Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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July 17, 2020

Grand Council Treaty #3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Urge Kenora to Reject Loitering Bylaw

July 17, 2020

The City of Kenora has proposed a by-law against loitering and plans to vote on it by July 21, 2020. It is the opinion of Grand Council Treaty #3 (GCT3) and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) that this by-law disproportionately targets the homeless and the transient. A very large percentage of those affected would be First Nations people, many of whom are already extremely disadvantaged. These types of by-laws do nothing to address the root problems that lead to people to be in these situations.

Grand Council Treaty #3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation urge Kenora City Council to reject this proposed by-law.

The social issues facing Kenora are well known by GCT3 and NAN, as a large amount of their work consists of advocating for the marginalized and proposing options that can lead to alleviating the struggles faced by our people. COVID-19 has not created these problems, but the pandemic has made them worse. NAN and GCT3 acknowledge that these problems are incredibly complex and that solutions are not easy to accomplish. However, unilateral measures such as this proposed by-law do nothing to help and will cause further harm to vulnerable members of society and create further divisions in the region.

GCT3 and NAN are prepared to work with municipalities and any partners that seek to address these issues in a productive manner. No one organization or government will be able to solve the social issues in Kenora, as solutions require collaboration and sincere efforts at reconciliation. It is abundantly clear through the ongoing efforts of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3 that solving these issues will also require a multifaceted approach to address homelessness, addictions, the lack of economic opportunities, and the chronic dysfunction of the justice system in Ontario’s north.

As First Nation people continue to form a larger proportion of Northwestern Ontario, both in terms of population and economic activity, it is critical that these issues are addressed collectively by all those that share the land of the Anishinaabe Nation. The Anishinaabe people have long asked partners to take an inclusive approach to dealing with issues that affect them. GCT3 and NAN must therefore object at every opportunity to any ill-conceived measure such as this and demand that a more thoughtful and humane approach to these issues take its place.

Grand Council Treaty #3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation stand with those who have already protested this proposed by-law, and will continue to advocate for those who are committed to developing positive solutions in Kenora and throughout our territories.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario in Canada.

Grand Council Treaty #3 is a political organization representing 28 First Nation communities across the Treaty 3 areas of northern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba.

 

For more information please contact:

Daniel Morriseau, Political Advisor – Grand Council Treaty #3 (807) 464-2647 or by email daniel.morriseau@treaty3.ca

Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4965 or cell (807) 621-2790 or by email mheintzman@nan.on.ca

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