Recent events in Saskatchewan, followed by last night’s verdict in the death of Tina Fontaine in Winnipeg, have again brought to the fore the deep concern and distress that many members of our community feel with respect to issues of systemic racism in Canadian society and in our system of justice.
First, I would like to stress that I, along with all of the University’s senior administrators, unreservedly support the statement issued by Universities Canada in connection with the death of Colten Boushie.
Such events make it all the more urgent for us to reaffirm and strengthen our shared commitment to examining and changing our attitudes, policies and practices to reflect the calls to action contained in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I was especially dismayed to learn that members of our own community have recently been the target of hateful racial comments. It is incumbent on us all to repudiate such behaviour whenever it arises and to offer our support to all members of our community who have been affected by recent events.
We clearly still have a great deal to do to improve relations with Indigenous communities. I wholeheartedly support those who are working to improve conditions for Indigenous persons on and off campus, and I call on all members of our community to join me in this collective effort. The work of our colleagues in the Faculty of Law is especially important, given that we are training the next generation of legal practitioners, some of whom will eventually be appointed to key positions on Canada’s courts. Even so, the responsibility to support justice and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples falls squarely on all of us.
President and Vice-Chancellor