MEDIA RELEASE: Question of the week for GPA leadership candidates — On reconciliation with Indigenous people in Alberta

Media Release

Question of the week:  On how to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Albertans

October 13, 2017

The Green Party of Alberta will be voting for a new leader in Red Deer on November 4th.  To give party members and the general public a better idea of what the five leadership candidates stand for, the GPA’s Leadership Campaign Committee is posing a different question to them each week in the lead-up to the vote.

This week’s question – the third in the series – is this:

In your view, what are the three most important steps the provincial government could take in order to build trust and achieve reconciliation with Indigenous people?  

The candidates were given a 150-word limit.

Here are responses from the five candidates for leadership of the GPA:

Marco Reid:  We can’t change history, but we can certainly mould our present and pursue a brighter future. My three priorities are:

  1. Acknowledge how new legislation impacts Indigenous communities or people.

Looking at the last few news stories about Alberta legislation, there is almost no coverage on how policy impacts Indigenous communities. Weed legalisation, minimum wage hikes, how are these impacting our neighbours and allies? More coverage, literature and consideration is needed in policy making.

  1. Greater importance/awareness on Indigenous contributions to our history and culture.

One of Canadas most elusive contemporary questions is to ask what Canadian identity is. I am sure the answer to this will be debated on for many years, however, we can all do a better job acknowledging that Indigenous culture and governance has always influenced Canada.

  1. Respecting Indigenous autonomy, but always having our doors open.

Please visit for more information.

Brian Deheer:


  • Take time with Indigenous leaders and elders to understand their perspective.
  • Continue implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Implement the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action.
  • Respect Indigenous responses to natural resource development projects.


  • Learn about Canada’s legacy of mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, and the need for healing.
  • Focus on educating political leaders and managers throughout our governments (federal, provincial and municipal).
  • Learn about traditional ways, and how this perspective is so different from the way of colonization.


  • Act as an advocate for Indigenous Peoples on their concerns.
  • Add to their voice in dealing with federal government (e.g. Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls, or providing safe drinking water, housing, child services).
  • Support Indigenous Peoples in responding to resource development proposals that affect their traditional territory.

Romy Tittel:

  1. Engage with our Indigenous leaders.
  2. Really listen.
  3. Enact their opinions with integrity and speed.

This question already identifies a core problem with our communication with our Indigenous communities; “In your view”. This is completely irrelevant and very colonial/patronizing, it is their issue with us and it will be their answers/direction that will guide us.

James Friesen:

Thank you for this Question. I have a close relationship with our Indigenous peoples. My wife is treaty 6, some of my grandchildren are members of treaty 8 (Horse Lake reserve). And some of my grandchildren are members of a Metis co-op in Grande Cache.

  1. The First step that our provincial government must take in order to establish a working relationship with our Indigenous peoples is to recognize their right to self government.
  2. The provincial government must return Indigenous children, that have been removed by child protective services to their homes and communities. Provide training and counselling to Indigenous peoples, preparing them to establish their own Child protective service.
  3. The provincial government must work with other levels of Government to bring spending on Indigenous education to a level of One dollar and 50 cents for every dollar spent on white education.

Grant Neufeld:

Step 1: Listen to indigenous people.

Step 2: Listen to indigenous people.

Step 3: Listen to indigenous people.

Not just in the classic “consultation” approach where people get a chance to speak, and then it’s filed away in a report. We need to collectively put in the hard work of listening until we understand and are changed by what we hear. Until we do that, any specific actions we might decide to take will be shaped and impaired by the limits of our current far-from-complete understandings. To prescribe actions, as settler governments, is very likely to end up reinforcing systemic oppressions, no matter how well intentioned.

For further information on the GPA leadership candidates go to greenpartyofalberta/candidates/ and see below.

Romy Tittel;;  (403) 608-1380

James Friesen;;  (780) 978-1874

Brian Deheer;;  (780) 623-4754

Marco Reid;;  (403) 860-1173

Grant Neufeld;; (403) 630-7615

For information on the GPA generally, go to or contact the GPA president or current leader:

Janet Keeping 403-283-8085, 403-383-1356

Carl Svoboda 403-282-3863, 403-804-6869


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