Romeo Saganash, a member of Parliament, proposed a bill to incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law. Photo from Facebook
Retired professor Peter d'Errico examines the defeat of a bill that would have incorporated the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law.
The recent defeat in the Canadian House of Commons of a bill that would have incorporated the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into the law of Canada demonstrates a similar conflict between "seeing" and "refusal to see." In the aftermath of the vote, Mark Strahl, a Conservative Party Member of Parliament was quoted as rejecting any obligation for the Canadian government to obtain "free, prior and informed consent [from Indigenous Peoples] before adopting and implementing legislative or administration measures that may affect them." Strahl stated, "In the strongest terms, our government rejects this notion.... Our government believes that it was elected to serve the interests of all Canadians and that we should develop and pass legislation and initiatives that are in the public interest of and would benefit all Canadians." In saying this, the MP refused to see that Indigenous Peoples are not actually "Canadians," even though they reside within geographic boundaries claimed by the Canadian state. The Conservative MP may believe that Aboriginal Peoples have disappeared into the homogenization of Canadian citizenship. He may believe that the Canadian government, created by Christian European colonizers, eliminated the separate, distinctive Aboriginal Peoples and terminated their separate, distinctive histories. These beliefs are the orthodoxy of the Conservative Party in Canada. The representatives of Aboriginal Peoples challenge those orthodox Canadian beliefs. They see the original and continuously existing Aboriginal Peoples.Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: Domination and Diversity: Galileo's Lesson for Canada (Indian Country Today 5/23) Also Today:
Nunavik MP’s bill on Indigenous rights goes down to defeat (Nunatsiaq News 5/7)
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