THE ADVOCATE 419
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
By the Honourable David Eby, Q.C.*
INDIGENOUS JUSTICE LOOKING FORWARD
Indigenous people across the world have been negatively affected by systemic
racism and destructive colonial policies, and unfortunately our
province is no exception. Provincial and federal laws and policies such
as residential schools have had devastating impacts on First Nations people
in B.C. They have also directly contributed to the current crisis of over-
representation of First Nations people in the criminal justice system and in
In 2017/2018, Aboriginal adults accounted for thirty per cent of admissions
to provincial/territorial custody and twenty-nine per cent of admissions
to federal custody, while representing approximately four per cent of
the Canadian adult population. These statistics, which stem from the effects
of colonization, residential school trauma and limited economic opportunities,
have worsened during the past ten years despite collaborative efforts
to address the problem. It is clear our criminal justice system, as it currently
exists, does not work for Indigenous people.
As Attorney General, tackling this problem is a priority for me and for
this government. We recognize the only way to create meaningful change
is to work with Indigenous peoples on this issue with humility and respect
and in equal partnership.
With my colleague the Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public
Safety and Solicitor General, we began by signing a Memorandum of Understanding
with the BC First Nations Justice Council (“BCFNJC”) in 2017 to
work in partnership on the development of a First Nations Justice Strategy.
We also committed to work in partnership with the Métis Nation BC
(“MNBC”) to develop a Métis Justice Strategy that will be Métis-led. These
* The Honourable David Eby, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General.