In a step forward for British Columbia's relationship with Indigenous peoples, leaders of B.C.'s justice and public-safety sector met with Indigenous leaders, justice experts and community workers, for two days at the 10th B.C. Justice Summit on June 1 and 2, 2018, to discuss the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the justice system.
The summit was hosted by the people of Musqueam, on their traditional territory, and was jointly organized by the B.C. Aboriginal Justice Council and the ministries of Attorney General, and Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Participating at the summit, and contributing directly to its organization, were representatives of the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and the Métis Nation of B.C., as well as representatives of many Indigenous justice organizations and community programs. The summit was witnessed, and supported throughout, by First Nations and Métis Nation Elders and a wellness team.
In dialogue, participants focused on the experience of Indigenous peoples with the justice system since colonization, how to achieve reconciliation, and finding pathways forward that will benefit Indigenous communities and Indigenous peoples.
Participants discussed how to move to reconciliation in light of the justice and public-safety sector’s historical connection in B.C. to the policy of residential schooling, as well as other past efforts to marginalize or suppress Indigenous culture and ways of life.
Judge Steven Point, former lieutenant governor of B.C., delivered the keynote address.
Provincial representation was led by Attorney General David Eby, QC, and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, with the official opposition represented by Mike Morris, critic for Solicitor General and MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie, and Michael Lee, critic for Attorney General and MLA for Vancouver-Langara.
Judicial branch representation included:
- Robert Bauman, Chief Justice of British Columbia;
- Christopher Hinkson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia; and
- Melissa Gillespie, acting chief judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
Others in attendance included RCMP Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr, representatives of Vancouver Police and Victoria Police, the Law Society of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, the Legal Services Society, and many other justice organizations and experts.
The 10th summit will be followed by an Indigenous Justice Forum in the fall, and then by the 11th Summit, which will bring forth recommendations that will contribute to the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy for British Columbia.