End the Disparity - Sign the Petition
What's this about?
The petition created by our First Nations Study Circle has gathered over 2000 signatures since it was launched in the summer and will reported on in the House of Commons on November 28th by Mr. Corneliu Chisu, MP for Pickering Scarborough East.
The crux of the petition is simple: inequities in government services that negatively affect First Nations communities, families, and children aren’t fair. But the early success of the FNSC petition has been because of the way it has been presented to groups like Unifor, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Kairos, and local congregations; the study group has sought to remind everyone it has spoken with that “when it comes to First Nations’ treaties, we’re all treaty people.”
While it may be that your forebears didn’t actually sign on the dotted line, the treaties that were signed are upheld by the government on behalf of all Canadians, those whose families were settlers at the time of signing and those who have more recently taken the Canadian flag as their own. Mr. Chisu, a member of the Conservative Party, is helping the FNSC remind his government of the obligation they have to uphold First Nations’ treaties as the representative of the Canadian people.
The disparities between government services provided First Nations’ people and those provided other Canadians are many. James Anaya, a United Nations’ Special Rapporteur who recently traveled the country to examine First Nations’ circumstances, noted that although Canada ranks among the top countries for quality of life, conditions in First Nations’ communities would place them at sixty-seven. West Hill’s FNSC has highlighted three areas of disparity it believes are crucial to improving First Nations’ communities in its petition: education, access to clean water, and health and social programming funding.
- A child in an Ontario Elementary school receives an average of $11,000 toward her or his education; a child in a federally funded school on a reserve receives an average of $6,000.
- First Nations communities continue to struggle with contaminated water: In the course of one year, 2011, there were 168 water advisories reported in 127 First Nations communities.
- Transfers to the provinces from the federal government for health and social programs grew by 40% between 1996 and 2011; in the same period, payments for reserve infrastructure dropped by the same percentage.
The FNSC is leaving from the church on Tuesday morning at 10:00 to make their way to Ottawa, stopping in towns along the way to gather more signatures before handing the petition to Mr. Chisu. Signatures will continue to be collected at the church or online until further notice “or the disparity is ended,” says Ruth Gill, coordinator of the study circle. Feel free to join the group at the church to see them off.
Two ways to sign the petition:
- The easiest, best, and fastest way to sign the petition is online through the Avaaz interface by clicking here. Be sure to share the link with friends and family.
- If you wish to print out the petition and obtain written signatures, click here. Paper copies of the petition can be returned to West Hill United Church, 62 Orchard Park Drive, Toronto, ON M1E 3T7. Attn: First Nations Study Group.