PCMNO Senator appointed on Ontario’s new Elders Council

Original News Release: https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2016/11/ontario-working-towards-reconciliation-with-indigenous-peoples.html

Senator Porter-Brunelle_Elders Council
Back row: (L-R) Yasir Naqvi (Attorney General), Donna
Debassige, Helen Cromarty, Albert Dumont, Gilbert Smith,
Barney Batise, David Serkoak, Verna Porter-Brunelle
(PCMNO Senator) Front row: (L-R) Pauline Shirt, Marlene
Pierre, Janice Longboat, Sally Webster. Click here to view a
larger version of the picture.

Ontario has established a new Elders Council that will provide advice to the Attorney General to improve the justice systems responsiveness to the needs of Indigenous people and support the reclamation of Indigenous legal systems.

The new Council reflects a commitment made by the province in The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples (the Journey Together) and will incorporate the advice of Elders into government decision-making on matters related to Indigenous peoples in the justice system.

The Council is made up of 13 respected Indigenous Elders from diverse communities across the province and includes Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Senator Verna Porter-Brunelle. “I am honoured and very grateful to have been invited by the office of the Attorney General to be on the Council and to bring a Métis perspective to its deliberations,” she said. 

“The Elders Council will help guide Ontario in its mission to support the reclamation of Indigenous legal systems and strengthen justice for Indigenous peoples in the province,” said the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General. “I am grateful to the 13 Elders who answered this call, and I look forward to working with them.”

From November 28-30, 2016, the provincial government hosted a three-day Gladue Summit (the Summit) in Thunder Bay. Senator Porter-Brunelle and Kelly Campagnola, MNO Senior Policy Advisor, both attended the Summit.

On the final day, Senator Porter-Brunelle led representatives in an opening prayer. She said that one of the most heartwarming moments of the Summit was seeing the youth not only attend the meeting but actually be active participants. “They sat at the table with us and gave their opinions and suggestions―and really good ones,” she said.

The Summit is another commitment in the Journey Together and is designed to gather input from Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities, along with justice sector representatives, to help address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

Moving forward, Senator Porter-Brunelle will meet with MNO President Margaret Froh, PCMNO and some of the MNO Community Councils for some guidance on what they would like to see at future Elders Council meetings.

The next Elders Council meeting is schedule for this January in Sault Ste. Marie. Although the Summit meeting was a great experience, Senator Porter-Brunelle is looking forward to a more intimate meeting in the Sault with just the Elders Council. 

Published on: January 16, 2017

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