Law groups welcome MMIWG report
The Lawyers Daily talks to Kim Stanton about the MMIWG report
On Monday June 3rd, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its report and recommendations. You can read the MMIWG report and get more information about the Inquiry here.
The Lawyers Daily spoke to a number of lawyers about the MMIWG report, including GP’s Kim Stanton. Lawyers Daily noted that the report and its recommendations are being welcomed in the legal community, “although it remains to be seen how much the bar and bench will do to implement the inquiry’s demands, including that regulators mandate (and enforce) Indigenous cultural competence training with respect to lawyers and judges.”
Here is what Kim had to say:
Aboriginal law practitioner Kim Stanton of Toronto’s Goldblatt Partners, an expert on truth commissions and the design of public inquiries, said the inquiry’s report tells the legal profession “we do need a fundamental shift in our understanding of ourselves as Canadians in order to move forward and do what needs to be done to address the crisis of disproportionate violence that targets Indigenous women and girls. As members of the legal profession, we must work to transform our profession as well as our laws, policies and practices, in accordance with the recommendations of numerous inquiries in Canada, including this one.”
Stanton noted “the report clearly states that the crisis of murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls is a result of systemic human rights violations. Therefore the solutions must be human rights and Indigenous rights based. In particular, there must be a focus on achieving substantive equality, addressing discrimination, racism and misogyny as the root causes.”
She pointed out that the inquiry’s call for mandatory cultural competency training within the legal profession echoes similar “Calls to Action” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015 that were directed at law schools and legal regulators, and similar and related recommendations by the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba in 1991, and the 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP).
“The Federation of Law Societies committed to respond to the TRC Calls to Action and there have been some voluntary efforts, such as the Indigenous Bar Association and Aboriginal Legal Services guides to working with Indigenous clients and peoples in the justice system,” Stanton acknowledged. “But my impression is that there is still a way to go on structural implementation in the profession. And with the recent focus of the bencher election in Ontario, I am not hopeful that such training will be a priority for the LSO over the next while, despite the overwhelming need for addressing the entrenched discrimination that Indigenous people face in the Canadian justice system.”
Stanton said the inquiry adds to the findings of the TRC, the RCAP, the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, and many other reports, “that we as a country have engaged in long-standing, intentional policies based on racism and sexism. While the definition of ‘genocide’ is a matter of international law, we must acknowledge that this is the latest and most forceful inquiry report to confirm Canada’s history of engaging in mass human rights violations in order to benefit from the disempowerment and displacement of Indigenous peoples from the land.”