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.

No comments: