Real reconciliation means re-establishing honourable relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan. We know that Saskatchewan will be stronger when we close the existing gaps in health, justice, income and education. First Nations and Métis peoples are a fundamental strength of our province, and addressing the inequities that impede their success has to be a top priority. We can and must do better.
As premier, I would commission an annual Closing the Gap report to identify the inequities in health, educational and economic outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Saskatchewan, and propose solutions, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, to address those inequities. I would deliver a Closing the Gap speech in the legislature, elevating this to a top priority for our provincial government. I would mandate each department and ministry to approach its work with the added equity lens of improving outcomes for First Nations and Métis people. As an extension of this work, our government would convene regular meetings with the federal government, Métis and First Nations governments, and community leaders, bringing all the key players to the table with the shared goal of addressing ongoing inequities.
Actions in multiple sectors of government must be complemented by work toward cultural change as we seek to overcome racial divisions and set out on a path toward meaningful reconciliation.
- Elevate work on Closing the Gap in health, justice, education and economic outcomes to a top priority for the Government of Saskatchewan;
- Task the Minister of First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs to work with the Treaty Commissioner in taking actions informed by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was recently adopted by Canada;
- Use a Jordan’s Principle approach to work with the federal government to ensure that services are available wherever people live in Saskatchewan, regardless of jurisdiction;
- Mandate the use of a First Nations and Métis equity lens, with all departments – including finance, health, education, justice, economic development, social services and poverty, and environment – making decisions with an eye to improving conditions for Métis and First Nations people.
For the language of reconciliation to truly bridge the racial and cultural divides in our province – for the good of everyone in Saskatchewan – we need to move beyond words to real investment in better outcomes.