On Monday, the national inquiry into murdered and missing women issued its long awaited final report.

The report lays out the reality and impacts of colonial racism and discrimination that has led to the preventable deaths of thousands of women.

The inquiry has used the term « genocide » to describe what is taking place. While many politicians are unwilling to accept that terminology, I think it is important to take a look at the UN definition of genocide.

The UN says that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

1) Killing members of the group;

2) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

4) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

In my opinion, it is clear that the treatment of indigenous people in Canada has long been a national disgrace and that the way this country has treated, and continues to treat indigenous people and in particular women and sexual minorities, corresponds to the UN definition of genocide. In this respect, I agree with the findings of the report and I urge other politicians to accept them as well.

Systemic racism against indigenous people is present everywhere in our society. It’s in our schools, in our hospitals, in our police forces, in our collective decision-making and built into our democratic institutions.

Despite the fact that, as individual Canadians, many of us do not feel that we have done anything to contribute to this genocide, the sad reality is that we are all responsible for our governments actions, both past and present. We are responsible for the lack of clean drinking water in indigenous communities. We are responsible for racist police forces that do not bother to investigate the disappearance of missing and murdered indigenous women. We are responsible for violence. We are responsible for many of the killings. We are responsible for removing children from their communities. We are responsible for the poisoning of indigenous lands executed by corporations. Together, we are collectively responsible for all the actions of colonial governments, past and present.

Now that the facts have been laid out by this inquiry, by the Truth and reconciliation commission and by the Picton inquiry, we all have a collective responsibility to force our governments to act on the recommendations of this very important report.

It’s up to all of us to take action to force our governments to accept and implement the recommendations of this report.

Alex Tyrrell
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec

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