Thursday, February 24, 2022

Please stop repeating CGL's misdirection: "The company says they have 20 signed agreements with elected bands..."

The following was a letter to APTN News, which I copied to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and my MP in Ottawa South.

It is repeated on their website: Land rights defenders weigh in on CGL incident on Wet’suwet’en territory

I'm a settler of Irish, Scottish and French descent, currently living on unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. My mother was born in Paris, Ontario, part of the Haldimand Tract. I have loyalty to this land that has sustained me, and solidarity with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (the oldest participatory democracy, not the Six Nations band council bureaucrats) and Anishinabek nations.

Even I, who fully recognizes I am not Indigenous and have never been naturalized to this continent, find it offensive each time APTN repeats the colonial misdirection about Indian Act Band Councils without the required disclaimers. This offensive misdirection was repeated again on this evening's newscast, apparently to remind viewers of the existence of worthless "agreements" that CGL has with "elected bands".

Indian Act band councils are created, regulated and funded by the Government of Canada.

The phrase "elected" should never be repeated, as that is colonial propaganda to falsely suggest since there was an "election" that the body might be democratic. These councils are responsible to the Canadian Government, not Indigenous citizens, and thus are not representative governments. Elected parts of the federal government bureaucracy are still federal government bureaucrats.

The position of Pope is "elected", but that does not change the fact that The Vatican is an absolute monarchy.

These councils are in a trivially obvious conflict of interest when it comes to any issue where there may be conflict between the interests of the Canadian Crown (and its corporations) and Indigenous governments. This was the entire purpose of the additions of s.25 and s.35 of the Canada Act 1982, to clarify that the Canadian federal government, or any of its delegates, cannot simply take control over Indigenous lands.

Some of the same individual people may be part of an Indigenous government and a band council. However, an Indian Act band council as that council does not have jurisdiction outside of what the Federal Government has jurisdiction on and has delegated to part of its own bureaucracy. An Indian Act band council, a subsidiary part of the Canadian Federal government, constitutionally cannot have jurisdiction over treaty land under Constitution s.35 or land where treaties were not created under Charter s.25 which clarifies the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763 is part of Canadian law.

The fact that Indian Act Band councils administrate policy on reservations is because the British granted the Canadian Federal government jurisdiction over "24. Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians."

Please stop helping ongoing colonization on this continent. If you are quoting from a government or corporate statement, please make use of a disclaimer before or after to clarify that Indian Act band councils are part of the Canadian Government bureaucracy, and thus can not have jurisdiction over issues not part of federal responsibility.

There may not currently be clarity about who represents the Wet'suwet'en peoples. This is a problem caused by the Government of Canada, so the Governments of Canada (federal or provincial - with Municipal governments being provincial corporations) should never benefit from harm to existing Indigenous governance that the federal government caused.

Settler governments which had any respect for their own laws or internationally recognized human rights would have had federal courts issue an injunction against CGL and the British Columbia government. The injunction would be to cease all authorizations of land use and operations until the s.25/s.35 Indigenous Government representatives are lawfully clarified and the correct governing bodies have granted Free, Prior and Informed Consent for any activities on their land. If the appropriate bodies don't exist currently, then the fiduciary duty of the Canadian Crown is to help them be re-established, with the injunction remaining in place.

This isn't only a matter of recognizing UNDRIP, but of recognition of the Royal Proclamation 1763, the Canadian Constitution, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Thank you for reading,


For anyone who read this and didn't know before that the Canadian Constitution granted the federal government jurisdiction over "Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians", please think about that for a moment.

Could you imagine the German constitution granted a specific level of government jurisdiction over "Jews, and lands reserved for the Jews"?

This is the real Canada, and not the "Canada the good" marketing material most of us settlers grew up with.


Russell McOrmond said...

I also added a comment about Group of chiefs sign on to buy part of Coastal GasLink pipeline to Project Reconciliation one of the Indigenous groups aiming to buy Trans Mountain pipeline, even as costs soar

The earlier comment was deleted from APTN's Disqus forum, so I won't be surprised if this one is as well.


here seems to be no place to reply to the the dangerously worded story "Group of chiefs sign on to buy part of Coastal GasLink pipeline" that was part of March 10'th newscast and later the March 11 news brief.

Indian Act Band Councils are part of the Canadian Federal infrastructure, and calling them "Nations" is part of colonial propaganda. These groups are created, regulated, and funded by the Canadian Federal government, and are delegated responsibilities that the Canadian Federal government was granted by the British under Canada's Constitution section 91 "Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians." These bodies do not have jurisdiction under section 35 of the constitution or section 21 of the charter to authorise CGL or other such projects off that happen off of "Lands reserved for the Indians".

We should be trying to deal with that offensive part of Canada's constitution, not pretend that it is a substitute for sections 35, 21, UNDRIP, and other national and international law that protects Indigenous rights.

Repeating colonial propaganda will continue to help Canada in its ongoing violence against Indigenous peoples. APTN should be trying to educate viewers about the legal reality of the situation, and not be repeating propaganda spread by Canada or other foreign corporations.

The suggestion that this is "hereditary chiefs" vs Nations is completely false: This is Indigenous Governments (some who have lifelong trained/experienced hereditary spokespersons -- not Canadian "Crown" style top-down feudalism) vs the Canadian Federal Government (with their Indian Act bureaucracy spokespersons). This is political rhetoric aimed at further dis-empowering Indigenous Nations and *their* governments, and putting the lives of Indigenous people at greater risk.

Canadian Federal Government bureaucrats may do great work in the regions, and those bureaucrats may be Indigenous individuals, but that doesn't change the fact that they are part of the Canadian Federal Government bureaucracy and do not represent Indigenous National governments.

Russell McOrmond said...

Canada's ongoing attack on sovereignty regularly called out by the United Nations office of the high commissioner for Human Rights.

Letter dated 29 April 2022

Russell McOrmond said...

The website for the United Nations office of the high commissioner for Human Rights changed their software, so the old link doesn't work. You have to use their search interface.

APTN has a copy of the letter on their site.