The appointment of long-time Inuit leader Mary Simon as the new Governor-General of Canada marks the first time that a person of Indigenous origin has held this office, as the formal representative in Canada of the British monarch. The fact that PM Justin Trudeau chose to recommend Simon for this position reflects the intense political pressure on his Liberal government to take action on the urgent issues faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, such as dire poverty levels, high rates of incarceration and homelessness, inadequate access to education, health care and social services, and much more.
The Communist Party of Canada considers this appointment as a political move by the PM to give the impression that his government takes these issues seriously, since a federal election call is expected soon. Despite their previous election promises to implement the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, the federal Liberals have been dragging their feet for years, making little progress on many of these specific and concrete measures.
Instead, as we have seen again in the wake of the discovery of over 1,000 unmarked graves of Indigenous children near former residential schools, Mr. Trudeau and his government consistently prefer to issue statements expressing their grief, rather than taking swift action on the calls by the TRC and MMIWG. Despite her lifetime record as a powerful advocate for Inuit people, our view is that the appointment of Mary Simon as Governor General does little to address the serious and urgent crises facing Indigenous peoples in Canada.
The Communist Party also takes this occasion to repeat our longstanding position of advocating for meaningful democratic reform of the state and governance systems in Canada. In a democratic society the formal head of state should not be appointed by the reactionary feudal institution of the British monarchy. The position of Governor General should be abolished, as well as the Senate, which is also composed of unelected appointees. The Communist Party calls to replace the Senate by an elected House of Nations, as part of a new Constitution to enable an equal and voluntary partnership between the Indigenous nations, English Speaking Canada, Québec, and Acadia.