Indigenous communities deserve economic choice

Allowing free market ownership of urban reserves can give First Nations the economic clout to move ahead, despite having to pay taxes

Indigenous communities deserve economic choiceTo help First Nations convert more of their land into urban reserves, the federal government has decided to improve its Additions to Reserve (ATR) policy. It's a step in the right direction but more can be done to enhance the economic benefits. Urban reserves are First Nation-owned land designated by Ottawa. They come complete with tax…

Killing energy projects only hurts First Nations

Stringent environmental oversight already protects native rights to land and water, negating the need for veto rights

Killing energy projects only hurts First NationsThe right of First Nations to question resource development is not the same as a right to veto much-needed projects. Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council in New Brunswick, said he believes Canada’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) gives First Nation communities veto power…

Atlantic First Nations lead on transparency

By ensuring revenues are wisely spent, transparency and accountability is of most benefit to First Nations communities

Atlantic First Nations lead on transparencyAtlantic Canada's First Nations are leaders in complying with salary reporting requirements of the federal government's First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA). This law obliges Canada's 581 First Nations to publicly disclose band spending as well as salaries and expenses collected by chiefs and councillors. Its success in Atlantic Canada is why Ottawa should uphold…

School choice should apply to every First Nations family

The days of dictating where indigenous families ought to educate their children are over

School choice should apply to every First Nations familySome indigenous activists in Winnipeg are upset over plans to establish a Catholic middle school in Winnipeg’s indigenous-dominated North End. Given the Catholic character of the school, they compared it to Canada’s past residential schools system, which included church-run institutions. First Nations families do not have to apologize for their concern about education systems designed…

First Nation financial details must not be hidden

If the Trudeau government has any respect for indigenous peoples, it will restore the financial transparency act

First Nation financial details must not be hiddenIs Ottawa’s promised nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples mainly about protecting the power of First Nation leaders and ignoring the interests of the grassroots? The first sign in that direction occurred in December, when the Trudeau government announced it was taking teeth out of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, a piece of legislation that provides basic local…

First Nations leadership does matter

Selecting the first indigenous minister of Indigenous Affairs is about raising expectations of all indigenous peoples

First Nations leadership does matterElecting the first African American to the presidency has not meant black Americans have magically become more prosperous or that racial tensions have disappeared. But blacks in the U.S. say it meant something to elect a black president. Canadians should think the same way about selecting the first indigenous minister of Indigenous Affairs – when…

Trudeau should push for a Kurdish state

A unified Kurdish state western interests because it would create a moderate majority-Muslim state that is largely pro-western

Trudeau should push for a Kurdish statePrime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau could establish a legacy for himself by helping solve the problem of the world’s largest stateless nation. Trudeau should expend political capital on a newly energized foreign policy goal of unified Kurdish statehood. This state would serve Canadian and western interests. There are about 30 to 32 million Kurds. They are…

Assembly of First Nations not only path to improving Indigenous lives

The next government should start to think of working with new partners and allies

Assembly of First Nations not only path to improving Indigenous livesWho said that the road to Aboriginal reform must go through the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)? No matter which party wins, the next government is not obliged to work only with the AFN to pass legislation benefiting on-reserve First Nations people. The Conservatives sought to build consensus for legislation with AFN’s National Chief Shawn…

Why First Nations peoples should vote for Harper

At least the Harper Conservatives have a plan, beyond expressing platitudes

Why First Nations peoples should vote for HarperBefore those suffering Harper Derangement Syndrome get their shorts in a knot (as if that will not ever happen), let me enumerate the reasons why First Nations peoples – especially those at the grassroots level – should strongly consider voting for the Conservative government. First, let me agree that the Tories are not perfect and…

Time for First Nations to embrace citizenship

First Nations need not give up their status to become citizens

Time for First Nations to embrace citizenshipWhen the Canadian Parliament ratified the Nisga’a Final Agreement – a modern treaty granting substantial powers of self-government to a B.C. First Nation – a Nisga’a leader observed that the Nisga’a representatives in the public gallery stood and sang O Canada. Perhaps for those standing in the public gallery, there was no feeling that one…