Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Canada needs a ‘Great Council,’ similar to Upper House, made up of Indigenous peoples who would review all federal, provincial laws

On Page 8 of the July 27, 2020 issue of The Hill Times, a letter I submitted was published.

Re: “Forty-nine days of racism in the news,” (The Hill Times, July 13, by Rose LeMay). Racism isn’t merely a matter of an individual person having a conscious dislike of another individual or a group. To quote Dr. Robin Diangelo, racism is “a default system that institutionalizes an unequal distribution of resources and power between white people and people of colour. This system is historic, taken for granted, deeply embedded, and it works to the benefit of whites.”

While most people will focus on the present, I would like to suggest we fix a historical injustice. Under Canada’s British Westminster parliamentary system, we never adopted an equivalent of their House of Lords, or their Upper House. The House of Lords developed from the “Great Council” that advised the king. When Europeans came to Turtle Island there were already people here with their own traditions and governance. When a new government was formed it should, at a minimum, have included some of that governance in the Upper House through an Indigenous council similar to the “Great Council.” The membership of this Indigenous council would be decided by Indigenous people, with non-Indigenous persons disallowed influence. Instead, we have seen hundreds of years of oppression of those who preceded the Europeans. The racist “Indian Act” still exists rather than an Indigenous council capable of sending back to the federal or provincial Lower Houses any laws which require a sober second (including non-racist) thought.

I am a European descendant born in Canada.


My hope is that Canadians will eventually take the time to learn the history of this region of the world, including the history from before Europeans "discovered" this land and started to eradicate the ideas and people they found here.


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