Canada needs a Commissioner for Indigenous Relations

In today’s Ottawa Citizen, my colleague Michael Morden and I argue that Canada needs a new officer of Parliament – what we call a Commissioner for Indigenous Relations – with a mandate to investigate and report on the government’s performance on indigenous affairs.

We fully understand that creating a new officer risks duplicating existing scrutiny by the Auditor General and adding still more reports when what is desperately needed is action. However, we believe that such a position would ensure that all government departments, and not just Indigenous and Northern Affairs, are examined for their engagement with indigenous peoples. Moreover, having a dedicated Commissioner tracking the government’s performance on a regular basis would help to maintain political pressure on indigenous issues and provide reliable data with which to evaluate the government’s actions.

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