LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Report fails Indigenous youth

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Dear editor:

The MMIWG Report utterly fails to address its mandate to make recommendations for “concrete and effective action that can be taken to remove systemic causes of violence and to increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.”

It fails to note that educated and skilled women in or preparing for rewarding employment seldom disappear and are seldom murder victims, and that correspondingly enabled men seldom victimize women.

Despite the shocking conditions in remote settlements, as well as for many urban First Peoples, the Report fails to address the foundational principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada signed but fails to heed for First Peoples youth: “States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development on the basis of equal opportunity.

States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to
the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.”

In sum, the Report fails to deliver an implementation plan for First Peoples youth to have the education and skills training, sports, recreation and career opportunities that the Commissioners themselves had.

Colin Alexander, Ottawa

[The writer was publisher of the Yellowknife News of the North, and the advisor on education for Ontario’s Royal Commission on the Northern Environment. He has family living in Nunavut and his daughter is mayor of Iqaluit.]

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