This week on the show, I sat down for a conversation with rabble’s own columnist Chuka Ejeckam. Chuka is a writer and policy researcher who works in the labour movement. The son of Igbo immigrants to Canada, he grew up in Winnipeg. We talked about what was missing from this federal election, and as Chuka notes, we were in large part lacking substantive media coverage. We also talked about the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which took place on Thursday. What does it tell us about how the federal government approaches ongoing issues of colonialism and racism? Later in the show, I will dive into rabble’s own coverage of the day.
Chuka Ejeckam is also a regular panelist at our monthly politics show: Off the Hill. You can read his writing on the site, where he focuses on inequity and inequality, drug policy, structural racism and labour. You can also find him on Twitter @ChukaEjeckam.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Welcome to the segment of the show called “in case you missed it” where we review the week’s top headlines. Here’s the rundown.
Yesterday was of course the very first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation — though it was far from the first Orange Shirt Day. Since 2013, Indigenous peoples across Canada have been honouring survivors and victims of Canada’s Residential School System by wearing an orange shirt. The shirt symbolizes the loss of childhood residential school attendees experienced, in honour of Phyllis Webstad’s bright orange shirt she wore when she arrived at a residential school, but was quickly stripped of as she and all the other children were forced into uniforms. She never saw that shirt, which had been a gift from her grandmother, again.
Even though the day has passed, uncovering Canada’s truth and engaging in reconciliation is an ongoing process, not something to be thought of once a year.
Here at rabble, we were grateful to Rachel Snow, an Indigenous activist and educator of the Iyahe Nakoda nation, for debuting her first rabble column on Thursday, in which she transformed the word “reconciliation” into “wreck-onciliation” spelt wreck. A wreck it has been. Rachel takes readers through the very recent history of the impacts ongoing colonialism has on First Nations and how the federal government continues to fall short.
“As a colonial state, Canada lacks a true understanding of First Nation peoples. When claiming it is listening to First Nations, Canada prefers to hear only the select few voices of those who support its mainstream agenda,” she writes.
Thankfully, there was a win for First Nations this week. Remember how Trudeau was battling the First Nations survivors of the inept child welfare system in court?
Turns out, the federal government is still on the hook to compensate tens of thousands of First Nations children and their families to the tune $40,000 each, after it failed to provide them with the same level of service and care other Canadian children and families receive.
That is the amount a Canadian Human Rights Commission Tribunal awarded as part of a series of decisions in 2019 and 2020.
On Wednesday, September 29, Federal Court Justice Paul Favel rejected the Trudeau government’s appeal of those decisions. Karl Nerenberg has that report, concluding that unfortunately, this may not be the last of this battle. The federal government could in fact file for a further appeal.
Meanwhile, politics reporter Stephen Wentzell wrote about how Indigenous MPs were marking the day, noting that the 12 elected Indigenous MPs (a record number, by the way — in 2019 there were 11) occupy only 3.5 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons.
Also on the site this week:
Pam Palmater writes about how the rise of the People’s Party of Canada is a symptom of government inaction on rising levels of hate that primarily Black, Indigenous and other people of colour are experiencing.
Penney Kome writes about the inevitability of electric vehicles.
Doreen Nicoll writes about North America’s first Black food sovereignty plan which Toronto City Council will be voting on today, Friday October 1.
Plus much more!
That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of rabble radio. Stay tuned for more of our social and political coverage next week. If you like the show please consider subscribing wherever you listen to your podcasts. Rate, review, send it to a friend — you know the drill. Follow us on social media @rabbleca.
As always, check on the site for the latest in-depth analysis, insightful opinions and breaking news. I’m your host, Chelsea Nash. Thanks for listening!