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OP-ED: Seven minutes can changes lives forever

Annie Bernard Daisley
Annie Bernard Daisley

What can happen in seven minutes? Can a life change? Can many lives change? Will  seven minutes alter or eliminate your existence? In Chantel Moore’s case, in seven minutes on June 4 in Edmundston, N.B., her life ended tragically following a confrontation with an Edmundston police officer. 

Let us be honest. There will be no national outcry about this because she was Indigenous. There is no one marching through the streets, no one looting, no one taking a knee for her. Nor will the prime minister bend down on one knee to acknowledge her death. Because she was Indigenous.   

Indigenous people are sick to death of inquiries. Inquiries that result in calls to action. What is action? Action would indicate a plan in moving forward. A plan that would address issues that impact our everyday life.

For now, after many questions and being ignored or given vague answers, I am resigned to the belief that there are no plans. The federal government had nine months pre- COVID-19 to come up with a plan to address the 231 calls to justice. There is no plan — or  they are now  scrambling to come up with one.   

Meanwhile, it took just seven minutes for Chantel Moore to end up dead. Five gunshots into a woman, tiny in stature. The police officer involved claimed he was afraid for his own life. I call BS on that. He said she was holding a knife. I laugh sarcastically at that. A big strapping man, full of strength and power, a police officer. He was afraid of a 100-pound woman, so he shot her  five times. He made a choice to shoot. To “disarm” her?   

He is back to work, but he should be fired and charged in Moore’s homicide. 

What did we ever do to you, Canada? You have treated our lives as though we are disposable. Our lives come and go to you. We are just numbers. You took from us and you still do. You do it quietly and secretly. You hide behind inquiries, you hide behind the police force, you hide behind a “knife,” you hide your hate. But we see and feel it.  

I am sick and tired of this. My heart hurts for our nation. Moore left behind a daughter, Gracie. I had the opportunity to meet Chantel’s mother, Martha Martin. What a beautiful person she is. She is full of life, energy and love. And now she is full of sadness and grief. 

I have seen her pain — the same pain in many families left behind to grieve for their loved ones who left this world due to a violent confrontation. Perhaps, Canada, if you think of us in this light, then you will realize that we are human.

I am requesting a  further push from the  Assembly of First Nations (AFN)  to step up their advocacy for the people we have lost. It is time we stand united. Strength comes in numbers and unity. Let us unite on this very important issue. Let us all fight for Chantel.  

I am calling out  Carolyn Bennett as well. As a woman who represents First  Nations people in Canada as the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, where is her voice for us? Step up and help us or move on to something else. She is in the epicentre of where change can occur. Help us live. Fight for us! Fight for Chantel.  

Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi and Brady Francis deserve justice. These families are left to grieve their loved ones, while a nation of Indigenous people scratches our heads, wondering why, and where is their justice? There are over 4,000 Indigenous women in Canada missing or murdered — crimes most left unsolved.

What about our Indigenous men? They also deserve justice and a call to action. 

Canada, it is time to clean your house before you help and try to clean others’. You have sent funds to help female causes in other countries, yet you sit and watch us die. You watch us get killed and you do nothing.   

To Martha, we will be here for you on the East Coast. To Chantel, to Rodney, to Brady, we will not forget.  

Brady Francis deserves a retrial, a fair one.   Rodney Levi deserves justice.  Chantel Moore deserves justice.  

All our missing and murdered Indigenous people do.  

Annie Bernard Daisley is the president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s  Association.

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