Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says this province should look Down Under when it comes to improving outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
For the last decade, the Australian government has released an annual report showing where the country is at in regards to narrowing gaps in key social indicators between the two populations.
Meili says the Saskatchewan government should do the same thing.
“In Australia, each year, there’s a closing the gap report that comes out and it says how far they’ve come in basically doing exactly that – closing the gap in economic matters, in health, in education and in justice.”
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief David Pratt says any new ideas on reducing the glaring gap in outcomes would be appreciated as the status quo is not working and hasn’t been for some time.
At the same time, he says he remains skeptical any government has the will to seriously tackle the problem.
“What’s the provincial government’s game plan,” he asks? “Is it the status quo? What does Einstein say? ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ That’s exactly what the province has been doing. It hasn’t just been the Sask Party government. I’ll even say the NDP government when they were in power. Where was their strategic plan?”
Meili says resource revenue sharing is one of the measures that could be examined in terms of reducing the gap in outcomes.
In an emailed statement, the Saskatchewan government says there is still work to be done but it has seen improvement in a number of areas during the past decade.
These include investments in on-reserve policing, making treaty education mandatory at the K-12 level and a rise in Indigenous employment by 28 per cent.
(PHOTO: NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili at a media scrum in Saskatoon. Photo by Joel Willick.)