The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the Indigenous

A recent Supreme Court decision seems to have loosened the constraints, but will new legislation push such matters to the UN?

The strangling nature of Canada’s ‘duty to consult’ the IndigenousThe Supreme Court of Canada’s Mikisew decision, delivered on Oct. 11, 2018, marks what could be a very significant development in Canadian law – possibly ushering in a more reasonable era, where courts intervene less in matters that properly belong to the people’s elected representatives. Let me explain: Section 35 was written into Canada’s brand…

Skills training, education keys to finding work for First Nations people

Eight of 10 unemployed Indigenous Albertans living off reserve said there was a shortage of jobs: StatsCan

Skills training, education keys to finding work for First Nations peopleSkills training and more education were identified by First Nations people living off reserve as the key to finding work, according to the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey released on Monday by Statistics Canada. The survey found 27 per cent of respondents said those two factors would help them most to find a job. “The off-reserve…

A bad rap: one singer’s misplaced perspective on treaty rights

The federal government now spends approximately $100,000 per year on each First Nations family

A bad rap: one singer’s misplaced perspective on treaty rightsAs a regular attendee of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, I’ve had the good fortune to watch and hear a wide variety of interesting musicians over the years. One such performance was that of an Indigenous rapper. His main theme in a number of his songs was treaty rights. Basically, he powerfully denounced the government and…

Jean Chretien tried to end Canada’s apartheid system

As a cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau, his bold plan would have improved the lives of Indigenous Canadians. It was doomed

Jean Chretien tried to end Canada’s apartheid systemFormer prime minister Jean Chrétien, now 84, sounded just like the feisty street fighter he once was during a recent CBC Radio interview. But his tenacity wasn't enough to win one of Canada’s gravest – and enduring – fights. From a very young backbencher, through many cabinet posts, and finally to a prime minister who only…

Canada’s persistent apartheid system

Canadians passionately denounced South Africa while not noticing that we had an apartheid system of our own. It's still here

Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights is commemorating Nelson Mandela’s long struggle against the white South African apartheid regime. Mandela, who died in 2013 at age 95, was imprisoned for 27 years because of his defiance of the regime and his determination to end apartheid. That apartheid regime divided people into racial categories and issued…

How to get First Nations onside with resource-related projects

The support of B.C. Indigenous communities for LNG projects provides a working model for agreements

How to get First Nations onside with resource-related projectsThe division and acrimony among First Nation communities over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project can mask the many examples of Indigenous communities that have reached agreements with resource companies. For example, how many Canadians know that the experience of First Nations on liquefied natural gas (LNG) development has been extremely positive? “While B.C. First…

Stop playing the racist card and deal with the real problems

To ignore a safety issue involving alcohol use among Indigenous communities for fear of being labelled a racist is just plain wrong

Stop playing the racist card and deal with the real problemsEver since Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that heavier-than-air machines could fly, safety has been a priority when it comes to air travel. Engines and chassis are inspected and re-inspected. If some gizmo in your car engine breaks, your car stops and you look under the hood. You don’t have that luxury in an airplane.…

Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politics

The Yellowhead Institute, a new think-tank focusing on Indigenous issues, needs to broaden its perspective

Focus on the merit of ideas, not identity politicsFormer U.S. president Barack Obama was in South Africa recently delivering a speech where he was widely praised for issuing a caution to those who embrace identity politics. “We’re able … to get inside the reality of people who are different from us so we can understand their point of view,” Obama said. “And you…

Trans Mountain pipeline hurdles never end

The long, convoluted path to rejection demonstrates an approval process that is fundamentally flawed on so many levels

Trans Mountain pipeline hurdles never end“The current state of affairs in Canada is such that building a pipeline to tidewater is practically impossible,” says Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Truer words were rarely spoken. These ones were spoken at an Aug. 30 press conference as the courts set back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The hurdles, it seems, never end. The…

Are we on the home land of the Metis Nation?

When the Metis began coalescing as a distinct people, they simply took control of territory previously used by Indigenous tribes

Are we on the home land of the Metis Nation?I’ve been paying attention to public event openings announcing that we’re now on treaty land. Perhaps the most unusual is the one advising people that they’re now on the home land of the Metis Nation. Does an acknowledgement that one is on Metis treaty land not imply that the Metis were the first people to…