“We recognize and respect First Nations’ decisions to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers from their territories and we offer our support and solidarity in upholding the Save the Fraser Declaration.” – Maude Barlow, December 5, 2013.
The Council of Canadians is calling on the Trudeau government to commit to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
We have endorsed these key demands:
1- A new open truly Nation-to-Nation recognition process that begins by fully recognizing Indigenous land rights and their decision-making power throughout their territories.
In December 2013, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow signed a Solidarity Accord to the Save the Fraser Declaration. That Declaration is an Indigenous law banning tar sands pipelines and tankers that was signed by more than 130 First Nations in British Columbia. At that time, Barlow said, “We recognize and respect First Nations’ decisions to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers from their territories and we offer our support and solidarity in upholding the Save the Fraser Declaration.”
2- The full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action, including rejecting the colonial doctrines of discovery and recognizing Indigenous self-determination.
In June 2015, the Council of Canadians endorsed all 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. Barlow says, “It is imperative to recognize that cultural genocide was perpetrated against Indigenous peoples in this country. The truth and reconciliation process and its recommendations should be seen as a call to action for all Canadians to work to address the wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples and ensure that injustices are not continued in any form in the present day.”
3- The full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the ground.
In September 2007, we issued a media release that stated, “The Council of Canadians denounces the Harper government for voting against UNDRIP [at the United Nations] on September 13, 2007 along with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Canadian government show leadership on indigenous rights by supporting the Declaration and taking necessary measures to ensure justice for Aboriginal communities in Canada.”
Specifically, we have been calling on Trudeau to explicitly recognize UNDRIP in relation to the Alton Gas Storage Project, the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal, the Site C dam, and the Energy East and Trans Mountain pipelines. We also support the private member’s bill C-262, which aims to make UNDRIP Canadian law.
Furthermore, last week, Council of Canadians vice-chair Leo Broderick sent a second letter to Catherine McKenna, the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, to ask her to remove the name ‘Amherst’ from an historic site near Charlottetown. That’s because British General Jeffery Amherst wanted to kill Indigenous people by infecting blankets that were to be given to them with smallpox. Broderick is calling for a more appropriate name in keeping with what the Mi’kmaq people of Prince Edward Island desire.
We call on the Trudeau government to recognize a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, to fully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (and explicitly its key principle of the right to free, prior and informed consent).
Standing in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples (Canadian Perspectives, Autumn 2014)