Posts tagged ‘Government of Canada’

For Canada, the UN Declaration remains "aspirational"

It’s a two-drink minimum at the Canada’s “Aspirational Bar”.  Today’s Special:  Aspirational + Non-Binding.

Today, Canada announced it is endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.  Sounds tasty.  But without a plan to implement it, it likely won’t be served.

Sure it’s a nicey, nicey announcement.  It probably made for a good photo op for Minister John Duncan and officials from the United Nations.  But once again, Canada left First Nations out of the process.  Our Great White Father didn’t offer First Nations a table or even a seat at the bar.  We are once again looking in from the cold with their “No Indians Allowed” sign, illuminated outside.

The Government of Canada’s position all along was that the declaration is not compatible with our current Constitutional framework – meaning we still have the arbitrary and unilateral Indian Act, and Canada’s legislators are not willing to secure First Nations with a seat at the table when it comes to developing public policy.

When it comes to aspiring to something higher, Canada really has a long way to go.

Now that the government has endorsed the declaration, and has set the proverbial Aspirational Bar, it’s time for a proactive plan on achieving those aspirations.  Canada needs an implementation plan on how it will implement the articles in the declaration.  We need to call on Canada to convene a First Nations-Crown Gathering to begin this work in earnest.

However, implementing the right to self-determination, self-government, language, culture nationhood and citizenship are near impossible tasks for a Conservative government that pulled the plug on Kelowna and killed a $160 million investment in languages.

We need to take the Crown-First Nation relationship back to formula.  By amending the Constitution and implementing the Treaties.

Canada needs to work with First Nations to firmly establish self-government as a legitimate third-order of government.  First Nations need to have a seat in developing a new framework to implement the treaties and find new and sustainable means of funding First Nations governments.

But perhaps we have to start somewhere a little further down the Aspiritational Bar menu.

A significant part of the UN Declaration is the rights to land and inclusion in resource development.  First Nations should not only be consulted on activities that affect their rights, but have a seat at the table in decision-making and sharing in the bounty of resource development.  Perhaps Canada can start there and clarify laws surrounding the duty to consult on resource matters.

Come in from the cold, my friend.  Have a seat at the Aspiration Bar.  But given Canada’s aspirational approach, those First Nations who have been placed their order of free, prior and informed consent – will be left high and dry.