Join us at noon on Thursday June 29th at the Social Enterprise Centre at 765 Main St for the Living Wage Report for Manitoba.
12:00 – 1 pm
By Shauna MacKinnon
On Friday May 26, I attended an impromptu event organized by supporters of the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. The event was held to show support for the Centre, which was reeling from the news that it would not receive an expected $120,000 required for its operations. This represents one third of the Centre’s budget and losing it means that North Point Douglas Women’s Centre will be forced to cut important programs that are serving the community well. It got me thinking about reconciliation.
Indigenous women spoke passionately about the important role the Centre plays in their lives. They spoke about the culturally based programs that are helping them to heal from intergenerational trauma caused by government policies and programs like residential schools. As I listened to these women, it became clear that the Provincial government’s decision to cut funding for this and other community based programs serving high numbers of Indigenous peoples, is inconsistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action and Manitoba’s Path to Reconciliation Act.
Premier Brian Pallister announced will be riding his bicycle from the St Peter’s Reserve (Selkirk) to Peguis First Nation this June 16 – 17 to recognize the 200th anniversary of the Selkirk Treaty. This blog summarizes the responses by Peguis First Nation member Tim Stevenson and CCPA Manitoba director Molly McCracken to the June bike tour.
A letter regarding the bike tour was sent to groups, including our office, along with a general invitation to all Manitobans to provide a letter to the Premier for delivery to Peguis First Nation. The Premier’s letter states:
“I invite you to join me in this mission of friendship by writing a letter to Manitoba’s Indigenous peoples, expressing your gratitude for the vital role they played in the formation of our province, as well as your optimism for the important role they will play in the future.”
As a non-Indigenous organization we thought it best to connect with Indigenous people on our submission and connected with researcher and food sovereignty leader Tim Stevenson, member of Peguis First Nation, who wrote “Victory Lap or Humble Ride” on his reflections of the journey. Stevenson writes:
“With the letters of thanks from Manitobans, it is hoped the premier learns the true history of Manitoba and the sacrifices made by the Indigenous people. I hope the letters will move him to actual reconciliation work in the province and to partner with Indigenous people”.
Stevenson calls on the Premier to be a leader in Indigenous relations, work with Indigenous health leaders and prepare a plan to support Indigenous health frameworks, ensure equitable participation in social infrastructure and social programs and partner with Indigenous people through implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
As a leader in food sovereignty, Stephenson in “Victory Lap or Humble Ride” calls on the Premier to support Indigenous communities to uphold harvesting rights, strengthen co-management regimes for conservation and increase access to traditional foods outside of reserves, all with a view of improving health and well-being. The symbol of Manitoba, the buffalo, once a central source of livelihood for Indigenous people has been lost. Bringing back the buffalo would be an important effort to this end explains Stevenson.
The letter from Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA MB) director Molly McCracken respectfully submits evidence through international, national and provincial policy frameworks and the research of the CCPA MB goals for Indigenous-settler relations in Manitoba. The letter highlights CCPA MB research in partnership with Indigenous communities, such as Moving to the City: Housing and Aboriginal Migration to Winnipeg; Reconciliation Lives Here and Finding Her home: a gender-based analysis of the homelessness crisis in Winnipeg.
The CCPA MB letter (view it here: “CCPA MB letter Premier Bike Tour 2017“) explains how the bicycle journey can be a first step or a token gesture. The province has responsibility to act on the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action, however this provincial government has not yet indicated they will do so. The letter asks if the Premier’s government has a plan to implement the TRC Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)? Molly McCracken writes in the CCPA MB letter:
“The bicycle tour to Peguis First Nation from Selkirk appears to be a surface effort. A brief look at the history shows that this is the route the people of Peguis First Nation took when they were illegally removed from the band’s traditional home, the St. Peter’s Reserve, in 1907. The route is known as “Canada’s Trail of Tears” and the lack of acknowledgement of this fact in the letter makes the Bicycle Tour appear ill-informed and an incomplete token gesture.
The Premier has the opportunity to reconsider and reframe the bike tour as an opportunity to start to advance Truth and Reconciliation and take the time to learn from Indigenous leaders offering education such as Dr. Niigaan Sinclair and Peguis First Nation members like Tim Stevenson with the end goal of addressing inequities and supporting self-determination of Indigenous peoples.
This starts with settlers acknowledging that Indigenous peoples lived on Turtle Island (North America) for millennia before settlers arrived and have much more to teach us, especially today. The knowledge held by Indigenous peoples is key to our collective survival on the planet and Indigenous Manitobans are leading the way. For example tomorrow leaders gather in Sagkeeng First Nation for the Onjisay Aki International Climate Summit; this gathering will express a common vision, values and consensus on action-based solutions to climate change. McCracken writes:
“After just 200 years of settlement we are confronted with contamination of land via for example the hog industry (Commissioners’ Report); of the water via for example agricultural run-off into Lake Winnipeg resulting in harmful algea blooms (Lake Winnipeg Foundation); and of the animals, for example via the loss of the buffalo and now woodland boreal caribou (Wilderness Committee Manitoba). Climate change risks irrevocably changing life in our province and our planet (Prairie Climate Centre). These concerning environmental impacts are felt by all Manitobans particularly Indigenous peoples who are spiritually, culturally, socially and economically tied to this land. Indigenous peoples persevere, often in spite of what the colonizers have done. We need to change the dial on this conversation to become true and meaningful allies, in order to stand with Indigenous peoples, culture and ways of knowing so that we can live in a true sustainable way for seven generations and more.
Just as Chief Peguis shared his resources with the Selkirk Settlers to aid in their survival, now we need Indigenous peoples to help us survive on the planet in a sustainable manner into the 21st century and beyond.”
Letters from Manitobans regarding the bicycle tour can be submitted to the Premier’s office at PremierPeguisTour@leg.gov.mb.ca.
Molly McCracken is the director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba office
This year the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives celebrates 20 years of independent research, analysis and expertise. From last year’s talk by Naomi Klein to this year’s address by black freedom movement icon Angela Davis, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Manitoba is at the forefront of progressive thought in our province.
20 years of CCPA Manitoba research and commentary is due to the dedicated support of individuals, organizations and unions. If you are a supporter, thank you. If you are not – please consider donating today to keep progressive ideas on the public policy agenda. WE NEED YOU! Big right wing think tanks are active in Manitoba – we struggle for space in the media against them all the time. Thanks to your support we can make sure we’re at every key policy discussion and decision, such as presenting on the regressive Bill 33, which entrenches minimum wage as a poverty wage; read our presentations and commentary.
The following is a sampling of what we’ve been able to accomplish thanks to the support of Manitobans concerned about evidence-based public policy to advance social, economic and environmental justice. Read More
By Josh Brandon and Molly McCracken
Working should be a route out of poverty, but for some, low wages are a poverty trap. The current minimum wage is inadequate as at $11/ hour, it places workers as far as $8,000 below the poverty line. Minimum wage should be increased through pre-announced steps to $15.53/ hour and then indexed at that point. The current plan by the Manitoba government would tie minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation or less, freezing or lowering the buying power of the most vulnerable workers in Manitoba.
Under Bill 33, future minimum wage increases would be set at the rate of the consumer price index (CPI), or in the case of negative economic conditions such as a recession, no increase will be made. This legislation would give workers only a $0.15 increase in minimum wage in 2017. Read More
Bill 33 Minimum Wage Indexation Act was heard by the Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development on May 23rd, 2017. CCPA Manitoba made two presentations to committee:
Comparing a living wage with minimum wage – Lynne Fernandez Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues
Adequate minimum wage is in public interest – Molly McCracken – Director CCPA-MB
By Lynne Fernandez
First published in the Winnipeg Free Press May 6, 2017
On May 2, 2017 the Province’s news release announced it would be putting out a request for proposals (RFP) for Public Private Partnerships (P3s) to build four new schools in Manitoba. The Premier claims that the P3 model has worked out well across Canada. Read More
By Bronwyn-Dobchuck Land
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, Dr. Angela Y. Davis will deliver a talk in Winnipeg at Knox United Church titled Race, Resistance, and Revolution: Freedom is a Constant Struggle. She will be hosted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba office, in partnership with Black Space Winnipeg and Queer People of Colour (QPOC) Winnipeg. While it is impossible to do justice to Dr. Davis’ contributions to politics, philosophy, and social movement organizing in a short summary, this CCPA Review highlights a few moments in her life and writing as examples of the span and scope of her work.
Dr. Davis has always been both a scholar and an activist, and a model for what it looks like to tie those two forms of work together. Her experiences – as a Black woman who grew up in the south, as a member of the Communist party, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), as a graduate student of Philosophy, and as a political prisoner, to name a few – have shaped her theorizing, which has always been oriented toward explaining the world in order to change it. Read More