OTTAWA — Melanie Morrison says her sister went missing in June 2006 — a unusual disappearance because she was a young mother.
She says when their mom went to police, her sister was presumed to be “out with friends” and the police figured she’d show up.
Four years later, Morrison’s sister’s remains were found.
“It was devastating because where she was found was less than a kilometre from her home,” wrote Morrison, a member of a volunteer advisory circle for the national public inquiry, as part of the foreword to the commission’s final report.
She also said the way police files on Indigenous women are treated is wrong — a central thread in the federally funded commission’s findings and recommendations published on Monday.
“My hope would be that there is an immediate change of how the police handle Indigenous files on- or off-reserve so there’s no delay in pursuing every possible option to find that missing or murdered loved one,” Morrison said.
Monday’s report contains 231 recommendations, framed as “calls for justice,” including standardized response times to reports of missing Indigenous persons and women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people) people experiencing violence.
The commission also called on the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to make sure there is consistency in reporting when people go missing or are found dead.
The association, which had standing at the inquiry, said it is grateful to be trusted with the responsibility, adding it will study the commission’s findings, its recommendations and how the police chiefs can assist police services across Canada.
Concerns about the RCMP were also raised in the final report — findings the national police force said it accepts.
In a statement, Commissioner Brenda Lucki said her force has already started to work on policy and procedure changes during the course of the inquiry’s work, such as creating a national unit to help with major investigations and in updating policies and procedures for missing-person and sudden-death investigations.
Lucki also said the Mounties will carefully consider changes that strengthen investigations, support survivors and families and reduce violence.
“During my appearance before the inquiry in June 2018, I apologized to the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on behalf of the RCMP, and promised that we will do better to investigate these cases and support families,” she said.
“We are committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through a renewed relationship built on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”
The inquiry’s interim report, released in November 2017, called on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create a national police task force where families and survivors could seek to reopen cases or review investigations.
In response, the federal government announced that it would provide $9.6 million over five years to support the RCMP’s new national investigative standards and practices unit to provide national oversight to major investigations.
This does not fulfil the national inquiry’s recommendation, the commission’s final report says.
Canada still needs an independent national police task force specifically designed to meet the needs of family members and survivors of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, it adds.
“Our most important objection to providing additional funding to the RCMP in this manner is that, once again, this involves police policing themselves,” the report says.
“The RCMP have not proven to Canada that they are capable of holding themselves to account — and, in fact, many of the truths shared here speak to ongoing issues of systemic and individual racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination that prevent honest oversight from taking place.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in Vancouver that the government is working on a national action plan in response to the inquiry’s final report and it will be ready in “the coming months.”
With a federal election looming in October, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde urged all federal parties on Tuesday to make responding to the inquiry one of their key platform planks, saying they have an obligation to do so.
—With files from Jim Bronskill
Kristy Kirkup , The Canadian Press
RCMP members taking a stand against “mandatory” vaccination
RCMP members facing the loss of their jobs over mandatory vaccination are reaching out to their Commissioner and asking for the support of Canadians.
In an extensive and detailed Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Luck, the officers say they cannot “willingly participate in enforcing mandates” they don’t believe in.
RCMP members opposed to vaccine mandates have formed an organization called Mounties For Freedom. Members of the RCMP are among the thousands of federal public servants who feel threatened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that “There will be consequences” for those who choose not to be vaccinated.
The open letter (below) to Commissioner Lucki sets out a series of arguments culminating in a joint statement against “the discrimination faced by those who have exercised their right to bodily autonomy.”
Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki
RCMP National Headquarters
73 Leikin Dr
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2
October 21, 2021
Dear Commissioner Brenda Lucki:
We respectfully submit this open letter to express our most sincere concerns and resolute stand against the forced coercive medical intervention of Canadians, and against the undue discrimination experienced by those exercising their lawful right to bodily autonomy. We are not against vaccinations, but as law enforcement officers, we cannot in good conscience willingly participate in enforcing mandates that we believe go against the best interests of the people we protect.
Prominent Alberta Conservative Voice Explains: Why I am voting Yes to End Equalization…
From Danielle Smith
To me, equalization, the health transfer and the social transfer combined, are a measure of how much the federal government is overtaxing us. The Constitution has a very limited role for the federal government. The federal government likes to use its spending power to meddle in areas that aren’t its jurisdiction. My view is this – if you want to pass policy for health care, long term care, drug plans, day care, welfare – then RUN FOR PROVINCIAL OFFICE. Don’t take money from the provinces, launder it through the federal bureaucracy and then divvy it up unfairly to give back more money to the provinces that you think will vote for you. (Yep – that’s how I see it.)
So let’s analyze the numbers a bit shall we? I have three tables to show you that tell the whole story.
The level of overtaxation (on these three programs alone) is easily quantified. In the 2021-22 fiscal year it will be $83.890 billion. In just 10 years, the federal overtaxation has grown from $60.085 billion – that’s a 40 per cent increase.
Per person Ottawa transfers an average of $2,181. But of course we know, because of equalization, some provinces are more equal than others.
Take a look at Alberta. Our transfers have grown from $3.661 billion to $6.835 billion in the same period, or from $946 per person to $1,523 per person.
Now take a look at Quebec. Their transfers have grown from $17.329 to $26.306 in the same 10 year period, or $2,148 per person to $3,039 per person.
How would an equal per capital model impact the other provinces?…
In my column, I said we should eliminate equalization and instead do equal per person transfers to every province. If we did that, Alberta would receive $9.788 billion this year, a difference of $2.953 billion more. Alberta isn’t the only one getting hosed. Look at the final line in the table below. So are BC and Ontario. Saskatchewan is shortchanged $781 million, and poor Newfoundland and Labrador, which in on the brink of bankruptcy but still doesn’t qualify for equalization, would get $343 million more. If we eliminated equalization and gave everyone the same per person amount, Quebec would receive $18.879 billion or $7.427 billion less than is expected this year. As it should be. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador should not be subsidizing Quebec.
There are a couple of things I really like about a per person transfer model.
- It encourages provinces to compete to attract people, because the more people you attract the more dollars you attract.
I understand the Fairness Alberta argument about changing equalization. They suggest a markup to market on the electricity price that hydro rich provinces charge, they want to stop growing equalization with GDP growth, and they want to account for the different cost of services in each province. But in the end, if we create a program that rewards provinces only for attracting people then they have to implement policies that attract people. Like having low rates of taxation, making it easier to start a business, having affordable housing, and so on. There is a lot that is in the power of government. But if we keep giving provinces more money as they adopt policies that reduce their attractiveness it is counterproductive.
- A per person model is going to give a greater benefit to smaller provinces with lower costs of services than larger provinces with a larger cost of service.
Even if making Alberta pay more is the objective of Ottawa, an equal per capita transfer amount still has Alberta paying disproportionately into the pot. Alberta has higher wages, higher workforce participation rates, higher spending so we will stay pay more in personal and corporate income taxes, GST, fuel tax, EI, CPP and other federal taxes, than we receive back in per person federal transfers. This won’t eliminate the net payer status we have; but it will get us on our way to narrowing the gap.
- Once we have established a single per person transfer that is the same across the country we can move to the next step, which is convert the cash transfer into tax points instead.
If Alberta was getting its proper share of transfers – $9.79 billion – we could then move to the next stage of negotiation with Ottawa. Which is to convert the cash to tax points instead. I’ll leave it to the accountants to figure out the precise numbers, but conceptually let’s say it would mean reducing the federal income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories and increasing provincial income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories. The reason to do that is this, as Alberta grows so would it’s share of own-source revenues. Rather than have Ottawa continue to capitalize on our growth, we would.
- Once we have fixed the problems with federal provincial transfers, we can move on to fix CPP and EI next.
Alberta pays disproportionately into CPP and EI too – we pay roughly 30 per cent of the premiums for CPP and only get back about 10 per cent of the spending. I haven’t done the calculation on EI but I suspect it’s even worse. If we can stop the overtaxation on income tax, these two programs should be next.
Enough is enough…
For too long we have just accepted that this is the way the country works. I think we’ve been bullied into thinking that paying disproportionately into Confederation was our penance for the federal government cancelling the National Energy Program. It’s almost as if we collectively felt that if only we paid off central Canada, they wouldn’t come after our resource wealth again. How wrong we were. Now Quebec is so bloody minded they don’t care if they hurt themselves by killing off our energy industry.
That’s fine. If they don’t want the revenues that come from our energy resources, we should be happy to keep it for ourselves. Let’s start to show them we are serious by strongly voting yes to end equalization on October 18.
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