The City of Quesnel’s Policy and Bylaw Committee (PABCOM) has come up with a work plan to move forward with recent council recommendations around signing onto the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and adopting an anti-racism strategy.
Coun. Martin Runge, chair of the committee, provided an update on the committee’s latest discussions at the Dec. 15 electronic council meeting.
These discussions stem from a Nov. 17 unanimous vote by council to consider signing onto the UNDRIP and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; develop and adopt an anti-racism strategy for the City of Quesnel; and conduct anti-racism sensitivity training and improve the knowledge of staff and council regarding local Indigenous culture and history to deepen the City of Quesnel’s reconciliation initiatives and partnerships with local First Nation governments.
That resolution came out of a recommendation by the PABCOM in response to a letter from the Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance and ?Esdilagh First Nation to the Quesnel RCMP that raised concerns about the perpetual impacts of racist impacts on their members and called for the RCMP to investigate systemic racism and violence against Indigenous peoples in Quesnel following the Oct. 29 violent incident outside the West Park Mall involving an Ulkatcho woman and a private security guard.
The PABCOM’s recent discussions around creating a work plan to deal with the three aspects of council’s resolution took place Dec. 3.
“We’ve assigned people in the organization to come up with things for further discussion,” said Runge.
In terms of the UNDRIP and the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, Runge’s report to council notes Gina Albers, the city’s manager of legislative services, will bring forward the UNDRIP and Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, and city manager Byron Johnson will bring forward information on what the implications would be for the corporation if the city adopts UNDRIP and the calls to action by researching other local governments’ reports.
The PABCOM will review several documents as it moves forward with developing and adopting an anti-racism strategy for the city. At a future meeting, the committee will receive a copy of an anti-racism policy template by local government solicitor Don Lidstone. Albers will bring forward the city’s bullying and harassment policy, and Kari Bolton, the city’s director of corporate and financial services, will bring forward the anti-racism strategies that have been adopted by other local governments.
Moving forward, Bolton will also provide an outline of anti-racism sensitivity-training that should be considered for city staff and council to complete, according to Runge.