Comments on a Legal Review of Canadian Parliament Bill C-15

Russell Diabo

Good Afternoon; attached 1 is a highlighted version of a legal review of Bill C-15 that in my opinion is good, except I do not agree with Bill C-15 proceeding, even with the proposed amendments, or the suggested approach of a “ law and policy review”. The following are my comments on the OKT Bill C-15 legal review.

We therefore propose that Canada review its policies that govern negotiations with Indigenous Peoples and bring them into conformity with UNDRIP, in addition to a review of legislation.” [emphasis added]

The Trudeau government has already manipulated their 2015 law and policy review using AFN and then Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was sidelined in 2018 as Justice Minister, in favour of CIRNAC Minister Carolyn Bennett and the Liberal’s 2015 promised law and policy review now being placed under the federal Reconciliation Cabinet Committee.

For the past five years we have seen the Trudeau government take a top down, stealth approach to “consultation and cooperation” using the three National Indigenous Organizations and Leaders.

The OKT review also suggests amending the Preamble and section 4 to include this wording:

Preamble: Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples must be based on the recognition and implementation of the inherent right to self-determination, including the right of self-government, and ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.”

The government of Canada already has the 1995 “Inherent Right” Policy and now has a new “Self-Government Fiscal Policy” to be used in federal “recognition”!

The OKT review also suggests that section 6(1) and 6(2) regarding the action plan be amended:

Section 6(1): “The Minister shall, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples and with other federal ministers, prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the Declaration and to ensure that the laws and policies of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.”

Subsection (2): “The action plan shall include: (a.1) measures to amend, supplement or replace Canada’s policies and legislation to ensure that that they are consistent with the Declaration.”

These OKT proposed amendments are based on the assumption the federal government will act honourably by conducting a law and policy review in accordance with UNDRIP Article 19:

Subsection (7): “For the purposes of this section and section 5 of this Act, consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples shall be carried out in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own

representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures.”

As usual, UNDRIP Article 18 is ignored, which is a prerequisite before considering UNDRIP Article 19! UNDRIP Article 18 provides as follows:

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions . [emphasis added]

I believe our grassroots peoples should be demanding this international UNDRIP standard be followed! Bands and Band Councils are not Indigenous institutions and Band Council Resolutions are not Indigenous procedures, they are both colonial impositions.

Self-Determination belongs to the Peoples NOT Band Councils or Chiefs’ organizations!

The Indian Act Band Councils, Chiefs’ Organization like AFN have been using UNDRIP Article 19 to be “consulted” by federal, provincial and territorial governments on “legislative or administrative measures” bypassing the rights holders, the Peoples!

For these reasons and more, I myself, cannot accept OKT proposals to amend Bill C-15 or the approach to UNDRIP in general.

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1. It is not possible to attach the higlighted version here. It may be possible to obtain it from Russell Diabo, rdiabo@rogers.com.

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