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From Rhetoric to Reality: Bridging the Gap in Indigenous Justice Initiatives – IRPP

Sep 5, 2023

Can the Liberal government’s Indigenous Justice Strategy catalyze a new era of transformative reconciliation? The ball is in Justice Minister Arif Virani’s court.

Despite comprising only five percent of the population, Indigenous Peoples account for a disproportionate 28 percent of federally sentenced individuals and 32 percent of the prison population. In 21st century Canada, the treatment of Indigenous Peoples within the criminal justice system serves as a reminder of why the process of decolonizing settler legal traditions remains very much in its infancy.

By recognizing this as a problem, Ottawa has embarked on a constructive path forward. But the prime minister’s symbolic gestures must be translated towards the tangible execution of his government’s vision for reconciliation. Simply put, it is imperative to bridge the gap between policy development, rhetoric and action, to nurture improved socioeconomic, legal and health outcomes for Indigenous communities.

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