Aboriginal Claims: Litigate Land, Squash Secession

September 4, 2008 by  

Yesterday, the National Post published an editorial saying that that “…it would be nice to see our federal government infused with a fresh set of purpose in regard to a whole host of important issues.” Among the priorities suggested was one suggesting that “It would be nice if at least one of the political parties had a plan for decisively resolving the underlying claims.”

To the extent that there is an outstanding property dispute between the Crown and any Canadian, it should be resolved in our courts if, in a span of weeks – not decades – it cannot be resolved by means of negotiated settlement.

However, the fact of the matter is that many of the negotiations – including Caledonia – involve claims not simply of land, but of governmental jurisdiction. The issue, in such matters, is not “land-claims” but secession. Those claiming to represent aboriginals in respect of such claims cling to the “Two Row Wampum Belt” and the “Silver Covenant Chain” of peace, and claim that they are not governed by any government but their own.

It is simply unacceptable for our government’s to negotiate with those who want various Canadian geographic areas to secede, whether on the basis of being aboriginal, French, western, or what have you. Nor is secession a matter for courts to decide. It is a matter for Canada executive branch (and, in Ontario, Ontario’s executive branch) to deal with, decisively, and without negotiation.

If our first ministers are unwilling to defend Canada’s sovereignty – if they are willing to resort to ridiculous interpretations of the constitution in order to justify doing nothing – it is time to replace them with first ministers who will say not “we’re still in negotiations” but “Just watch me.”

In the meantime, a tutorial may be helpful to the cowards-that-be:

Pierre Trudeau during Canada’s French-Secessionist “October Crisis” of 1970.


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