The Justice Reform Commission acknowledges that
there is an over-representation of First Nations and Métis peoples in the
justice system and that many people have lost faith in the present system. We
were appointed to address these concerns. The Commission was created in November
2001. The members convened in January, and sit on a part-time basis.
We began by reviewing previous reports from
various commissions and boards of inquiry, by meeting with people who have
experience with previous commissions and with known experts in various areas of
justice. In doing so, it became apparent to the Commission that the people of
Saskatchewan have first-hand knowledge and experience with the justice system
and were in the best position to assist the Commission with developing strategy.
Through the wisdom and guidance of an invited stakeholders group, the following
strategy for dialogue was developed.
It is with a sincere interest in exploring and
understanding the perspectives and solutions of the people of Saskatchewan that
the following Strategy for Dialogue is presented. The goal of the dialogues is
to listen to the wisdom of the people of Saskatchewan. We want to know what
concerns you have with the justice system. The Justice Reform Commission is
asking three very basic but essential questions:
- What concerns do you have with the justice
- What examples of successes or positive
programs have you seen?
- How do you think the justice system can be
It is the vision of the Commission on
First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform to build One Community
– working together to create a healthy, just, prosperous and safe Saskatchewan.
"Meyo Wahkotowin" is the Cree concept.
It is the Commission’s mission to create change
and make a difference by:
- Listening to people
- Building relationships
- Promoting respect and change
- Recognizing successes, and
- Making recommendations for future justice
Purpose of the Dialogues
The purpose of the Dialogues is to generate
information and solutions for change that will improve the relationship between
First Nations, Métis and non-Aboriginal peoples and the justice system.
Specifically, the Commission wants solutions that will:
- Reduce levels of offending;
- Reduce levels of victimization;
- Reduce levels of recidivism;
- Improve the safety of First Nations, Métis and
non-Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan;
- Identify short and long-term implementation
strategies to achieve the above; and
- Identify the vehicle to oversee the
implementation of the Commission’s solutions.
Types of Dialogues
The Commission will meet a cross-section of
community members in Saskatchewan. Primary input will be sought from First
Nation, Métis and non-Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan and federal,
provincial, First Nation and Métis government departments and agencies working
in justice-related areas. Other sources for possible input are the academic and
professional communities, and individuals and organizations familiar with
justice reform initiatives and projects in other jurisdictions. The experiences
and insights of youth and women are of key interest to the Commission.
Among the Dialogues anticipated are:
- Community Dialogues:
the Commission hopes to hear directly from community members on justice
- Formal Presentations:
the Commission plans on hearing prepared statements from organizations on
reforms to the justice system.
- In-Camera Dialogues:
the Commission hears presentations from individuals who wish to maintain their
- Stakeholders in Justice Reform:
the Commission invites selected community voices to discuss the work of the
- Round Table Dialogues:
the Commission hears expert opinion on particularly difficult but promising
areas for reform of the justice system.
The Justice Reform Commission is sensitive to the
fact that each community it visits will be unique – with unique histories and
relationships to the justice system, with distinctive needs and cultural factors
to be considered. The specific format and agenda for each Community Dialogue
will depend on the community.
Typical formats could include large community
circle dialogues, working group dialogues or town hall meetings. Depending on
the circumstances, some Community Dialogues could blend features of these
Community Dialogues vs. Other Forums
The Commission feels its emphasis on the Community Dialogues gives it a
strategic edge in getting to the heart of justice reform. However, it is aware
other forums may be required to further develop the solutions it identifies.