Transcript - Anti-Racism Directorate Thunder Bay public meeting
The Anti-Racism Directorate held its eighth public community meeting on November 26, 2016 at the Vinci Centre in Thunder Bay.
Read the transcript below to learn more about what we heard during our meeting.
The following is a transcript created with real-time captioning software. It is not verbatim and may contain errors. This transcript may not be copied or disseminated to anyone else unless you obtain written permission from the Anti-Racism Directorate. This transcript may not be used in a court of law. This transcript has been lightly edited to protect the privacy of those who attended the meeting.
>> Ginelle: Good Afternoon, everyone. Just to give you an update, we're slightly delayed, but we will be starting shortly, so continue to socialize amongst yourselves and we'll let you know when we're ready to get going. Thank you so very much for your patience.
>> Elder Gerry: Ready? Okay. The Minister is kind of busy with the press right now, so we can do the smudge without him, with or without him. We'll start that off. And I say washte, greetings, earthlings. As, you should know you are smack dab in Anishinaabe territory of the Fort William First Nation lands. Just across the river. I was asked to do this smudge and opening prayer for this occasion. I remember one time when I was here, some of you may have been here, we did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It was very heavy. I remember when the smudge and smoke was up there and it was swirling around, a lot of hurt feelings and spirits were here, and since then we have moved forward and come forward with the representations, which hopefully will be healing and helpful to our Anishinaabe population across this great land of ours. But for today, I will ask the Great Spirit to let the good spirits come here. Help us so that we can hear the Great Spirit’s voice in the wind. It is the Great Spirit who gives life to all the world that we live in, no matter where you are. I ask that you reflect on your deity if you have one, if you believe in one. Think of your family, your children, your ancestors, and all that we have that gives us the good life. So bear with me.
[Speaking in Anishinaabe]
>> Elder Gerry: Thank the Creator for our children, everything that we have, our ancestors, the land, the Great Spirit, Mother Earth, friendship, and camaraderie and all that we have. Be grateful. Let the gentle spirit of kindness and compassion attend us here this afternoon and be with all of us. All our days. Meegwetch. You can come up if you want a smudge, or do you want me to walk around the room? Okay. I'm going around.
>> Ginelle: Good Afternoon. I'm pleased to welcome all of you to this public meeting in Thunder Bay, one of several meetings The Ontario government is holding across the province to hear from the public about key systemic racism issues and priorities. I'm Ginelle Skerritt and I'm the Executive Director of Warden Woods Community Center, which is located in southwest Scarborough, and I'll be your moderator for this afternoon, I should say. So as I introduce more formally Elder Gerry Martin, I'd ask him to come on up, please. Now, in my tradition, we have to always approach Elders, but the microphone is here, so thank you so much. So I'm giving you the gift of tobacco, and this is representative of bringing truth and awareness and the willingness to listen to our gathering here today, and respect. So Gerry is a former nurse and a student of traditional Aboriginal healing methods. He is a member of Matagami Nation First Nation of Ojibwas near Timmons. He feels comfortable teaching, learning, and sharing his knowledge of traditional Aboriginal methods and considers it a lifelong journey to learn more. He is a son, father, grandfather, and great grandpa who follows his destiny and enjoys life to the fullest. We're ready for you now.
>> Elder Gerry: Greetings. What my introduction should say is that I am an only child of a single parent Ojibwa mom and I was born at Catsunbu Salvation Army hospital, December 1978 in a blinding snowstorm. Weeks earlier, my mother was wandering the streets of Montreal, homeless without support and family. She is a survivor of Shinwak residential school and I was her gift and she just wanted a place to have me, and it was the Salvation Army I endearingly call them the Sally Hats, they took her in and they helped her and they asked her if she wanted to keep me or give me up. She said, no, I'm going to keep him. Growing up in Montreal, didn't take long until I realized that I was darker. It was a lot darker when I was a kid than I am now. She said, Sonny boy, keep the Anishinaabe. Say that. Anishinaabe. It was difficult, and I hated it. She was raped twice by non-natives and thrown in the ditch and left for dead. And I was only a little boy. And I held her head. It seemed so big. I said, Mommy I love you. I love you. I'll protect you. My mother wasn't the only one unfortunately. It happens far too often to our women. Those of us that were children grew up in this kind of environment of violence and cut off from our families and our communities, our culture, separated. In this land, this country that is ours for thousands of years. She made sure that I knew where I was and where I came from. And now, and you're not going to be able to translate it, I say (speaking in Anishinaabe), which is saying my spirit name. Where I'm from, which is First Nation. Which clan do I belong to? Makwa Bears We're the healers. Being a Pipe Carrier, and also being a Medicine Person. And I wear this one here today, the Medicine Wheel, because this is all inclusive. It has all four races of human beings on this planet. We don't own it. We are keepers of the land. And we are fortunate, the Anishinaabe people on our land, that we have good teachings that have kept us here, survived here for at least 13,000 years. We've been on the land around here, recently been called superior. We have a rich culture and heritage, and I try to teach our young people, at the college, University, or with Metawa Tribal council, to be proud of our heritage who we are and where we come from. I wish we didn't have to have a session like this in Thunder Bay, but I know our Chief knows about it and some of our counselors. It’s still going on. Years later, our women are being raped, beaten up, thrown aside like a piece of trash. There is an element in this society, not just in this community, but in other cities and urban centers, that look at us because of our skin colour, because of our culture, our language that we're less of a human being. But I don't see all of the nonnatives are like that. We have friends. You will walk with us before many times when we protest. And that’s where I count where our friends are, having been a soldier and served three years in Canadian Armed Forces here back in the sixties. I learned about bravery and who’s with you and who’s not with you, and a lot of blowhards say, let’s go out there and kick some butt and tally hoe. And then when you get up and go over the top and you're running towards the enemy. You're going to confront and look who’s on your side. And who do you see? Those are your comrades and your friends. So when we March and protest and we beat our drum, I look to see who is with us and I see these counselors and others. I've met with the Police Chief and we've had good words, good intentions. But we still need to do some work. We need to foster our understanding that we are all children of the Great Spirit. Regardless of the colour of your skin, your religion, your culture, we're all the same, especially underneath the skin, which is only about an 8ths of an inch, 16th of an inch. As a nurse, I've seen that, taking stitches out and sewing people up and our blood is always red. But why can't we get along? Why is it that some look at us and demean us, devalue us, and think less of us? And I learned a long time ago when the Creator sent spirits to be with me, I'm a little boy and I wasn't playing by myself. We have to play in the sand box together peacefully. If not, you're going to be asked to go find your own place. Leave this one alone. So on that happy note, I try to set the tone of why we're here today and hopeful that I we can find some answers, move people towards. It’s part of our reconciliation. For those of you who are not native, please don't tell us what we have to do and don't do as Aboriginal people. We have a voice. We have a spirit. We have a proud history and culture to keep us strong. We'll share it with you like we shared this land. We are not the vicious heathen savages what history wrote about us. We didn't write about that. They did not see the beauty of our land. I leave with you that. No more Anishinaabe words. I'm having fun with her. I'm looking at her sign language. Okay.
>>Ginelle: And so I'd like to introduce to you Minister Coteau, who is responsible for this directorate.
>> Minister Coteau: Good Afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here. I wanted to first recognize the traditional lands that we're on, the Traditional Lands in the Territory of Fort William First Nation, Anishinaabe Nation. And I know the Grand Chief, I believe he’s still here, Alvin Fiddler. Is he here? I know he was here earlier. There you are. Thank you for being here, sir. I also know that the Chief of Police is here. Is he here? Put up your hand. And the Board Chair. So thank you for being here. It’s been interesting. This is the eighth meeting we've had, and, you know, a lot of the issues we talk about have to do with policing. And there’s only been three chiefs that have shown up, so I just want to say thank you for being here and I also any politicians here? Yeah? Okay. Well, thank you for being here, because local councilors are here. It’s also hard to get some politicians out to these meetings, but we see they're well represented. Counselors here today. Thank you very much for being here. I want to thank Gerry Martin who gave us our words of wisdom. Thank you very much for being here and for starting us off in the right way. You know, every single meeting we have, we've had the opportunity to listen to the wise words of someone from the First Nations community and someone who is an Elder or someone who can bless the meeting. And it’s been interesting, because all of the messages have been different in many, many ways, but they bring us back to that one point that we need to work together and we need to, if we're going to play in the same sand box, you know, we need to play with each other well and fairly. One of the Elders who spoke talked about the fact that we feed fires and we feed ourselves constantly with different thoughts, and he said that, you know, if we feed ourselves with love and compassion and patience, you know, that’s reflected in the community that we live, but if we feed ourselves with fear and with hate, we see things like racism pop up and it’s destructive to our communities. I feel pretty honored to be able to go across the province to have these conversations. And I think it’s healthy for us to have these conversations. I know that hearing about racism is always a very, very difficult thing and it makes many people very uncomfortable. But you know, I think it’s a conversation we need to have. Systemic racism is a hard thing to figure out sometimes, because it’s sometimes, in an institution that’s so large with so many people in there, and the people who are working there may not have racist thoughts or tendencies, but the way in which the system is being built places an advantage, it puts an advantage over others and allows other people to excel while barriers are put in place to keep people behind. And I always try to keep thinking of, like, examples of what that would really, you know, look like in daily life, and I think about, like, when I was a kid, you know, joining Monopoly game halfway, and you're given a couple of hundred dollars and all the land on the board has been purchased already and you go around and after two turns is you realize all of your money is gone and, you know, your brother or cousin is sitting there laughing, because they have all the money now and you're just waiting to go past go to get that $200 just to land on, you know, Baltic Avenue two or three stops after and your money is gone again. That’s how these systems work. It’s built over time and people move within a community or a neighbourhood or within an institution and there’s unfair advantage put in place. I think there’s an advantage to identifying those barriers, to having conversations like this, to looking for ways to, you know, to make sure that if a person wants to work hard in this province, they try, they want to work hard and build themselves, that they have the ability to do that. Because I know that at the end of the day, when someone works hard and they get those opportunities and they can build themselves, they're just building community. We think about Ontario right now. We've got 70,000 young people who are not working. They're not in any training location or they're not in an educational program. And we need to look for ways to remove those barriers and put in place initiatives to get them to where they need to be. And when we talk about, you know, education, when we talk about corrections, when we talk about [meth rare], when we talk about poverty, we know the number one factor, the thing that without a question demonstrates that, some people have an advantage and some don't, it’s race. You look at poverty levels and the one constant that separates people is race. Graduation levels, incarceration levels. I was saying to the Grand Chief earlier that we've seen a 70% reduction in youth incarceration in the last decade here in Ontario, but that’s not true for Indigenous and Black children. So something is happening and we need to address it. We need to talk about it. We can kind of pretend it doesn't exist. We can bottle it up. We can sweep it under the rug. But you know, when you do that, it just builds up more and more and more and eventually at the end, you know, really bad things happen. So I'm happy that we're having a conversation today. What we're going to do is we're going to open up the event with Sam Erry, who is Associate Deputy Minster with this official file. So he’s the official in the government that’s responsible for this. He’s going to kind of bring us through what the plan is so far, what we're thinking about doing. We're going to get your feedback, and also, we're going to listen to you, to experiences and ideas, and don't be afraid to be critical of government. Don't be afraid to be critical of the work we're doing. We're out here so we can hear that stuff. Right? I just want to say thank you again for the opportunity to be here, and thank you. This is a great crowd and it says to me that there’s a lot of people who are concerned about racism and systemic racism, and I just want to say thank you on behalf of myself and everyone in government for joining us on a Saturday afternoon. Thank you very much.
>> Sam: Good Afternoon, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here. Someone in the audience was asking me, is this your first time in Thunder Bay? I said, no, it’s my 14th time in Thunder Bay. I enjoy being here, even in the winter. So thanks for being here and giving up your Saturday afternoon. So what I'm going to do is just give you a quick overview of where things are at with the Directorate and give you a sense of, you know, where we're going to be headed in the next little bit. Can everyone see that? The clicker is not working. So let me just start with this slide. Most of you are probably aware of this. There are different forms of racism that we encounter in society, and we've got cultural, individual, societal. But the area that the Directorate is going to focus on is systemic racism. All the homework shows that if you solve the problem upstream, you solve it all the way down. And I will say, you know, judging from the discussions we've had at the various forums and just generally talking to people, most people don't actually understand what is systemic racism, because most people’s experience is the individual racism or the group racism that they face. And so we are going to be working very hard to tackle systemic racism as our core priority. Okay. Now, this slide is up for a couple of reasons. One, so the Anti Racism Directorate is situated in the provincial government in a department called the Cabinet Office. If you're not familiar with the Cabinet Office , it’s pretty well the Premier’s ministry, if you will. We support the Premier and the government directly. So that gives you a sense of the priority that the Premier has placed and the Minister has placed on the Directorate.
The other thing you need to know about the Cabinet Office is that that is where government decision making and policy gets influenced. So we are sitting upstream in terms of policy development and the work that goes on. And this is a whole of government approach. So as policies are coming forward, we will be able to catch them before they go any further in terms of putting an anti-racism perspective on that work that’s going on. And I'll give you a couple of examples later. So that’s the one thing. So the Directorate sits within that top bubble there. But the Directorate is an instrument of change and it’s an instrument of change for Ontarians. It is just in this particular case, government and government institutions play a very important role, but really at the end of the day, what do we want to do? We want to improve and enhance inclusion in the province and we want to make sure that we have racial equity in the province. So it’s really a vehicle for that change. But the thing I want to point out for you is that to tackle systemic racism, we're going to need everybody in all sectors to use an old phrase, rowing together. The Directorate on its own is not the panacea to solve the issue. We need communities pulling together, which we are. We need businesses, businesses you are important in this conversation. When you think about racial equity and you peel the onion back on racial equity, it’s all about economic health and economic equity. So it’s very, very important that the business communities also engage in this discussion. I have a little definition there for you of systemic racism. It’s a widely accepted definition, and it’s really about, as the Minister said, trying to tackle the stuff that has created the institutions that we have. You know, just to use this building as an example, it’s the stuff behind the walls. So putting a new fresh coat of paint on the wall isn't going to solve the problem. We have to look behind the wall and go, what is the building made of? And is that building made of materials and things that, frankly, give the dominant culture a privilege and, therefore, at the exclusion of other, you know, other racialized and Indigenous populations? Okay. Really important point here. We are not starting from scratch. So I hope you're breathing a sigh of relief there. So this is not about us running around and saying, we're going to do a ton more research and we're going to do this and that. No. We've got an unbelievable amount of work that went in in the last 20 years, 30 years arguably into anti racism, and all of these reports have certain punch lines, and one of them is you must tackle systemic racism. And the other punchline is that you need to look at racialized populations and Indigenous populations, because they're the most doubly marginalized and disenfranchised. So as much as we're here for all citizens in Ontario, we know, we know through the data and the homework that it’s really racialized and Indigenous populations that need special attention and care. And of course most recently, we have the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and The Ontario government’s response in Our Journey Together in terms of addressing issues of racism and looking at anti racism strategies in particular in Indigenous communities. And I'm going to mention a little bit about that later. Okay. Just at a high level, what’s our mandate? What are we focused on? Obviously, we want to eliminate systemic racism in the Ontario government. That is the first place to start. And quite frankly, we need to make sure the backyard is clear there before we go out into the rest of the province in other sectors and say, you need to tackle this. So lots of work has to be done inside, not just from a values point of view, but also in terms of action and behavior modification in the organization itself. Second is increasing awareness and understanding of systemic racism. I was saying earlier, most people actually don't understand what it is, so we're going to put some effort into that, and I'll mention that a bit later. Promoting fair practices and policies, to leads to racial equity and collaboration are communities which is a very, very important point that I will also reflect on. Okay. These are generally the four areas of priority or action that we're going to undertake. The first is policy research and evaluation. What’s really important in this conversation is to note that we want to have an evidence based conversation. Have you heard the expression no data, no problem? Right, very, very important to collect disaggregated race based data. Okay? And I've heard at many forums people have said we have data. We need to get on with it. I would just say respectfully the data we have, at least on the racialized side, is identity based data. It’s not race based data. Okay? So the Human Rights Commission has said it’s okay to go ahead and collect race based data. So we are going to put together a disaggregated race based Data Collection Framework, and we are going to offer that Framework up to various sectors and start having that data collected. So for example, right now, only the Toronto Children’s Aid Society and the Toronto District School Board collects disaggregated race based data. So we want to make sure that that’s happening in all sectors. And the Minister is also responsible for the Minister of Children and Youth Services; he’s been on the record saying all Children’s Aid Societies will be collecting disaggregated race based data. The Minister of Education has said all school boards in the province will be collecting disaggregated race based data. So that’s very, very important. The second thing, we're not collecting data just for the sake of collecting data. The data has to be part of the bigger equation, and this equation is the thing called the Racial Equity Impact Assessment. This is a very powerful tool that’s been involved in many progressive jurisdictions in tackling systemic racism. I can name some of them for you. King County in Washington State, the City of Seattle has done this work, Portland has begun this work in a few locations in the U.K. So we have a ready made product that we can take a hard look at and bring it in the Ontario context, and so the data is the entry point into that whole analytical tool, because if we're going to look at systemic issues and if we're going to create policies that achieve racial equity, we need an analytical tool to do that. Another analogy I can draw for you is that think of the racial equity impact assessment like an environmental impact assessment. Today we don't build a bridge or hospital or highway without doing an environmental assessment were the racial equity impact assessment tool will be that mandatory regulated kind of exercise so that before you develop programming for Indigenous and racialized people, before you develop policies, before you develop services, you put this framework in place. So you can be relatively comforted that the unconscious bias that’s introduced when people do this work is mitigated or eliminated altogether.
The other thing I'm going to do is develop a province-wide Anti-Racism Strategy. And the province wide Anti-Racism Strategy will have an Anti--Black component. It will have a component in terms of Anti-Semitism. It will have a component in terms of Islamophobia. And it will have, Chief Fiddler, it will have an Indigenous, informed Anti-Racism Strategy. We are not, at the Directorate, you know, going to pretend that that Strategy is going to be built just inside our shop. It’s very, very important to make sure that’s an Indigenous informed Strategy, so we'll be doing targeted outreach to Indigenous communities to develop that Strategy. The second is public education or awareness. Again, we're using an evidence based approach. We are going to be launching some fairly robust market research right across Ontario to get a sense of where people are at on this issue. What does it mean when somebody says race to you? What does it mean when somebody says racism to you? What does it mean when somebody says systemic racism. Yes?
>> Unknown: [indiscernible]
>>Sam: That’s fine. Sure. I mean, I've already met with a couple of Chiefs that have pointed out, that you know, for Indigenous people, the context is not the same. And that’s why I, frankly, went out of my way to say that. It’s going to be an Indigenous informed Strategy. It will also be a regional specific Strategy, because it recognizes the diversity within the Indigenous communities as well, north and south, east and west, and whatever other parameters that you want to apply. Thank you for that. So we're going to do this market research and then that research is going to come back and we're going to use that research to develop a province-wide campaign. So you know, for people that are in sort of the younger part of the demographic continuum, we might have a campaign that’s very social media focused and social media heavy. So we're going to basically look at the population, because we have multiple generations presented, you know, in the province and say, what are the best strategies to talk about racism and anti racism and push out our public education awareness campaign? The third item is community collaboration. This is very, very critical. So you know, the Directorate and the success of a Directorate is going to be directly proportional to the level of engagement with the community. So in working with core anti racism organizations, and there are quite a few, we'll make sure that we have that content expertise from those organizations, the experience, you know, of Indigenous and racialized people that’s expressed through those organizations so that when we're developing this stuff and we push it out, we know that it’s going to make sense. We know it’s going to land in those communities and people are going to say, yes this, works for me. I feel the outcome on the ground and it’s not just something that was kind of, you know, put together by Sam Erry and his team back in Toronto. So that’s going to be a very important thing. The last one, and this is a theme, I know the jargon is highly bureaucratic, but I'll just demystify is in two seconds for you. What this is simply saying is two things. One, we want the Directorate not to be a political exercise respectfully. We want the Directorate to do core foundational work and have longevity. So I think, you know, the comment that, and I'll express it this way in many meetings, and we've seen this movie before and it ends. We don't want this movie to end. In fact, we don't want the movie to be shown the same way. So you know, government, ministers, others, please think about longevity and the sustainability of the Directorate so that the work can continued. The second element after that is organizational capacity. [suggest delete as nothing else included]
>> Captioner: Someone came on the audio line who is speaking in French. He is masking the person speaking. I can't provide captions for the speaker until he goes off the line.
Ginelle: And we're here to listen to you. This meeting is being live-streamed and will be made publicly available after the day’s session. Joining in the meeting means that you understand and consent to this. French and American Sign Language translation is available for this meeting. When you do speak, I'm reminding you, I'm asking that you speak clearly into the microphone so that the translators are able to hear you. So bathrooms. The accessible bathroom is through the doors and to the left down it is hall. The women’s bathroom is down the stairs and to the left. No for the men you would have to go up the stairs, through the banquet hall. We're making it very difficult for the men today, because I understand there’s a problem with the soap in the bathroom downstairs that is the machine’s room. Okay? Light refreshments are located at the back of the hall. And one other thing. We have quite a few items to get through and so I will be trying to limit the comments to about two minutes. So I'm going to ask for your cooperation in helping me to give everyone a chance to speak. So we're going to I'll politely, I hope, remind you of the timing and let you know that you need to wrap up your comments and I will be using my trusty machine over here to help with the timing. And if you don't get a chance to say everything that you need to say or you don't get to speak at all, there is a chance to do so, to give feedback online at anti racism@Ontario.ca. And this is also true for those who may be listening or watching online. That being said, if there are no questions remaining, we can get started. And the volunteers in the red T shirts will assist you to the microphone and I'll just let you know which microphone to put your attention to so that we can get started. Okay. So don't all come up at once. Okay. All come up at once.
>> Audience Member: I appreciate the government’s commitment to adopt an anti-racism framework. My name is [indiscernible] and I'm affiliated with the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, Diversity Thunder Bay, and also the Thunder Bay Association. We need to move away from binaries, as well as the contradictions that exit within our system. And that’s not that easy to do. Education on systemic racism and anti racism is important. Fund and government resources have to be provided, because sometimes, you know, you have lack of people or lack of funding to move in the right direction. The anti racism approach and its links to race, gender, and class needs to be well incorporated with our approaches and programs. There has to be a serious and a strong commitment to an anti-racism vision and this should be reflected through the policy programs and the approaches of institutions and business sector and so on. Communication of such a vision among the different members of an institution is important, because sometimes we have the approach. We have the right approach, but it’s not communicated well. The members have to be on the same level of understanding. There has to be an individual and institutional accountability. It doesn't have to be people don't necessarily have to be penalized, but they should be responsible. We need to move away from tokenism, strengths ending our multi culturalism and democratic ideals in our institutions. We need to do more on that. There’s a lot of confusion. I mean, especially sometimes within the context of multi culturalism, you know, about holiday celebrations and so on and people were told that you need to tell me what you're doing on these days and so on. There’s a difference between what we say and what we do. The principle and reality are not always the same. The issue of power, with that presentation, is always, but we need to make sure the issue of power in terms of how we apply certainly models, including multi culturalism, need to be addressed, as well as we need to address not just cultural and religious aspects. So critical reflection and critical pedagogy should be followed whether in schools or outside of schools. The process needs to be evaluated. There has to be a mechanism which enables an institution to evaluate its policies, approaches, programs, and services to make sure that they're moving in the right direction. So I mean with the presentation, which is good, but there’s not much about the process. And they should be reflecting the anti racism vision. Can I take one more minute? Community representations on boards, committees, and in the place of work that reflect the ethno cultural makeup of the community is important. Also, stronger links and consultation between institutions and parents, community members should be made, and that was presented. Islamophobia, we have to be vigilant against systemic racism and teach against Islamophobia. Islam should not be seen as separate. Islam is not violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism, or engage in the clash. Civilization. The acceptance of anti Muslim should be eradicated. We should address racist and sexist biases that still impact on our institutions. We need to do something about the impact of neoliberalism on our institutions and make sure that the social issues and problems are not individualized, [ sic] under the new liberalism and new conservatism, they become individualized. It’s your fault or the fault of your parents or family or community members rather than being treated as social issues.
>> Ginelle: Okay. So that’s one more minute. Okay.
>> Audience Member: Okay. Thanks.
>>Ginelle: Thank you so much.
>> My name is. (name removed), member of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, which is a collective of Asian Canadian labor and community activists dedicated to fighting inequalities with a focus on anti racism and particularly anti Asian racism. The Asian Canadian Labor Alliance offers you support and would like to reiterate some of the anti Black racism network recommendations, including disaggregated data on race across all governmental departments, ministries, and agencies. Addressing the over representation of Black children and youth in the child welfare and prison systems and here in Northwestern Ontario, the points raised by Black Lives Matter obviously apply equally to Indigenous people. And I had some other points, but I'm not going say them. Creating a Minister’s roundtable to help ensure that the voices and priorities of the infected communities are heard and included. In addition to these points, it’s also important to acknowledge other and often overlapping forms of racism. For example, people of colour and Indigenous people are more likely to live in poverty where it’s well known that people of colour and Indigenous people are over represented in low paying and precarious jobs be while often earning less than their White counterparts, even when they have the same level of education. This is a form of systemic racism and there are a number of ways to address it, including re-establishing The Ontario Employment Equity Act which was canceled by the Conservative government in the 1980s, which would help people of colour and Indigenous people have better access to good jobs. Raising the minimum wage and strengthening the Employment Standards Act in order to protect precarious and low paid workers who are disproportionately workers of colour and Indigenous people. And The Ontario Labour Relations Act needs to be amended so that workers can more fairly join a union. Union representation helps improve working conditions and provides more protection to precarious and low paid workers. Because people of colour and Indigenous people experience higher poverty rates and are disadvantaged in the labor market, it’s important to ensure that we also have strong public services, services that have historically played a role in reducing poverty and supporting healthy communities. Part of systemic change includes addressing the gaps in these services like improving access to public affordable housing I'm close to the end ensuring families have close to public, high quality child care, which isn't affordable, and equitable access to healthcare where there are systemic barriers in accessing healthcare because of socio-economic status or language barriers and the lack of people of colour and Indigenous people in the medical professions. All our previous points only scratch at the surface, but speak to the issue of systemic racism, which can only be addressed in a comprehensive and meaningful way with real resources. And our final recommendation is to increase the budget for the Anti Racism Directorate to ensure that substantive action and policies come out of the initiative. Thank you.
[Applause] >> Thank you. Over here for the next speaker. Go ahead.
>> Hi. My name is (name deleted). I'm a Band member of Kettle in Stony Pont. When you're talking about systemic racism, I think there’s a group of people that are being left out, and that’s the off reserve members of Bands. There is no representation in the Canadian system for us to get heard on Band decisions. So we are being legislated out. There’s no consideration in how to bridge this gap between our representatives on reserves and the decisions being made on reserves. So it’s like we have a double edged sword here. We're being put down, pushed down, kept down by the individual Bands and we're also being kept down by the cities we live in. So like if we could get some kind of communication between the people in the city and the Bands, Chief and Council decision makers, we might be able to pick ourselves up a little bit more and share our culture more readily, more happily. It’s just something that is being left out of the decisions in the Government of Canada. The off reserve people. We need to have some kind of way to voice our opinion in Indigenous ways besides the Urban Aboriginal Strategy. We don't all use that, you know? It helps some people out. There’s no real way to get our voices heard. Meegwetch.
>> Audience Member: (name removed). I am a member of Diversity Thunder Bay. A long time educator and mother. I have just some comments, comments about your questions. Number four, how should government continue to engage work with and communicate with racialized and Indigenous communities to address and prevent racism? I believe that you're missing a large group there. That is, the White community. I think you should be wondering how you're going to be addressing the White community to prevent racism. Number five, 10 years into the future, how does success look like? Are there any measures that you're going to be using to measure this? Also, I'm very pleased that your long term goal is to eliminate long term anti racism in institutions by the Ontario government. And I see you'll be working with The Ontario Human Rights Commission on this. I know that there are policies and legislation that have created delays. I will ask you to look at why we have two systems of education in this province and one system can hire based on religion and creed, and which also has implications for people who are there’s an intersection there of people who are very much eliminated and it could be through racism as well, so that is a major government legislation that we have. And the other, as has already been mentioned, daycare. We do not have universal daycare. Daycare is a huge issue for all working women, all women, all families, and it is very difficult if you happen to be from a lower socioeconomic group, which we know represent too many people who are of Indigenous or Black or racialized groups. Therefore, we now have a policy or we don't have anything to address that, which further puts people in a difficult situation. So those are two areas where I see a pledge, is in [ layings unclear]and institutions in the wrong place.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much for sharing.
>>Ginelle: Can we go over to this mic, please? Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: (name removed). I'm originally from Piawanic Ontario on the Hudson Bay Coast. I just went to go talk to my Grand Chief, because what I really want to talk about is our lands as Indigenous peoples, and I had asked them, because he had met with you guys before the actual meeting started whether it was time to get covered, so we talked mostly about the child welfare system and how it affects our people. You didn't say, Deputy Minister, whether or not this Directorate, being the instrument of change for the government, was going to look at existing legislation that it has, that although it appears to be neutral sounding, it actually has very negative effects on our people. For example, The Ontario Mining Act has a free entry system, and in 2012, the Ontario Geological Survey, which is a Division of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, flew a Magnetic Arial Survey over my home community and a number of other First Nations, like Eabametoong, the communities outside of Gogama. It’s a part of the exploration process. And companies are now required after The Ontario Mining Act was modernized to file exploration plans which requires a detailed consultation system. What it does not require is our consent. So you can write. You can call. You can phone. Even if they say no, as long as you've met all of those things in your plan, you can still railroad over us. To me, that is a very, very strong and shiny example of ongoing Colonial violence perpetrated against or people.
Audience Member: And we are always left out. We are left out when it comes to the social determinants of health. And the World Health Organization says that 60% of your longevity and your good health is based on your income and your education, and we are left out of participating in the economy. The Indian Act, which is a federal piece of legislation, outside of your jurisdiction, I know, but we cannot enter the economy because of the way that it’s written in its current form. It [ unclear; prevents] us. It maintains that system of oppression, and we are underfunded. We've been underfunded since 1996. And so much has happened to our people as a result. This really has to change, and I really hope, I hope that the review of the legislation that is done, for example, with the child welfare system, it was the government that created the residential school systems and it took away our ability to parent. It created an incredible amount of social dysfunction chaos, and it’s the province that manages, administers the child welfare program. It doesn't acknowledge or recognize that it was done. It criminalizes the parents and takes away their children, but it doesn't work to teach them the ability to parent. It doesn't give them that opportunity. And that needs to change, too.
Audience Member: The other thing is we need to acknowledge our Indigenous people have a song and have a voice and have an aspiration and have a way of being. So the education system that exists here should fund our language programs and education programs, and that it acknowledges that we know what we want. We know what we need. And we should have the power to make those decisions for ourselves. Meegwetch .
>> Ginelle: Over here to this mic, please.
>> Audience Member: Hello. Thanks, (name removed) That was amazing. I'm speaking today. My name is (name removed). I'm speaking as a White [indiscernible] living in Anishinaabe land in the Robinson Superior Treaty. I think that’s really important to think about that and to think about that identity and how that intersects with what we're talking about today for me. The first thing I read when I came in here was that one of the aims of the Directorate is to eliminate systemic racism. Which I think is an irresponsible thing to claim or to put down as your sort of mission. And I think it’s irresponsible, because I haven't heard any acknowledgment today of the government’s possessive investment in systemic racism. Because we are here today on Anishinaabe land and we have Treaties that we don't honor and we engage in all kinds of economic development which is the government’s sort of I heard the Associate Deputy Minister talk about the root of systemic racism really being about economic participation. And I find it interesting to think about what is that economic projects that we're participating in? That we're removing barriers to participate in? And are the barriers to eliminating systemic racism really about eliminating participation or is the government actually a barrier? In what way is the government a barrier to eliminating systemic racism? Because the government has a very possessive investment in mining, in forestry, in all of these things. And so I think in order to actually talk about eliminating systemic racism, particularly in the context of Indigenous communities, we have to talk about colonialism as being the project that we're engaged in here. So if we're talking about further inclusion and furthering the project of colonialism as a way of eliminating systemic racism, I think that’s really problematic and I think we need to go back to the root of what’s going on here and look at that project and how we're all come [, unclear] to that project and how we benefit from it and are there ways we can talk about dismantling pieces of that? And to me, dismantling systemic racism includes dismantling of the Ontario government and the government that is engaging in that project. So unless that’s really what we're here to talk about, and what the Directorate’s focus is, I don't think it’s responsible to talk about eliminating. A lot of what I see talking about is harm reduction, which I think is very important concurrently, giving people access to the things that they need to live and giving people equitable access to things and reducing the violence of systemic racism, but you know, without hearing the words colonialism and White supremacy and talking about how these things tie into where systemic racism gets its power, which is control of land, I think we're really not talking about the whole issue.
>> Ginelle: Over to this mic, please. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Good Afternoon. My name is (name removed)[indiscernible] and my homeland is the far north, but I've made Thunder Bay my home for the last number of years. I think it would be good to get used to that, but I'm here. But I just wanted to say one simple thing here, and that racism is a socially unacceptable behavior. And I think that’s the message that the institutions of government, of the Ontario Government, continue to promote and to voice on the basis of I just want to use it as an example. Money gets put into the educational system. The example that I want to use is the post secondary educational system. The other day I heard one of my friends say that there was discussion and dialogue in the particular class in which students were allowed to state that I'm tired of this First Nation content, First Nation discussion in this particular class. You know, that’s terrible. That’s racism. And if the Ontario government is going to look towards eliminating systemic racism, that particular piece of statement has no place in an institution that will produce people that will go on into government, into places of business, and they will go into those places holding that thought, that racism is socially acceptable. When it should not be. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: So if there is anyone that cannot approach the microphone, we do have a Roving mic. If I just raise your hand, one of the volunteers in the red shirt will bring a mic to you. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Thank you. My name is (name deleted). I've worked in secondary public education in this profession I understand for over 15 years. I've worked on reserve, off reserve, isolated reserve, urban reserve, as well as in the City of Thunder Bay, and there is something really, really broken about our education system, our public education system. There are problems, gaps in funding between federally funded First Nations schools versus provincially funded public schools. There’s problem with curriculum. I'm sorry. I've got problems. I don't have answers to them. The fact that we teach Native Studies as a separate entity rather than as a common thread. Problems with Canadian history courses that start with World War II and carry on through French English relations and this talks nothing of Treaties in First Nations-English relations. Grade 12 University level students six months from graduation. And when I ask them what they wanted to know about Indigenous history, they said, well, Columbus arrived in 1492. Can you tell us the rest? It’s really frustrating. I now work in adult First Nations and education and employment strategies. I know that there are millions of dollars put into training strategies, into trying I get that there is an effort, but there is still a major gap when people are trained for jobs that they still can't be qualified for, because they don't have a grade 12 diploma. And the program that I work for is trying to pick that up at the tail end, but it really has to start at the beginning. And again, I don't have the answer for that, but I know it needs a huge overhaul.
>>Ginelle: Go ahead. Next speaker.
>>Audience Member: I work my name is (name and identifying information removed). Most days of the week we're 100% Anishinaabe kids. We train our staff in colonialism. We bring in Aboriginal people to do that and we train our staff in White privilege, but there’s no funding provincially to do that. And we're one of the few agencies in Thunder Bay or northwest Ontario that does it. And I don't think we can talk about systemic racism, the justice system, I mean, it’s hard to talk about systemic racism, without at least getting an understanding of colonialism and understanding of our role as White people and White privilege, because a lot of people don't know that. The other reality is we have to do something in our education system and teach the education of this country and teach Colonialism in our schools so that people grow up understanding what actually happened in this country rather than the fairy tale that we're taught and the things that we're taught about the horrible things we're taught with Aboriginal people what I was taught and are continuing to be taught in this country. I was at Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa, and a Ministry of Education person got up and showed this wonderful education package they had, and the number of Aboriginal people I was with stood up and they said to me, (name removed), why aren't you standing up? And I said because it’s a lie. I said, it’s only taught if a teacher chooses to teach it. So most kids in Ontario don't get that education, and we need to do that. There’s a whole debate about systemic racism and I buy that. You can at least start with the education system and should start with provincially funded organizations, direct run, and [indiscernible] for payment, and make sure they're getting education on colonialism that people have worked for. They're getting an education and having to understand White privilege, because people don't want to hear it. They see it as dividing people up. It’s a reality. I walk every day with privilege. My nephew, who is native, doesn't. That’s real. People need to understand that and we need to educate and train the people that we're funding to work for us in the Province of Ontario. Thank you.
>> Audience Member: Hello. I am actually coming here as an educator and a student of history. I think a good point was brought up with the lack of the word colonialism in this whole debate. It is, I think, at the root of this is colonialism. How was this country founded? It was founded on the exploitation, the pillaging really of the land and the resources for the few. And those few were European, and they are the ones that form this government that we are a part of right now. And that’s a very complicated thing to think about, I think, and it’s very difficult to think about and I don't claim to have the answers, but it’s something I think this Directorate should engage in is the concept of Colonialism and its role in forming this nation of Canada. As an educator, I would like to just switch away from that. I do see children come into my schools, my school. I work for [indiscernible] and I do see prejudice and I see I don't know where it comes from. I can only guess parents, other teachers maybe, the internet, the community itself. But it is a challenge as an educator to teach about systemic racism, because quite frankly, there is not a whole lot of room for it in the curriculum. There’s so many things that we're require to teach. Unless it comes from me personally, which it does, I mean, in my class, in conversations with children, you know, it does come up in my pedagogy, but that’s only because I feel it’s important. It’s not something that is instilled in The Ontario education system. So that is what I have to say.
>>Ginelle: Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Hi. My name is (name removed). I'm from the racialized young professionals network, a group that just kind of started here in town. A lot of the reason why we started is because there was a strong acknowledgment of the fact that there aren't safe spaces for people of colour within our institutions, within our professions, but also just in general in our community. So there is no way that two minutes is going to be enough time to talk about anything really, so that’s one criticism I have. Two minutes is not a genuine invitation to talk about what we need to talk about.
Audience Member: So there’s so much to say. Whew. But because of that, we put together some recommendations for you. Two pages is nothing, and this also is not an extensive list, but we hope that you take it. I also just wanted to say that one big question is how do you plan on rebuilding trust that has been broken between Indigenous and racialized communities and the government for generations, from the very, you know, start of what this country of Canada is? There has been broken trust over and over and over again. So when we're talking about the work of anti racism, we have to acknowledge that this is a theme that needs to be part of all levels of society, all parts of our education system, all levels of police. It has to go beyond just this is our strategy and we're just going to put it in a corner and that’s it. It’s going to be one course in, you know, your high school degree like civics is a half course. It has to be more than that. It has to be an overlying theme. The other thing that I wanted to say also is I'm echoing what has already been said. We cannot ignore the fact that colonialism is a huge reason why we're having some of the issues that we're experiencing in our communities and that it’s continuous and it’s still going. The other thing that I wanted to say is just a comment, that anti racism work should disrupt patterns of power and White privilege and that this is an inherently political act, just to comment on the fact that they're trying to say this isn't political. It always is. So thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Hi. My name is (name removed), and the topic that I want to talk about is media representation. A local paper has a history of publishing trans phobic, homophobic, Islamophobic letters to the editor Section, and there’s space also, Once City, Many Voices, I think that’s the title of that space, and that is an opportunity for people to educate, people to educate in reflection on those letters to the editor or to focus on a specific topic. And those letters to the editor, what my critique is, for example, in 2013, Ruhi Singh, this is a Human Rights case in Saskatchewan, and Ruhi Singh was a trans woman in India who came to Canada specifically because of our Human Rights. She was denied service in a bridal shop there. She won her case. There was discussion that was very trans phobic, playing on the stereotypes of trans people. In particular, this piece really affected me and I think in terms of education and that discussion around social media, what are ways that you can incorporate educating people about media bias from encouraging people in the education system to have these conversations. Critical media, I think, analysis. And in terms of what are the standards of publishing? I learned about the Ontario Press Council. How can people learn more about what they offer to people when they can try to hold media accountable? And I think another way is to encourage people to write in our local media, to engage with our local media, have these conversations. I have attempted that. And I think it’s just very upsetting for see, for example, that Human Rights case. It ruled that individual Ruhi Singh won. And seeing these trans phobic letters, it does indicate, like, more education has to happen. But what is the safety? An individual came to me who saw my response letter who is a trans person. They were very moved by those pieces. And thinking about that, the importance is safety. So how can we talk about and educate people on stereotypes? I think there were a few other oh, the hate speech, the difference between hate speech and freedom of expression in the way in which that is allowed in our outlets of media. I think my main message, too, is to invest in arts and company thank you. (name removed) brought up the part about language revitalization. Invest in youth, arts, and culture. That is where you can make incredible impact, mentorship, and I think, like, arts and culture, people can express themselves that way. Having those safe spaces to have that conversation and find out who you are. That’s what we need is more investment in arts and culture. Thank you.
Ginelle: Thank you so much. [, sic]
>> Ginelle: I'm (name removed) and I work for the John Howard Society. So I think the contribution I'm going to make today is mostly from the criminal justice perspective. As we talk about these issues, all of them are connected. It starts in the home. It starts in the community. The second directive is public education and racial equity where opposite what systemic racism is, you see individuals be impacted, but unless there’s a greater understanding, it prevents people from actually making the community a better place, making our province a better place and making our countries a better place. So for corrections, one of the programs that we run is a bail program, and it really does speak to the systemic racism, the fact that that program even exists. The primary purpose is to assist people that have a lack of a social connection or financial resources. That should be entitled to be out in the community living their lives as they go through the criminal justice process. So I'm just surprised, on any given day we probably have about 90% of people of colour access that program. So that confirms that the systemic racism exists in our provincial legislation, which also is connected to federal. Conditions that people are to be supervised by, we are criminalizing social issues. They are criminalizing addiction. We are criminalizing mental health. I would like to see a change in that. Our system is not rehabilitating anyone. It is setting people up for failure and our young people have a higher incarceration rate because of a lack of education, because of a lack of resources, and this needs to stop and it can be stopped on any given day.
Audience Member: When we talk about community resources, community resources, there’s a lack of appropriate funding. There are many great organizations out there that are choosing to fill the gap. Providing services that need to be provided. I won't set into a nicely fit defined box by the Ministry and that needs to change. Let’s restructure the structure system. Obviously what we're doing is not working whatsoever. Reporting. Our reporting; mostly based on numbers. That’s appalling. Why should we have to meet a certain minimum number to continue to get funding when we should be reducing that number? So the quantitative data, it’s all good, but that qualitative stuff, that’s more important, too, when we're increasing the well being of people’s lives and making a difference. Education; we've heard about it before. I'm tired of hearing about jurisdiction. I'm tired of it. We live in Ontario. We live in Thunder Bay. And still, the federal government has restrictions in how the province can help. You all need to work together. Like it’s not just one ministry’s problem. Stop passing the responsibility or holding the responsibility. That’s the only way we're going to make changes. And I'm happy that this is happening, but I want to see as a young person, I want to see some action. I'm tired of talking at tables. I'm tired of putting in my [I know but the, not clear]. I want to see some fundamental changes and I want to see them happen quickly. I know we do not again the government does not control individual mindset, but the language that’s being used, the messages that are being put out there, by the time those messages get out there, it’s like five, 10 years too late. Let’s see something right now.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Ginelle: I need another pen. Mine ran out of ink can someone bring me a pen, please? Thank you so much. Okay. Over to this mic over here, please.
>> Audience Member: I'm (name removed). I'm a Political Science alumni at Lakehead. Overall I wanted to say that I'm relatively disappointed in the strategy aligned by the Directorate. The reason for this is that I found there to be an inherent problem with the methodology that the Directorate has put forth. The reason for this is that there was a very clear attempt in the presentation to compartmentalize racism. We had a chart with a box that says systemic and individual, as if all of these things can be separated and exist in isolation. A couple of the educators have talked before me about how Native [ student studies] stays compartmentalized as a special topic in education, which is reflected in this presentation. Systemic racism was referred to a little bit irresponsibly as the backbone of our society. What the Directorate has effectively outlined to me is a strategy to further bureaucratize the relationship between the groups of racialized people and the government. This erection of barriers has been addressed by the Directorate himself as being relatively unsuccessful in the last 20 years. The lady who spoke before me said a lot of things that I was thinking about how all of these things are bureaucratized. We talk about jurisdiction and how these things keep us from being able to actually help people. What I see here is a lot of big initiatives and talk of quantitative data that isn't really going to be effective in addressing systemic racism, and I think that we should ask for better from our Strategy.
>> Minister Coteau: Just to be clear, there is no strategy. I just want to make this clear. What you see up here is a collection of ideas based on maybe 50 organizations we've talked to and people across Ontario. What we're seeing is presenting something to get feedback. The Strategy will be brought forward in the spring. What we're presenting here are the ideas that were brought forward by organizations like the Colour of Poverty, organizations that work on racialized issues and systemic issues. It’s a collection of ideas that we're presenting here. There is no strategy at this point. That will be brought forward in the spring. Just keep that in mind. This is a consultation process to collect ideas based on, you know, some ideas we've received already. Make no mistake. This is not finalized and this is a real template or guiding, you know, points to stimulate a conversation across the province that we'll collect and present back to the community. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Okay. Over to this mic, please. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Studies [ unclear] won't show it took 517 days to launch an Inquiry into the death of an Aboriginal male, whereas Inquiries were soon after for White males. UC Coroner’s Office statistics reveal from 1992 to 2007, 28 of the 267 police custody deaths are listed as Aboriginal, which is more than 10% of the total, although Aboriginals form less than 4% of the population.
Another study found that while 60% of all First Nations deaths while incarcerated in 1993 to 2003 happened while in police custody, the non Aboriginal population figure is much lower at 25%. In Vancouver, during the period from 1993 for 2003, when an Aboriginal person died in custody, the Coroner ruled that the cause of death was undetermined in 20% of the cases, while the undetermined rate for the non Aboriginal population was eight%. Accidents were ruled a cause of death in 40% of cases, but only 28 for non First Nation. In Saskatchewan, its Coroner reported 27 Aboriginal deaths in custody and three police shootings of Aboriginal people in that period. In Alberta, a government inquiry found over a 20 year period, [indiscernible] shot by the RCMP were of First Nations ancestry. A study found although Aboriginals represent 4.5 of all SIU investigations in Ontario, they represent 1.8% of all investigations in which injury or death was directly caused by police, and a comparison of the Aboriginal rate, which is 14.785, with the white rate, which is 2.57%, suggests that Aboriginal civilians are 5.7 times more likely to become involved in an SIU use of force investigation than their white counterparts. These are just some of the statistics from an article by Manny Cheema called Missing Subjects , which was written in 2009 about Aboriginal deaths in custody. And while I applaud the fact that the Police Chief is here, there are other issues. Is anyone from the Ministry of the Attorney General present in this room? And that’s part of the problem that we're dealing with. In terms of crisis level needs, I'm someone who works for Legal Aid Ontario and I work on the front lines with very many individual clients, and I can tell you that the legal system, I don't like calling it a justice system anymore, needs to start looking at social issues. As (name removed) mentioned, housing is probably the biggest issue in Thunder Bay. And if we could solve homelessness, we could solve a significant amount of other issues, but there’s not a whole lot of stuff going on. We have a population of homeless people in Thunder Bay that is 13 times per capita the rate of Toronto. That’s significant. And I can tell you that a significant amount of those people are Indigenous and racialized. And in terms of some of the other issues that were mentioned, fighting over jurisdiction, I'm pretty sure that Jordan’s Principle was supposed to solve that problem where a five year old died in a hospital who was First Nations who had never lived in a home, because for two years, the federal government and provincial government fought over who should have to pay for them to go home. And that Principle was supposed to establish in law that there’s not supposed to be that anymore. That the governments are supposed to co-operate. And on top of that, in terms of the land issues, let’s talk about the fact that the federal government and our pensions and other things like that are invested primarily in munitions and mining abroad and when you look at the kinds of cases that are being brought in Canada right now, we've got high bay minerals where we're talking about shootings, mass rapes, displacement and burning of villages in Guatemala by Canadian mining companies, talking about the complicity of Canadian mining companies in Civil War in Congo. Where we're talking about other issues like that in Eritrea and talking about Canadian mining companies that we're making money off and investing in are going off and doing things to Indigenous people in other parts of the world. So it’s not just within Canada.
>> Ginelle: Can you wrap up your comments, please?
>> Audience Member: Pardon?
>> Ginelle: Can you wrap up your comments, please?
>> Audience Member: Yeah. That’s the end.
>> Ginelle: That’s the end? Okay.
>> Ginelle: Can we go to this mic over here, please?
>> Audience Member: My name is (name removed). I teach about anti racism and decolonization as Lakehead University. I'm teaching future teachers. There is some work being done at the University level to try and educate future teachers to incorporate these issues into every subject area. What I really want to talk about here, though, again is to come back to the economic system and what is the system that you're wanting to make room for? We've heard a number of things. We've just heard what Canadian corporations are doing internationally. We know that Canada was created for resource extraction and the use of labor in order to produce wealth for Europeans and we still live in a vastly unequal country in terms of the distribution of wealth. We have precarious work for all levels of the population. Racialized people experience this at a greater rate. However, it affects all people across the entire spectrum. And so when I'm teaching future teachers, many of them wind up doing Master’s Degrees, because they can't get work. They can get government funding to do graduate work, but there are no jobs at the end of it. So I would like to point out that it’s a bit of a fallacy to say that education will produce a higher standard of living for racialized people or for any people if there’s no work to be had. If the work that is available is not supported by unions, it is precarious labor. It is grossly under waged, and I see more and more graduates with very high levels of education having nowhere else to go except low wage, precarious work, and I think one of the consequences of this is that you also have then the political wedge is there to produce a reaction, a very negative, violent reaction from people who see themselves as White and see that they are not able to also get reasonable jobs, and so it is possible to turn that fear and anger towards racialized people as if they were the source of the problem, as if immigrants were the source of the problem. They're an easy targeted, because they're visible, but they are not the cause of the problem. It has much more to do with an unequal economic system that’s based on exploitation of resources, exploitation of people. It was never intended to be equal or just or fair, and we need to be looking at that.
>> Ginelle: Okay. I've now run outs of ink on the second pen, so I need some help. Okay. Over here, please?
Audience Member: Thank you. First of all, thank you for having this forum in our city. My name is (name removed). I want to point out three points. First of all, I'd like to add to the numerous comments that have been brought up about including the problem of colonialism, and I'd like to add that neo-liberalism is the new colonialism, and so we want to think about capitalism in relation to the Directorate’s focus and how we are moving forward rather than leaving it out somewhere else, in some political discussion that is a not linked to racism. It is. So we want to think about capitalism. Clearly we're thinking about class. We're thinking about intersections of identities. I have a bit of a concern about a binary of, quote, White privilege on one side and then all racialized and Indigenous peoples on the other, because there are multiple intersections in between. They are not denying the power relations of those, but I'm just saying that there are also complex power relations that need to be looked at, particularly like class privilege. It plays a role. For example, I am a feminist. I'm an educator. I was born working class. I'm now middle class. I'm married. . So somebody like myself is already complexly located in this so called binary, so I'd like the Directorate to think about the multiple ways that people are located and that Brown people can also be racist. Right? So we can't assume that it’s only about White privilege, though we need to recognize White privilege, clearly which I do. And then on another point I wanted to bring out was about the community collaboration, because as an educator at the University, one of my courses is English language skills for Indigenous students who want to become nurses. That’s federally funded, so I realize that’s not your mandate. There we go. There’s the gap. Can I talk about that? Because that’s actually federally funded, but that program every year, the people who are involved with that, they have to go hunt for money, and I don't even know if I'm going to be paid every year, if I'm going to be brought back to help educate those students who are looking for the skills to come up to this microphone and speak like I have gained that privilege to do that. My students aren't out here. I asked them to please come to make their voices known. They've told me about all kinds of terrible racism incidents in town from grocery stores to pharmacies to you name it. They have all the racism thrown at them, and they don't have this kind of discourse, this kind of space to speak about this racism. And so in the community collaboration, I'd like to have something built in that we can bring in different sorts of spaces and different languages to reach the people who are not in these kind of government focused wonderful gatherings as they are spaces. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead.
Audience Member: >> Hi there. I just wanted to start by now introducing myself. Maybe to help everyone understand my world view and where that’s derived from. I think that’s something that’s important. My name is (name removed) and I am an Indigenous student currently working through the Masters of Social Justice Program and I recently also completed my Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Indigenous Learning at Lakehead Community with the focus on culturally satisfy spaces for patients within the Canadian healthcare system. I wanted to speak about something briefly that affects myself and my peers at the University. And I wanted to speak about the recent implementation or employment, if you will, of the ICR or the Indigenous Content Requirement at Lakehead University. Recently, I've been involved in some conversation with both CBC news and within the institution about the hasty nature of the implementation and the lack of consultation involved with this implementation, both with Indigenous community members and students. This implementation encompasses 18 hours of instruction that’s required for students at Lakehead University, and I believe the University of Winnipeg on Indigenous learning. This is a one size fits all approach that both colonializes and devalues Indigenous people and our history, and also creates violence and unsafe spaces for us to learn, so my suggestions would be further consultation with Indigenous community members and students and reinserting the value of Indigenous people while eliminating the token nature of inadequate 18 hour lesson on our people and our history, because it’s insulting.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Good Afternoon. My name (name removed). (identifying information removed, however as public figure could remain) I wanted to pick up on some of the comments made with regards to jurisdiction. And it’s a conversation that we, in the municipal sphere, have all the time. And that is the federal government has the fiduciary responsibility for First Nations, except every member of every First Nation in Ontario is a resident of Ontario. And by that I mean that Ontario has its own responsibility. It may not be fiduciary, but it certainly is moral to ensure that every citizen in Ontario has access to the same level of services. And if it means having to top up the $6,600 a year that the federal government pays for students to come to Thunder Bay to get post secondary education, then so be it. Forget about the jurisdictional squabbles. If you want to deal with systemic racism structures, you start by the basic principle that everybody who lives in Ontario receives the same level of service. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: And now I understand we have a question from the roving mic on the floor. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Hello? My name is (name removed) and I'm the mother of three native children and I've raised my kids in poverty. I have been quite involved in my neighbourhood. We had it was called, like we have a unit 16, which is a group of local people that get together to try to improve our residence and a couple of years ago, we got a lot of money and we had all kinds of money and we had big parties and they wrote a whole thing up about how we decreased the crime rate in our neighbourhood by 30%.
>> Ginelle: Decreased?
>> Audience Member: Decreased, yeah, just because they got people together and talked. And I think we did do a lot of really good things. There’s a lot of really good things still going on, but for people that are living in poverty, that are in the community, that are having constant trauma in their lives, you know, applying for grants is impossible. I'm sorry for getting emotional, but what we deal with on a daily basis is people getting stabbed, our kids dying. This isn't, you know, and I come here and listen to all the bureaucrats, and thank you for being here. Somebody is talking about it. I'm not criticizing you. But somehow there’s just a lot of children, people that get lost in it, and I really think one of the things I've been fighting for is for people to come and teach colonization, talk about White privilege, because I am someone that was born into White privilege, you know? I know what it is, because I watch what I grew up with and I watch what my kids grew up with. I never knew anyone who committed suicide. You know? And we have kids hanging in our park. We have three kids died one night because one kid got stabbed. The other are in our jail system now. [indiscernible] will be dead. And I don't think people get the kind of trauma that people live with. Sort of engaged in this whole idea that it’s okay to be racist or crazy, because my daughter went to the store another night and a guy was yelling at her and yelling and saying, you Indians get everything free. Do you know what I mean? I think it’s empowered that kind of racism. So instead of being emotional and staying home, I came out here today to say that it’s a crisis and there are people that want to help and that work hard and dedicate themselves, but we're tired of going to meetings and talking to bureaucrats. I know those are things that have to be done, but the reality of
>> Unknown: [indiscernible]
>> Ginelle: The what?
>> Unknown: [indiscernible]
>> Ginelle: Can you use the mic, please?
>> Audience Member: Yeah. I don't think well, some of the things that drive me crazy is they give us rain barrels and then housing won't hook up the rain barrel. I can complain, though I don't want to complain. There’s a lot of really good things that have happened, but it doesn't keep me from feeling emotional or trying to engage in trying to see the beauty in things. The little kids around there are amazing. There’s amazing human beings that are living in poverty. But the whole we spend all of this money on all of this bureaucracy, but a lot of that doesn't get to the grassroots people that really, really need it. If you look at our, like, [unclear] Child and Family Services, our kids are all involved in those things and these systems, to say we're going to fix systemic racism, we need to change the whole system. It doesn't work. We need to have guaranteed annual income for human beings so that people have choices to be able for buy enough food for their kids so that we don't need food banks.
Audience Member: So that you know what I mean? I spend my life driving people to food banks and Methadone clinics, you know, the drug and alcohol problem. We can talk about those things, but when Prime Minister Trudeau stood up and said, we need to look to the Native community for leadership when it comes to environmental issues, I cried then, too. But that’s just talk. We need to do that. We need to like money doesn't really matter if we can't drink our water, if we can't you know, our kids can't live. I've chosen poverty in many ways. I could make money off being the mother of three Native children. I refuse to do that. It’s an insult to Native people for me to think that I have all the answers. I don't. But
Ginelle: >> Okay. I'm going to have to ask you to wrap up.
Audience Member: >> Yeah. We need to listen to people.
>> Ginelle: I thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. Can we go to this mic over here, please?
>> Audience Member: My name is (name removed) and I'm from the Ojibwa Nation from Tribe 258 and the Treaty Three Territories. That’s up north here. Okay. I heard a lot of good comments and makes me think, but I stand here today and I'm going to speak about poverty, how it is to live in the city. I'll be the example of this Indian. I'm going to speak simple and I'll try to get my point across as to how it is to be a very poor Indian woman in her own rich country. Okay?
Audience Member: I'm also a spokesperson for the off reserve people, off and on, but mainly on, because I'm focusing on, like, okay, I'm a residential school survivor. So I might go all over the place with my story, but I'll make it really quick. I'm a residential school survivor as well. Okay? And I went through the whole nine yards of being an Anishinaabe woman with nothing, made to be nothing, probably born to be nothing, but that’s all right, just as long as I love myself, being who I am. Just like I said, I'm the whole nine yards of the very bad Indian that everybody portrayed us. Okay? Residential school survivor. I had a suicide with my son. And my son, too, is in the criminal justice system right now. I won't get into that, but that’s what I'm dealing with. And then living in this city where I fall under the systemic racism. I guess I do feel it, but I try not to get angry and don't try to apply my street knowledge as to using my fists before now. I use my big mouth. But anyway, right now as a poor person in the city, I live in a bachelor place. $650 bucks a month as a single. Okay? So $650 bucks a month and you're left with $100 and maybe at the time when I first started talking about this, I was living on $106 a month in this city, and that’s what I still live under. It’s very hard living like that without having to think criminally or how to get a little ahead, you know, to help yourself. And then your sister living next door, who is just, you know, who has two hungry teenagers and you can't help but, you know, try to feed everybody, you know? I go around bumming. People get sick of me when I bum. They say, when are you going to pay us? I say, I don't know. Someday I will, you know? So either way, you get shut down, even from your own people, even from your own poor people, because it’s almost like we're a bunch of dogs chasing our tales under the systematic system, and it’s really hard, because like a lot of our people, they're very silent. I would say very patient people. But there’s few of us that are getting sick of this, the way we're being run by this provincial system. But on the other hand, that’s the city living, but on the reserve part, where I come from, our Chief doesn't talk to us either. Our Chief doesn't acknowledge us. We've done so many rallies and talked with our Chief to get everyone to the table to talk with us. What’s going on with our future as the signatories to the [, sic not clear]. We're not heard. We're not heard at all. That’s why we're in the situation as a very poor nation with this [, not clear]. That’s where we're at. We know our reserve has a lot of money, has a lot of investments. Our Chief has cutting forestries, but then the government says, oh, only the off reserve get assistance or whatever. . It’s all off reserve sorry, on reserve. Sorry, if you're on reserve you're entitled to Indigenous Non Award Program money and everything. But if you're off reserve, we've got to be careful how they have to help the off reserve. That’s their when we try to ask for something like help, support letters, jobs, and all that, so that’s what they say. So when we look at ourselves, we're double whammied. Then we fall into the provincial systems in the cities, and it’s easy to be homeless in a second by them holding back your check and the next thing you've got is the landlord breathing down your back, then you've got the landlord writing you up a bad report that you forgot to pay your rent on time. So it’s a very vicious cycle in that way. So you know, just observe people. All I see is, I don't know, observe. Stand up. But that’s what I'm saying now. Anyway, that’s what I'm saying right now. It’s very hard living like this, but meanwhile, it’s our Chiefs too. Our Chiefs got to stand up for us. They have to start pulling their money out of their pocket and giving it back instead of them lining their pockets. That’s what we're saying. Even our own.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much.
>>Audience Member: Okay. Meegwetch.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead. Over here, please.
>> Audience Member: My name is (name and identifying information removed, however he is a public figure so could remain), we're proud to recognize that Thunder Bay is located on the Traditional Lands of the First Nation. There have been many very worthwhile comments here today. I won't try to repeat them. They've been presented more than adequately. As a City Councillor, I am Chair of the Poverty Reduction Program and also on the Anti-Racism Committee. And two things from the city’s perspective would be of great assistance in it dealing with systemic racism or at least the effects of systemic racism is, one, we need more, we need adequate funding for social housing to assist the victims of racism, and we also need at least for a minimum to get the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates back up to what they were before the conservative government reduced them back in 1995. I'm talking in terms of real rates, not monetary rates, because that information has to be taken into account. The victims of systemic racism are overwhelmingly poor and while these measures wouldn't eliminate systemic racism, at least we could do something about mitigating the effects of systemic racism by making sure that every person has adequate housing and adequate rates for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: [indiscernible] resident of citizen of Thunder Bay. I would like to express myself in French. Would you allow me to express myself in French?
>> Ginelle: Yes. So we needed translate to get the microphone.
>> Audience Member: If not, I can translate in English.
>> Audience Member: My message this afternoon is not for the government. Even we are talking about our system of racism. I would like only to talk about point number three, and this message is for each of us this afternoon. Thank you for being here.
>> Translator (on behalf of Audience Member): What I was saying earlier, my decision is not for the government.
>> Captioner: Not hearing anything on the audio line.
>> Interpreter (on behalf of Audience Member): My simple message is the following. Thank everyone here. Everyone that was presented here today. And I would like to ask to always speak about racism. It is when we go out, when we live, when we have lived as the reality of racism, this is how we can do some work with the people around us. My message is to
>> Audience Member: That is the point of my message. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: (name removed). I sit on the City of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism and Respect Advisory Committee. I'm also the co Chair of Diversity Thunder Bay and I've been working in this whole area of anti racism for approximately 30 years when I was working with the Chamber of Commerce. I would just like to commend the Minister for being here today. We met last week at the Children’s Mental Health Ontario conference when you were talking about children and youth services. And I guess that’s where I'm getting at here, and I am not going to go into what our community halls already talked about today, but I think when we look about what children are, where is the future for our children in our communities, and I'm going to go back, too, because I don't want to go into all of the issues that have been raised. If we go back to where the focus is of what your Ministry and the Directorate is going to do, the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Diversity, so I think that it needs to be identified, what’s happening; some are starting to incorporate here in Thunder Bay. One of the other things that you're starting to look at is policy and research. I don't know if that’s what you're going to get into, but we have an initiative that is going to be unveiled, we'll call it, or identified to the community, this upcoming spring. And it is costing us some dollars. Those are the kinds of things we could use for developing research, and if we could get some bits of funding to be able to do those things, that is going to help us in where we're going with racism in our community. You're looking at province-wide public education. If you're doing that, and that’s a good thing, then how are you incorporating what we are already doing here in Thunder Bay? How can that message be portrayed across the province? Because there is some good things going on, and I think it’s important that we have the same voice across the province. And as I say, I give kudos to your Directorate and under your Ministry, Minister, that you're at least identifying this, that there is an issue. And it took us in Thunder Bay, we started approximately 10 years ago when our City Council identified that we had racism and we actually have a motion that says we have racism. That took a long time to get there. So the province has now identified that. And so to me that’s really very important. So whatever public education that you're going to be doing, could we please try to do it in a similar manner and so that we can educate the people across the province? You're talking about community collaboration. You're doing that here today, but don't stop doing that, because it’s really important that the work that we're doing and trying to incorporate and trying to increase and trying to eliminate whether it’s systemic or just racism is so important that we have community collaborations. And you're looking at sustainable government. I hate to tell you, but this is not going to end in my lifetime. I wish I could get up here and say that racism would be all finished before I die, because as I said, I've been working in this area for 30 odd years, but if we don't started, if we don't work on it, it will never end, so it’s very important that we're doing that. And it’s not acceptable, if you could get up and say, racism is not accepted in our province, that is the first thing that you've got to say. This is a start, but if you can actually say that, and the government can do whatever they want, but to be quite honest with you, it comes down to the vigilance. It comes down to the children that you are working with if your ministry. How are they accepting and respecting every other individual that they go to school with. Did they interact within their communities? So if we can get to the children, you're not maybe going to change the age I'm at but maybe we can change it with our youth.
>> Ginelle: I want to thank you.
>> Audience Member: And that’s very important. Thank you very much.
>> Ginelle: Thank you for your comments.
>> Ginelle: Okay. I have room for two more speakers on the list. I see two people standing. Is there someone else that really wants to speak and I can get very particular about the two minutes so that we can get three in. Okay. One more? Okay. That’s fine. Anyone else? Okay. We can do four, but we have to keep our comments.
>> Unknown: [indiscernible]
>> Ginelle: It’s okay. I'll help you with that. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Good Afternoon. My name is (name removed) from Constance Lake First Nation. I'm one of the Band counselors and also work with the Matawa Tribal Council out of Thunder Bay here. I'm with the I sit with the President for the Board of Directors and also the organization. I'm here to talk about I'm not sure if all of you here in the room watched that documentary on the state called "No Foul Play". It had to do with racism within the City of Thunder Bay. And the Fifth Estate was very helpful in bringing forth these allegations towards First Nations people and also systemic racism against the First Nations people that live and reside in the City of Thunder Bay, but also in different cities that are being affected by the same systemic problems. To make a long story short, last week I went and visited a doctor who did some examination to me for some blood work and stuff, and one of the things that he brought up, this Guy was a White Guy, a doctor, who said some things to me that made me realize that we have good people out there such as this doctor. For example, he said, I'm ashamed to share this with you, but he said the problems that we have in this country towards First Nations people are not the First Nations people. He said it begins with us, as White people. He said, it’s our ways of discriminating against First Nations people, putting you on reserve lands and allowing you to go through those things such as residential school issues, the systemic racism that goes on pretty much every day and every year. And he came to that place of acknowledging and admitting that. He said, we are the people that are responsible for this act or this discrimination towards you First Nations People. And I think if someone had mentioned, if we want to see this kind of thing resolve, it’s going to take people like that that’s going to step up and say we need to work in harmony. We need to work in unity. The word unity itself means put ago side or setting aside your differences and working together as one. That’s what unity is all about. Because you know we breathe the same air. We walk the same land. We pretty much eat the same food. The only thing different about us is skin colour. It is -- that’s about it. And we're a diverse people, but yet we're a unique people, every one of us. And I think that the First Nations people were to stand up today and speak up and the people are saying, what can we do to resolve these kinds of issues? What can we do to resolve systemic racism? Everybody is doing everything like trying to find ways, trying to find solutions and bringing a stop or put an end to the systemic racism, especially towards First Nations people. Well, one thing I'd like to say today is call on the First Nations people. You want to know? You want to be educated about systemic racism? Go to the First Nations people. They're the ones that will teach the people what it’s like. They're the ones that will teach the people what it means to be put back out there somewhere in the corner or talked about with hurt feelings when people are put down and so forth. And I think this is what we need to do is come to the First Nations people and say, what can we do to learn from you about systemic racism? Because First Nations people, in the end here, as I close, First Nations people are the nicest people you could ever that people could ever know today, come to know today. We're kind. We're respectful. And a lot of people assume the wrong things about us. If you want to know who First Nations people are, come to us and ask us and we'll tell you. We'll educate you. It’s simple as that. We won't hurt you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: And with that, I just want to share, feel free. If you want to resolve this thing in this country, around the world, go to First Nations people and we'll teach you. Even the Black people. We'll teach you. We'll work together and teach you what it’s like and we'll educate you. Thank you.
>> Hi. I'm (name removed). I go to Churchill High school. I'm still in grade 10. As a Muslim in the western country in Canada, I do receive a lot of racism and a lot of hatred because of my hijab and my religion, even though my Dad has done the tests and I worked hard for the Citizenship Test, I'm still called an immigrant. People are saying you'll never be Canadian. You'll never be from Canada. You're always an immigrant. But I always put that back and go a step further. What I want to talk about today is how in school we've never even talked about the hardship that First Nations went through, how they went through the schools that were tearing their culture apart or so. [, remove, not clear]. So in grades seven and eight, we went through it very briefly and the teachers say, oh, First Nations, we take everything free and they don't have taxes and gas is free and the water is free. When I think about it, I'm like, that is very good, but I come here and then it’s not actually real. First Nations are like, everybody else, they go through hardship and I feel like school needs to teach us that, you know what? First Nations, they are number one here. With all the other races and all that, they need help, too, and everything is not free for them. They need help by the government. I feel like I'm sorry. Even though
>> Ginelle: You're doing very well. Keep going. I'm listening. We are listening.
Audience Member: >> I feel like school needs to actually change. Talk about that there’s people that are still going through hardships for all this. Everything is not free for them. They need help. Everybody needs to work for them. Because if I lose my cultural language, I go back to my country, they can't. This is their country and their country is not
Audience Member: Yeah. That’s what I want to say today. School and, like, the way they teach us about First Nations and how everything is free to them, that is not true. And then that needs to change. That needs to, like, change to tell them, hey, these people need to actually help them and help all races, and that just needs to stop. That’s all I have today.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Ginelle: >> Come right up.
>> Audience Member: Hello. Hello to everyone. My name is [indiscernible] and I'm a student of [indiscernible] college. So I would like to share, I've been here almost three years. Right? I was brutally discriminated at my workplace. Some people asked me whether I'm a legal immigrant in here or not. And some, my other workplace, your voice sounds like [indiscernible] and so you talk about the opportunity. Right? The one place where I work more than one and a half years. Those who I trained, Canadian people, equal opportunity, whereas I have to go to the manager and ask them, can I get a promotion? And they were like, all right. We're busy and blah blah blah, all these things. Where is Canadian people? They don't need to tell the promotion easily. And I have wonderful Canadian friends. Even though my workplace, outsource to go the Canadian people, and they say, you want to work at the line cool? He said that I don't care. And some days later he put him on the line. I didn't get a shot, which I trained him. So I find they have lots of discrimination in here. So I found it’s like a land of opportunity, but for me, I don't think so, because it is people, how they treat, and they have lots of international students in the college. I not a president or a vice president. For me, I have gone through very hard life, so these new students, I'm trying to help them find a job and they have had a very hard life. I have one Indian friend. His friend is Muslim and he hardly got to get a job because of his name and he told me that when they had a nighttime and they have dreams that Muslim guy, he was crying, also he hardly get a job. So it’s sad. And the place where I work, there’s one Black guy. He applied as a server and he ended up doing dishwasher after a few days. The manager hired one Canadian guy as a server. He got a job as a server, and he was very emotional. Even I feel very emotional, too. So when these kind of things happen, I go to bed and cry. It’s hard. It’s so sad. And one incident I would like to share with you; me, and I have a bunch of my friends, we went to a party to have a drink. When I came out, I was smoking. One guy, he grabbed my cigarette and there’s one Indian guy, he is a Sikh and he was trying to check out his turban and that’s crazy. So what I would like to share is that I found here this [indiscernible] so each and every parents, each and everyone, every day, what the most important thing is, we have to tell to each other, did you help someone else? Did you bring a smile to someone else? That’s the most important thing. And the racism for me, why I think it happened, is because of the secondary level. Some people say I'm White. Some people say I'm Black. Some people say I'm Native. Some people say I'm Chinese, Asian. Who we are. With we are human beings. That’s the thing.
>> Audience Member: And last, but not least, I would like to seriously, I have wonderful Canadian friends, but those who are like management of these jobs, they are creating these issues, so please make sure you have to train properly. Make sure you have because of the race, because of the colour, so thank you so much for giving me the opportunity. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Okay. We have one more speaker.
Audience Member: >> Thank you. My name is (name removed) and I rise today, because I would be remiss if we didn't take this opportunity to talk about the systemic racism issues in Indigenous policing in Northern Ontario. The Anishinaabe Police Service has been a program that has been drastically, you should know, funded since 1994 and its inception. And the segue into that and the idea of what the Directorate can do is hopefully link policy makers in different areas of government. After the 2009 Ricardo Wesley and James Goodwin in Oshawa First Nation, there was a Coroner’s Inquest and a jury that made recommendations to prevent similar deaths from happening again. The death occurred when the two gentlemen lit their mattress on fire in a cell, because the police detachment that they were in, this is in a remote First Nation, didn't have any heating. The most depressing piece of my professional career as a lawyer was participating in the 2016 death of Lena Anderson, a woman who committed suicide in the back of a police car, because there was no detachment cell to house her in. And the most depressing aspect of my career was sitting around with a team of lawyers around this Inquest spending hundreds even thousands of public dollars doing it, and cut and pasting recommendations from the 2009 inquest into the 2016 inquest. It was the exact same issues around chronic underfunding. And I think The Ontario government needs to decide that it’s going to treat Indigenous policing the same way that it treats every other police force in Ontario and work with Canada to make sure it’s funded, because these people, these officers are looking for nothing other than a raid bro and a partner, and a lot of times a single person is up in a fly-in First Nation with backup being a six hour flight away if weather is good and they don't have the benefits of a partner to help them police an entire community. So it’s something extremely important and I hope that Ontario focuses on it. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. Thank you. Go ahead. Yeah.
>> Ginelle: That mic is not on. Can we turn this mic on? If not, you can go over and use the other one. Try it. Go ahead. Go ahead and use the other one if you don't mind.
>> Audience Member: My name is (name removed). I am from Treaty Three Territory. [indiscernible] First Nation. My name is (name removed)[indiscernible] and my name has a lot to do with restoring balance is what I've been told. A lot of the reason why I came up to speak was because all of you spoke your truth and that allows other people to be brave and come up and speak their truth as well. And what I'm hearing from all of you is that colonialism, racism, capitalism, systemic racism, all of these big words we have to describe what’s happening in our communities, it kills, it hurts, and we need more spaces to be able to have these kinds of discussions, because the people that are most impacted by it end up feeling like there’s something wrong with them. Like they are mentally ill and they're made to feel that they're seeing things wrongful, that’s what the greater society tries to tell us, but really, racism is the mental illness of, like, these systems and individuals. And I just wanted to come up, because I'm part of a collaborative. It’s called the Youth Social Infrastructure Collaborative, and we're beginning to deliver training sessions in December, which is just going to be the beginning of training people how to facilitate these kind of dialogues around racism and colonialism. And we're focusing on the youth, because youth have the power to make that change. They're going to be here the longest and it’s most important that they understand these issues so that we don't repeat history. So December 9 to the 11, we'll be having training at the Northwestern on how to discuss these issues, and then we'll be having community conversations after that to continue so it’s not just like a one off. Megwiich.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
Ginelle: >> Normally I have about eight or nine pages and I now have 18 and I've turfed two pens. Listening to you today. So I'll do my best to summarize your comments. We heard very clearly that colonialism has to be the context for this conversation. We heard that we have to move away from very simple binary analysis and talk about inter-sectionality and the complexities of how people are. The impacts of race, gender, and class on these issues. We heard very clearly that it’s about policies, institutions, and businesses and that it’s important to also hold individuals to account and to not engage in tokenism when we communicate and when we engage and consult. We heard that power issues need to be addressed, not just culture when we talk about multi culturalism and not just parties and festivals and so on, but power relationships. We heard about the importance of Islamophobia, racist and sexist biases, neo-liberalism being a key to the solution or understanding that, rather. We heard that there was support expressed for the information brought forth by the Black Lives Matter movement and that they apply equally to people of Indigenous descent that there are overlapping issues of poverty and precarious jobs, that we need to look at legislation, re-establishing some of the things alike the Ontario Employment Equity Act, raising the minimum wage, looking at the Employment Standards Act and other legislation that governs the way we work. We need to look at housing. So we heard many times that the impact of all the things that we're talking about and how it’s felt is in people being under housed or not housed at all. And so we need to address housing. We also heard about concerns within the medical profession and the lack of representation of people who can heal in ways that are non traditional. We heard that there was a need to have real resources put behind that. We heard, also, very clearly that this conversation needs to find a place for Off-Reserve members of bands who are not representative or kind of have fallen between the resources that are available for certain Indigenous people and not others. And they've been the term I wrote down here is legislated out. We heard that this approach seems to be missing the White community and what’s their responsibility and what’s their voice in this conversation? We also heard the call for measures and long term solutions. We heard that the systems of education and religion sorry, that within the system of education there’s two different systems, one that has some religious biases and so on and another, so we need to have some attempt to address that. Way heard also that a main issue for everyone, not just women, is daycare, universal daycare. We heard, also, that the conversation around land and ownership, and I think the Elder very early mentioned that we are keepers of the land, not owners of the land, so that needs to be addressed, because the entire system in which land has been treated or the way that lands has been treated is from a Colonial perspective and from a perspective of ownership and needs to be addressed. So we heard about addressing it through additional legislation and looking at the Mining Act and a very important point was made about the fact that there is an existing consultation system, but no system of consent required. So that needs to be looked at when it comes to land. And also the social determinants of health seem to ignore people of Indigenous dissent. The residential school system, child welfare, these systems we heard criminalize instead of serve and assist. We need to acknowledge that there is an Aboriginal way of being and a way of knowing, and needs and wants that are particular to that. And that Indigenous people can make and should make decisions for themselves. We heard that the concept of eliminating is a bit irresponsible in one person’s view. And because it’s founded on the system of government possessiveness and the government needs to ask in what ways it is playing a role in systemic oppression. We have to talk about dismantling colonialism and ways of governing that currently exist. It was commented that this approach is only harm reduction and there needs to be an approach that addresses settler colonialism and White supremacy. We heard several times well, once we heard racism is a socially unacceptable behavior, and then we heard that the Minister ought to stand and declare that racism is not welcome, not wanted, not appreciated in this province, I guess in this country. Okay. That was my ad lib. You didn't say that. Students were allowed to say things like I am tired of this First Nations content, and that is just wrong and hurtful. There’s something broken about the public education system, and there is also something broken about the interconnection and the communication and you named it, the jurisdictions that exists between the different levels of government, and there needs to be cooperation that puts people at the center of that; there has been for talk in teaching, when you do look at studies about Indigenous people, there has been no talk about the system of Treaties. It starts somewhere else. It starts with the colonial presence. And staff, in all institutions, so we heard later on about management, but also in the education system, that there needs to be information given to those who are teaching and information given to those who are managing to help them understand the impact of colonialism and the systemic issues that it creates. They need to, and I thought this was a notable, to understand what really happened, not the fairytales that we're taught. We need to understand the impact of White privilege and we heard from the people who walk with White privilege who say it’s been helpful for them to understand that and that we need to broaden that understanding. We need to it address how do we rebuild trust within the First Nations or between the First Nations and the government? Because that trust has been repeatedly broken by institutions, police, education, and so it seems to be an overlying theme that we have conversations and then the trust is broken. And we need to be able to address the sustained impact of colonialism and, basically, disrupt its impact and disrupt the process of colonialization. We also heard about the concerns of people who are vilified in the media. There are letters written to the editor that are homophobic, trans phobic, racist, Islamophobic, and there needs to be some critical media analysis to address these things. How can we ensure safety for conversations to take place in the public? And what’s the difference between hate speech or I guess the balance between hate speech and the need for freedom of expression? One speaker talked about many of the statistics across the country, around the involvement of Indigenous people within the criminal justice system, and basically, the message was that that needs to be looked at. It needs to be stopped, and that there’s a lack of appropriate resources to address the needs of the community. Let’s restructure that. I'm on page 10. I just don't want to leave any thoughts out. We need action. As a young person, we heard from someone that we need action and we need change and we need it quickly. We heard that there’s some disappointment about the Strategy and the compartmentalization of racism. And that there are bureaucratic barriers in place and we talked a little bit about that already, around jurisdiction. We talked about the inequality of an approach to creating an inquest when there’s death amongst Aboriginal males in custody. We talked also about the proliferation of police shootings where the statistics show that it’s most often happening to Indigenous people. And they are most likely to become the subject of an SIU investigation, so there was a question about the presence of the ministry the Attorney General is needed in this conversation. Jordan’s Principle. Supposed to facilitate the cooperation between jurisdictions within [move the, not clear], so we need to look at that and make sure that it’s activated. That the distribution of wealth is a contributing factor to systemic issues. I talked about that. So the Indigenous content requirements of 18 hours is disrespectful and needs to be looked at again. Needs to be imbued with the voice of the people of Indigenous descent so that it’s respectfully included in the way that we look at things. And there were more calls for more co-operation between the levels of government and investment in students coming to Thunder Bay and also in housing. We heard that people are living with constant trauma, and from that context, it’s really hard to sit and apply for grants. And somewhere, their story gets lost in all of the talk, and one of our community members came out today to let us know that it’s a crisis in the community. And we need to change the whole system, to have guaranteed income for people. We heard from a woman who described herself as a poor Indian woman in her own rich country, asking for us to look at how much it costs to be housed and reminding us that you're getting sick living under the system of poverty. And being left out of conversations at times with the Chief. And it’s a vicious cycle. There was a call for returning the levels of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates to previous levels. There was a citizen that sorry. This is the business of every citizen. Addressing these things are the business of every citizen. And the Minister was commended for being here today and for identifying these issues and reminded that children are the future and to look at some of the work that’s being done in policy and research across the country so that we can build on what is being done, and mention that 10 years ago, the City of Thunder Bay identified that we have racism and that I did already say that there was a call to ask the government to really declare that racism is not accepted in our province. And I think some of these things I've already mentioned. I'm sorry. I'm just making sure. So a reminder that colonialism, racism, capitalism, and systemic racism kills and hurts, and we need to look at Indigenous policing and the chronic underfunding of that system. And I'm back to page one, so that’s it. Thank you very, very much.
>> Minister: Let’s give a big hand to our facilitator for this wonderful event. As you were speaking and recapping, my wife sends me a text message and asked me how it was and I sent her a message back saying, you know, that this is, without a question, one of the best conversations that I've been able to be a part of. I just want to say thank you, because we're going to go back and put together a plan that we think will be reflective of these conversations. I'm going to be briefed, but I just wanted to mention a couple of things. I first wanted to thank the young volunteers who are here helping us in the red shirts today. Let’s given them a big ground of applause.
>> Minister: You know, everywhere we've been, and yesterday I was saying, we were in London, Ontario and we'll be in Windsor on Monday, but everywhere we are, we tap into the young, you know, the Youth Advisory Committee or, you know, some type of youth group and they come out and help, and they've just been so professional. It’s really nice to see young people being part of the process. And also, to the young people who are in the audience today, and I know a couple of young people spoke, I just want to say thank you for being here, because you know, we need you to be part of that solution. So let’s give them a big round of applause.
>> Minister Coteau: I just wanted to mention, the only other thing I wanted to mention is the comment that the Councillor made talking about, you know, that Thunder Bay has a strategy, that it’s working on in other jurisdictions. I think that’s such a valid point, that we need, to take, work with municipalities. And I was saying to George, who is working with me on this project, that we really need to figure out how that fits into this larger plan. And the fact that a City Council has to pass a resolution saying that racism exists, you know, it’s pretty incredible. And it sounds you know, it’s so important, but it sounds silly in the same way. Like racism exists. And I think by having these conversations across the province, and that they are the first provincially lead conversations that have happened in my recent time, my recent memory. The fact that we're going around and having these conversations I think is a good start. So I thank you for your comments, which I thought they were very valid comments. I was the School Board Trustee back in 2004 with another Trustee who asked the School Board to start to collect race based data. And it was very controversial at the time, and we won by one vote. You know, the whole conversation around race, and that was a decade ago. More than 10 years ago. But I asked the School Board to start to collect data, because at that time, the School Board wouldn't admit that there was something wrong. And someone said, you know, back then, if you have no data, there’s no problem and there’s no solution. And I think that when you start to collect good data and you start to apply it, it’s almost like taking a flashlight and just shining it in different places. Places that the light hasn't hit in a long time. And I just want you to know that we're committed as a government and I know that, you know, there’s not a lot of faith in government these days and people, you know, think government is ineffective, but I want you to know that the team that we put together at the Anti Racism Directorate, most of them are hired from outside of government, number one. But number two, even those who are hired from government are some of the most incredible people that I've got to know in government, because they're committed to this. All of those people at the back there that are there, they're part of the Anti Racism Directorate. And I really believe that they're going to be able to make a difference in government. So have some faith in us. We'll be back around, you know, after we have put the Strategy forward to talk about this organization. Through your community, through the local leadership, through the community, whoever, you know, have these conversations, they're important. I think this community, this community definitely cares about the conversation about race and systemic racism, and just like when I came here to do the consultation on culture, this community is completely more different than any other community across the Province of Ontario. The fact that you're here, it’s a bold conversation, and I think that that says a lot. And to the young man who spoke, what’s your name, sir? What’s your name? I just want to say, you know, your experiences that you were talking about, I don't think I know that they happen all the time and they happen to all of us, but I honestly believe that the people of Ontario are good people overall and there’s just some bad people among us that, you know, will say stuff that will hurt people’s feelings and they will not be inclusive. I believe that you have a place in this province to help us grow, help us build, and I'm proud that you're here with us today. So thank you.
>> Minister: Have a wonderful day. I'm going to head to the airport now. I appreciate it. Take care.