Humanist Canada's "response" to the Truth and Reconciliation Report
I respond to Humanist Canada's response.
- Update (July 16) at end
Jul 2, 2015
- Between May 31st and June 3, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report into the treatment of Canada's First Nations, particularly in residential schools. It concluded the policy of successive governments was one of "cultural genocide." Here's a link to the findings:
- Over three weeks later, Humanist Canada decided to weigh in with a statement that they (likely) paid to press release (which received no coverage).
- It's a bit hard to find their actual statement from that poorly written press release, but I dug it out at the time and Tweeted it and shared it on Facebook.
- I was unimpressed with the statement then but working full-time didn't have time to go into either the report itself (which is over 400 pages) or a rebuttal of Humanist Canada's response. Today I managed to take the time to go through the report's introduction and its 94 recommendations, and Tweeted the my reactions.
- Having finished my response, I'm actually even more convinced whoever wrote the Humanist Canada response didn't even take the hour I did to look through what it said or recommended.
- "6. We call upon the Government of Canada to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada."
- Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada (I had to look it up) is commonly known as Canada's Spanking Law and "it expressly offers parents and teachers a defence when they use reasonable force to discipline a child." Based on the strong evidence of the harm it causes, the American Humanist Association condemned corporal punishment in 1976. Surely Humanist Canada isn't pro-smacking children?
- From Humanist Canada's Statement: "we call on our government to join with the majority of the world's nations in signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples". It's true that Canada joined the USA, Australia and New Zealand (the four countries that benefited the most from colonialism) in opposing the original Declaration, but in November 2010 Canada officially endorsed the Declaration (read more about the Government's position).
- These sections (copied below) apply to "church parties...and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada." While we can quibble over whether Humanist groups could be considered faith groups, that doesn't preclude Humanists from echoing and enacting these recommendations as part of our own efforts to promote reconciliation.
- Settlement Agreement Parties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
- 48) We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so,to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments: