Saturday, May 15, 2021

Debate at Senate, and why not amend Bill C-15 to give definition to FPIC?

I have been watching the debates on C-15 in the House of Commons and the Senate.

Click "show sittings" on the different stages of the bill to read transcripts or watch video.  Please ask if you have never used this site, and have questions.

Some of the most interesting discussions are happening at the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.

Study dates so far (click on webcast image to watch video):


Most of the witnesses have been Indigenous.  They represent a wide variety of Indigenous perspectives from coast to coast, and into the north.

Most want the bill passed quickly so this policy won't be delayed again as happened when the bill had the C-262 number. This includes some witnesses that submitted amendments to the House of Commons that were not included.

Some witnesses have amendments that are a condition for their support, and a few want the entire process scrapped and start over.

Listening closely to the testimony, the primary division is what I've observed over the last few months of debate on social media.

  • Those who believe that C-15 is a government initiative, oppose it because the government is untrustworthy.
  • Those who believe this is an Indigenous initiative exerting pressure on Canada, support it because the government is untrustworthy.


I would have to listen to the many hours of testimony again, but I don't remember a single Indigenous person offer an opinion that suggested they trusted the government of Canada. This is regardless of which political party is in power, as this isn't a recent or a partisan issue.

I think it is important for fellow settlers to watch these videos, and listen closely to learn a more honest version of Canada.

See also: Who is, and isn't, behind UNDRIP and Bill C-15 in "Canada".

There is one common question/statement made by settler special interests I want to address.

Why not amend C-15 to give definition to FPIC?

The rhetoric around this question is ...ummm... interesting.

Some in the House of Commons and Senate will talk about the "mixed messages" around the Coastal GasLink pipeline, and how most "elected" chiefs supported it while "hereditary" chiefs did not.  They are trying to imply that democracies wanted it, but scofflaws were opposed.

All the bills I've seen to start the process to change laws to conform to UNDRIP include a verbatim copy of the declaration as passed on 13 September 2007  (Example from the version of the bill tabled in 2008 by Tia Keeper).

UNDRIP articles include:

Article 3
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.
Article 5
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
Article 6
Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

The so-called "elected" band council system was created by colonial Canada as a deliberate way to disrupt existing Indigenous responsible governments.  Band councils are not examples of responsible governments, and are bureaucracies responsible to the Canadian crown.  The notion that just because there is an "election" that the body must be democratic is false.

I regularly write about how Canada sent in the RCMP to depose the centuries old democratic Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and impose a "band council" that is only responsible to the Canadian Crown.

See also:

The question of who represents Indigenous peoples, and thus who can give consent, was disrupted by Canada.

While there are examples such as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy where the centuries old participatory democracy remains intact, and can take over from the "band council" once Canada properly recognizes it, this is not the case in other circumstances.  Colonialism and ongoing genocide has a huge impact on governance systems, and there are cases where all that remains is the "elected" band council.

The idea that Canada in consultation with Indigenous peoples can or should define FPIC at this point is to ignore (and seek to benefit from) the damage that Canada continues to do.

If the complexity of consent causes some business projects to be denied, then that isn't a bad thing.  That might cause industry to recognize an urgency and also push Canada to finally adequately resource the work required to move forward on the above UNDRIP articles.

It is the Canadian government that created these problems, and it is the Canadian government that needs to fix them.  If anyone has any problems with the uncertainty, please apply pressure against the Canadian government to fix their mess.

Some settlers (British loyalists, or something else) have even asked whether one chief along a pipeline saying "no" is a "veto" against the interests of all the other chiefs?

Switzerland and Austria are landlocked countries in Europe.  Nobody would ask if Switzerland wanted to put in a pipeline whether Germany or Italy had a "veto" in not letting Switzerland put a pipeline in another country.

Built into this question is their belief in the supremacy of the British created colonial governments of Canada, and the idea that these governments should be able to "veto" anyone else's views and impose their own.

I for one am not a British loyalist, and do not presume the supremacy of any of the British created colonial governments.  Canada should not have a "veto" when walking into negotiations with other nations they have treaties with.  This is especially true of places like BC and Quebec where Canada has been so disrespectful of human rights they didn't bother with a treaty.

Canada should never believe they don't need to get consent, and can just impose their will (with the barrel of a gun) if they don't always get their way.

In one case someone actually said out loud that Canada should impose restrictions on the structure of the self-governments that Indigenous nations are allowed to create for themselves.

Yes, that is something else.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Why I don't believe Alberta is bullied by extractive industries such as Big Oil

Over the years I have read many articles discussing how people believe the province of Alberta has a cycle of abuse with Big Oil.

Until recently I agreed with this sentiment, that Alberta is the victim of an abusive relationship with extractive industries such as Big Oil.

Since my anti-racism training lead me to a different understanding of Canada, and a more unbiased understanding of its history, I now have a very different perspective.

Canada was created unilaterally by the passage in the British Parliament of the British North America Act 1867 to effectively be a corporate subsidiary of Britain, to be part of the British Empire, and to provide cheap resources to the empire (affirmative action for Whites and all that). It was never created to be a democracy, or to think independently.  It retains pretty much all of the British systems which were unilaterally imposed on this homeland.

The British Parliament passed many laws called the "British North America Act" between 1867 and 1964 (only 4 years before I was born).  Up until the passage of the Canada Act 1982, British law was automatically Canadian law, and the British Parliament could pass any laws it wanted to enforce in Canada. It was an Act of the British parliament in 1949 which added the Orwellian doublespeak titled "New Found Land" to "Canada". (George Orwell's 1984 was published in 1949).

Alberta was unilaterally created in 1905 by the Alberta Act out of a subset of what the British called the Northwest Territories in order to better administrate colonial expansion (meaning, free land, free resource extraction, affirmative action for whites, etc). It was created by the British corporate subsidiary, not by its inhabitants. Canada did not "buy" Rupert's Land, which Alberta was carved out of, from the Hudson's Bay Company.  The Hudson's bay company only owned an exclusive patent from the British Crown to do business in a region, and didn't own land which they could sell.

see Territorial Evolution, as well as Maps: 1667-1999 (And ask yourself why LAC removed these pages in the summer of 2021).

This article on farming in the Prairies gives a hint to what has been happening since the unilateral creation of Alberta.

Undermined at every turn: the lie of the failed native farm on the Prairies.

Why believe that it is the oil and gas industry that are bullying "Alberta", when "Alberta" was created as a corporate subsidiary to do what it is doing?

Understood in this context, Alberta was created as a type of permanent foreign worker program, which is quite different than the more recent temporary foreign worker programs.  This workforce was desired in part to replace the existing inhabitants, but largely to create a loyal workforce for extractive industries.  Given the loyalty to British worldviews, laws, and extractive industries exhibited by a majority of the settler inhabitants in the prairies today, this program was obviously very successful.

People confusing Alberta with a government created by the inhabitants of the region which Alberta claims control over creates confusion as to who and what is really in control.

The core problem is that these corporate subsidiaries acting as "provinces" have existed for far too long, and it is time to fold them in a responsible manner (make them pay for the damage they have caused, and the debt they have accumulated) as they are replaced with domestic naturalized (meaning, Indigenous) governance.

From the article:

Industries pay royalties to places where they extract resources, but Alberta’s royalty rates are embarrassingly, laughably puny. On the world stage, no one else on the planet comes nearly as close to simply giving their resources away for free than Alberta does. That’s why Norway has amassed a sovereign wealth fund worth more than $200,000 USD for every single citizen from the sale of its oil reserves — exactly the sort of thing that comes in handy when a crisis like Covid comes along — while Alberta has sold 45% more oil than Norway did over the same time period and still managed to end up nearly $100 Billion in debt.

For the people on Turtle Island to have done what the people of Norway did, this region would need to have been governed by people naturalized to the nations and worldviews of this homeland. Ongoing colonialism doesn't allow that to happen.

As with many problems with "Canada" and its subsidiary governments, I strongly believe LandBack is the only long-term solution.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Who is, and isn't, behind UNDRIP and Bill C-15 in "Canada".

Many people have drawn conclusions based on the notion that the Canadian government is behind Bill C-15, and thus because the Canadian government has demonstrated itself untrustworthy over generated, the bill also can't be trusted.

Knowing who helped create UNDRIP and C-15 may then help move the next steps forward once this bill is finally passed into law.

Who isn't behind this policy?

Canada (including its provinces) has been an opponent of this policy from the beginning.  The formal aspects of UNDRIP started in 1982 when the Working Group on Indigenous Populations was established, and Canada has been an opponent for the entire 39 years since.

There are individual politicians (Members of Provincial Parliaments, Members of the Federal Parliament, Senators) who support, and they are largely but not exclusively Indigenous. The governments of Canada has been an opponent regardless of which party happens to have formed a government.

The Conservative Governments and party spokespersons are more overtly opposed, using phrases suggesting UNDRIP is merely an "aspirational document" and not part of international human rights norms.

The Liberal Governments and party spokespersons will claim publicly to be supportive, but will do whatever it can do to confuse and delay work towards updating Canadian laws to come into compliance with these finally recognized human rights.

The NDP provincial governments and party spokespersons will also claim publicly to be supportive, but even once similar bills to C-15 are passed provincially as happened in British Columbia, they will actively seek ways to get around the policy.

The governments of Canada do not want to move this policy forward, but are receiving considerable international pressure to do so.  In the long run Canada has no choice, so the only tactic they really have is to delay for as long as possible.

Who is behind this policy?

As I wrote in my brief to the parliamentary committee studying the bill, this process can be seen as dating back to 1923 when Deskaheh, Chief of the Iroquois League, representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, left Canada to go on a mission to Geneva (Switzerland).

Many of those alive today who have been working for decades of their life on this policy have done interviews or participated in forums worthy of listening to. There are many other Indigenous people who have been actively working on this area of policy for decades.

Pam Palmater

Video created from her intervention as a witness in front of the Senate committee studying Bill C-15 on May 10th.

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Honourable Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton (Willie) Littlechild.

Event hosted by Faith in the Declaration on May 4'th, 2021


Professor Brenda Gunn and the Honourable Murray Sinclair

Interviewed as part of the Warrior Life Podcast (April 2021)

Kanienʼkehá꞉ka grassoots warrior and Onkwehón:we rights activist Ellen Gabriel

Interviewed as part of the Warrior Life Podcast (April 2021)

Romeo Saganash

Interviewed as part of the Warrior Life Podcast (January 2021)

Romeo Saganash, Brenda Gunn, and Grand Chief Littlechild

March 2021, Amnesty International town hall



Honourable Graydon Nicholas

Interviewed as part of the Warrior Life Podcast (Mar 2021)

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

Provided a great summary of Bill C-15 at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre's dialogue on implementing the UN Declaration through Bill C-15.


Leah Gazan

There are so many interviews, and she has her own YouTube Channel where she regularly discusses UNDRIP and C-15.

She spoke about her work in this area on an APTN interview in November 2019, before much of the current opposition emerged:

She also spoke on the One Dish One Mic radio show in February 2021. I highly recommend this weekly Indigenous talk radio show.

Why am I involved at all?

Part of White Privilege is the possibility of living in Canada and being entirely unaware of what this system is.  It is not that the settler-colonial systems of Canada give every white person a hand up, but that the systems aren't designed specifically to oppress what it declares "others" including BIPOC people generally and Indigenous peoples specifically.

I learned about UNDRIP as part of classes I took from the University of Alberta department of Native Studies in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. I continued to learn both from the people listed above, as well as closely listening to the Indigenous critiques. I have no sympathy for the settler critiques of UNDRIP I've heard, which amount to a desire to continue to violate human rights for profit.

In the Indigenous critiques I found justifiable critiques of the Governments of Canada, with the Canadian systems being dishonorable since the British created these systems to be part of the British Empire in 1867.

While reading the bill and the background I did not find evidence that this was policy that the Government of Canada wanted to pass. It is clearly the result of decades of international (including Indigenous nations) pressure against Canada.

I watched many presentations from opponents, and while I learned more and more why none of us should trust the systems of Canada, none of these presentations offered evidence to explain opposition to UNDRIP or C-15 as these aren't Canadian policies.

If anyone is curious, I wrote about how I analyse and why I support Bill C-15, the UNDRIP related bill.


Why don't I "stay in my lane"?

One thing opponents have been saying on social media to try to scare settlers into not advocating in support of UNDRIP is to suggest we should "stay in our lane" -- that this should only be a debate between Indigenous peoples.

I am not willing to do this for two primary reasons:

  • Since Bill C-15 was tabled, certain Indigenous opponents have been asking settlers to also oppose C-15.

    In some cases opposition has come in the form of accusing some of the Indigenous people above of being sellouts (or worse).

    Some of these Indigenous opponents are individuals and groups that supported the same policy when it had the earlier numbering of Bill C-262. Bills of the same basic design have been tabled multiple times since 2008, always blocked or delayed by the government of the day.

    I consider it my duty as a settler to ensure that fellow settlers don't incorrectly believe there is a pan-indigenous opposition on this issue, and to point them toward the Indigenous people who have been working for decades on this policy. Settlers rarely understand the diversity within and between Indigenous nations.

  • Since Bill C-15 regulates Canada, not indigenous peoples, this is my lane.

    While some opponents only want settlers to engage if they also oppose C-15, I hope everyone who is aware of all the work that has been done over the past nearly hundred years towards this policy will be engaged.

    I do not want Indigenous peoples to "stay in their lane".

    • Finally getting UNDRIP passed through the general assembly in 2007 was an important step, but not the destination.
    • Finally getting Bill C-15 style legislation passed into Canadian law after the delays of the last 13 years is an important step, but not the destination.
    • This is going to be a long process to amend Canadian law to become less and less an ongoing expression of White Supremacy. This may be the destination for some, but I personally hope this process will eventually lead towards decolonization.

      Misinformation about who is pushing for these changes will only delay this process, to the benefit of the systems of Canada, so it is incumbent upon all of us to learn as much as we can.