Friday, December 4, 2020

Ontario and Canadian Government, and UNDRIP

The following letter was sent to my MP and MPP.

John Fraser, my MPP in Ottawa South,
Honourable David McGuinty, my MP in Ottawa South

Yesterday the federal government tabled a bill to start discussions about possibly doing something towards implementing  the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples within Canada. The largest policy change is that there will now be a yearly report, and the government will have to justify their lack of progress.

I have criticisms of the bill, which I hope will be quickly addressed in amendments before passing.

As an example, the preamble of the bill includes this clause:

Whereas First Nations, Inuit and the M├ętis Nation have, throughout history and to this day, lived in the lands that are now in Canada with their distinct identities, cultures and ways of life;

This clause shows a lack of understanding of the wampums, including the 2-row and dish with one spoon we should be very familiar with in Ontario. These are treaties to *share* lands and her resources. The colonial Dominion of Canada does not unilaterally "own" these lands, as this bill tries to suggest. If the government starts without understanding that basic truth, it is likely that implementation of UNDRIP and reconciliation will fail.  Truth happens before reconciliation.

Today I read on twitter a statement from Greg Rickford, Kenora-Rainy River MPP. Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

While it is disgusting enough to see these obviously conflicting mandates within a single minister, what he said about UNDRIP would be comical if it were not likely what the provincial government will try to use to further delay UNDRIP.

In a statement he claimed that UNDRIP implementation is on a "rushed timeframe"
(Sorry, I couldn't find the statement on )

UNDRIP originated in talks started at the UN in 1982 following a study on the issue.  This is the same year the UK parliament passed the "Canada Act" which allowed the Canadian subsidiary of the UK to change its constitution without those changes needing to be passed by the UK parliament.  Canada, and other colonies of Britain such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand (Five Eyes FVEY colonies), have been actively opposing the declaration from the beginning.

It is not like the Canadian government is happy about implementing this law, but that it has become increasingly obvious that the legitimacy of these colonies is being questioned internationally the way they are currently operating.

I agree with the idea that Canada was created in a rushed timeframe, with the UK wanting to create a subsidiary to externalise many existing treaty obligations and debt. In this rush many of the core concepts and treaties that allowed British North America to exist were not adequately encoded in Canadian law. Finally fixing some of the flaws in the UK's British North America (BNA) Act 1867 via UNDRIP is extremely important to Canada's continued legitimacy.

The BNA Act 1867 that some believe created Canada as a separate country from Britain is less than 3 times my age, and the Canada Act 1982 passed by the UK parliament happened within my lifetime.  While I agree that Canada is quite young by First Civilizations standards, that also means it should be easier to gain maturity.

Thank you for reading.  I live in the housing development behind the provincial constituency office and across Bank St from the federal constituency office.  I am available to discuss this further if you wish.

Where I live and work, as well as your offices, are on unceded Algonquin territory.

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