FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2018
ANISHINAABE TERRITORY, MB –Grand Chief Jerry Daniels feels the Throne Speech by the Lieutenant-Governor Janice Filmon is a potential step forward though work needs to be done.
“The Throne Speech is a step forward in addressing the social services needed for our most vulnerable people, but gaps continue to exist and we must work together to address those gaps.” Ongoing consultation, genuine partnerships and adequate funding will not only produce long-lasting outcomes, but will be cost saving and will benefit all Manitobans.
The Throne Speech acknowledged much needed resources for mental health services, addiction treatment facilities and initiatives to empower women; however, there continues to be gaps in providing long-lasting results. For example, the five new Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinics are not accessible to all Manitobans, especially those who may have issues with transportation. As well, community-based treatment programs have limited capacity and long waiting lists may close that window of opportunity when seeking help. Thus, effective partnerships and adequate funding for the community-based programs will produce results that will flourish communities and contribute to a stronger economy.
Moreover, meaningful consultation must be ongoing, including for important changes like in the Child and Family Services Act and the Child and Family Services Authorities Act. Legislative changes must include Indigenous participation throughout the entire process. “We have an existing resolution that calls for us to be involved in any proposed changes to the Act and we must be included in solving this issue” said Daniels. “To keep families together, we must work together for our common goal.”
The Throne Speech also addressed Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice has been shown to be effective in deterring people from getting involved in the Justice System. “The Throne Speech acknowledged the support for Restorative Justice, but we have yet to see an increase in funding from the Province to expand our program since the passing of the Act,” said Daniels. “We have a strong Restorative Justice program that is only offered in 6 out of our 34 communities.” The use of Restorative Justice can decrease tax payer’s dollars by reducing the amount of time and resources needed to administer the entire Justice process. The Southern Chiefs’ Organization Restorative Justice Program is based on healing, reparation, and community support. There is a need and demand to expand the program into the other 28 communities.
Southern Chiefs’ Organization was established March 1999 and represents 34 First Nations in Manitoba.