Moving From Reaction to Crime Prevention

We all worry when we hear about over-representation of Indigenous people in jail, solitary confinement, and incidents of police brutality. We want these things to stop. This is why the Canadian Unitarian Council has recommended to The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, that our focus and our resources should be pointed at CRIME PREVENTION. We must address the root causes of violence. We know the programs that work, but we don’t fund them consistently. To reduce violence we have to build in effective evaluation, track what is working and what is not, and only finance what works. Those programs should receive stable, multi-year funding in First Nations communities, in our cities, and in our rural areas.

See our letter and brief to the Minister calling for action on Prevention.

Listen to Dr. Irvin Waller’s Call to Action at the Holtom Peace Lecture giving us the big picture. (this video is the presentation of an individual and does not necessarily express the opinion of the CUC)

What You Can Do

1. Help the Minister of Justice and Provinces achieve their mandates to prevent violence.

2. Meet with Politicians at all levels to share what works.

3. Foster a National Coalition of municipalities, Indigenous groups, churches, NGO’s, professional associations and others to promote a prevention agenda.

4. Volunteer for an organization with a proven track record to prevent crime.

National Affordable Housing Strategy

Read the letter sent from the CUC National Voice Team to the minister of Families, Children, and Social Development in support of a National Affordable Housing Strategy  here.

Find the attached analysis and recommendations created by the Poverty Awareness Working Group of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa here.

Nuclear Disarmament Letter

The attached letter was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from the Canadian Unitarian Council National Voice Team. The government leaders were urged to “take a strong position against the proliferation of nuclear weapons at the U.N. General Assembly in October by supporting the resolution establishing a negotiating process that will lead to the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
We are grateful to our Peace Monitoring Group for their research and writing of this letter.

Consultation on Assisted Dying

Voice your choice! Dying with Dignity encourages all Ontarians to fill out the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) consultation on assisted dying survey. After the landmark decision by the supreme court in February of 2015 to strike down the federal law which prohibited physician assisted dying, the governments of Canada and the provinces were given a one year deadline to craft new legislation and develop protocols to reflect the ruling. Quebec is, as yet, the only province to enact any such legislation.

The federal government has since requested a six-month extension to this deadline, a deferral against which the CUC has expressed concern. The CUC’s statement reminded law-makers that to a terminally ill patient seeking end of life care, six months is a difficult, lengthy term to endure. Continue reading

Truth, Healing & Reconciliation

Thank you for considering piloting parts of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing & Reconciliation Reflection Guide with us. The Guide will have sections for various age groups and we are beginning by developing the upper elementary and adult sections.

Out task force piloted the one-day adult section in a workshop at the CUC ACM May 16, 2015. We will be asking congregations and other Unitarian communities to pilot the upper elementary and adult guides this fall. We are planning to have the lower elementary and youth guides ready to be piloted in the winter of 2016 and for release in the spring of 2017. We plan to offer formats for one-session and for longer programs, as well as other resources available to adapt to your needs and preferences.

The purpose of the THR Reflection Guide is to begin discussion in the following areas:

  1. Engagement: What social identities do each of us have, and what culture(s) do we come from? How do we relate inter-culturally? How do we relate to the land we call home? Use individual storytelling for engagement.
  2. Understanding: Learn about the process of colonization, in particular the Indian Residential School System and its impacts on our history and present day life. Share our responses (thoughts and feelings).
  3. Connection: Update our understanding of Aboriginal societies, and learn about current issues. Making connections with local Aboriginal leaders. Share our responses (thoughts and feelings).
  4. Healing and Reconciliation: What does healing and reconciliation mean to you, to the group? What are the next steps for building connections and making commitments?

Many Unitarian and Universalist congregations and individuals have been engaged with local Aboriginal groups for many years. We hope this guide will encourage further interaction and cultural awareness. We are led to do this work by the 2014 Canadian Unitarian Council’s and UU Ministers of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Statement and CUC resolutions and actions dating from 1964 to the present.

In preparing this reflection guide, we recognize that each congregation and facilitator will have their own history and relationship with this work. We recommend having a minimum of two leaders with strong facilitation and empathetic listening skills, experience using a cooperative sharing approach (rather than an ‘expert’ approach), and persons with as broad a diversity as possible. We will offer support materials for the facilitators to help you address these questions:

  • How do you prepare yourself for offering this program, and how do you get support while offering it?
  • How do we put this process in a Unitarian context and grounding?
  • How do we reconcile how to be in relationship with, walk with, other nations and not learn about them
  • Where are you in the processing of this issue yourself? What are the intercultural competency stages? What are your social identities?
  • Cultural appropriation – what is that, and how do we avoid it?

We are on the path of learning together: Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people in our Unitarian and Universalist congregations and in our larger communities. We value your feedback and suggestions as we create reflection guides for our CUC congregations. If you need more information, please contact: Rev. Meg Roberts (mroberts@uuma.org), Rev. Samaya Oakley (chalicinsamaya@gmail.com), and April Hope, CUC Social Responsibility Coordinator (april@cuc.ca).