee provides this statement in response to the speech:
“Today’s Speech from the Throne contains many measures that are of utmost importance to Northern First Nations. Some issues addressed in the speech that respond to urgent needs in Northern Manitoba include:
- the need to reduce homelessness;
- the need to improve infrastructure;
- identifying support for shelters and transitional housing for women escaping violence;
- developing a universal broadband fund to bring connectivity to all Northern and isolated First Nations;
- the need to address systemic racism;
- investments in clean drinking water;
- expediting work to co-develop health legislation for Indigenous peoples;
- reforming the criminal justice system, the modernization of police training, and the recognition of First Nation policing as an essential service; and
- of course, the ongoing need to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MKO is a willing to work with the federal and provincial governments to address issues of co-development of legislation identified in the Speech from the Throne. The co-development of ‘distinctions-based‘ Indigenous health legislation with First Nations and a legislative framework for First Nations policing as an essential service requires the engagement by the provinces, including Manitoba. MKO First Nations are working toward a regional First Nations police force and must be included in the co-development process.
MKO also supports the the need for clean energy in the MKO territory. We need to move away from being reliant on diesel fuel in four MKO First Nations.
The Speech from the Throne also expressed that the government plans to ‘make additional resiliency investments to meet the clean drinking water commitment in First Nations.’ MKO will seek information on how the government of Canada seeks to address the issue of improved clean drinking water in our First Nations. Many of our water systems require upgrades. MKO supports additional resourcing to ensure clean drinking water for First Nations citizens.
The issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) continues to be a priority for MKO. The speech mentions the need to accelerate work on a National Action Plan to respond to the National Inquiry on MMIWG. The Inquiry tabled its final report over one year ago—there is an urgent need for the government to develop this action plan, in partnership with MKO. This work is essential to saving the lives of Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit, and gender-diverse people.
I am once again calling for a Northern roundtable in MKO territory to bring together Northern First Nation leaders and federal cabinet ministers. Any legislation or policy must use a co-development approach with Northern rights holders having a seat at every negotiating table.”