THE ADVOCATE 421
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
We will also continue working closely with the judiciary, BCFNJC,
MNBC, Legal Services Society, Indigenous communities and other external
stakeholders and partners to explore ways to improve the administration
and delivery of Gladue reports. We will also explore ways of expanding B.C.’s
system of Indigenous Courts.
The great need for this work was reinforced for me last November when
I attended the First Nations Leaders’ Gathering. More than 900 people representing
180 Indigenous communities attended the gathering—the largest
event to date. More than half of the participants were First Nations delegates
representing almost 180 Indigenous communities.
During our meeting, the province heard from many Nations that the justice
system is not a safe place for Indigenous people, who lack trust in the
system and its services. This feedback underscored the dire need for a justice
system that meets the needs of Indigenous people and communities.
I’m glad we are now in a position to make real progress towards that goal.
Working in partnership with Indigenous people to reform our justice system
is just one aspect of our government’s deep commitment to reconciliation.
B.C. has fully endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, and last fall we became the first province in Canada to
officially recognize these rights in law by enacting the Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
In addition to upholding Indigenous rights, the Act supports the Indigenous
Justice Strategies, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to
Action, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous
Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice. I look forward to collaborating with the
BCFNJC and the MNBC to improve circumstances for Indigenous families
and communities through the Act.
Encouraging work is already underway to support meaningful change,
build trust and strengthen partnerships. Working together, I am confident
we will make great strides towards improving outcomes for Indigenous people,
ending systemic bias and discrimination in our justice system and
building resilient communities where Indigenous people have equal opportunities