November 29, 2021 - In February of 2020, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) released a statement calling on the Government of Canada to provide the leadership necessary to uphold its promise of implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) with regards to Wet'suwet’en territory.
Sadly, last year’s statement is all the more relevant today, with news of more police presence and arrests in these communities and the escalation this brings. If Canada’s commitment to the ongoing journey of Reconciliation is to be genuine and sincere, Canada can no longer take part in the forcible removal of First Nations, Inuit or Métis persons from their traditional, unceded, and reserve lands. The path of Reconciliation demands the full respect of nation-to-nation dialogue, discussion, and resolution.
The arrests that took place in Wet’suwet’en Nation Territory have broken the trust and signal a pivotal moment in the Government of Canada’s recent commitments to reconciliation. CASW denounces the use of force in finding a resolution, and condemns the arrests of Indigenous people, allies, and journalists as an unproductive escalation of the conflict. From this point forward, how the Government of Canada chooses to proceed will truly define its commitment to honouring and upholding reconciliation.
CASW calls on the Government of Canada to uphold the guiding principles of Truth and Reconciliation. In this regard, CASW is confident that a peaceful resolution can be found through open dialogue, and respect for both current and traditional laws. Specifically, the Government of Canada must heed the TRC guiding principle that “Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources.”