Ottawa’s Plan For “Reconciliation” Will Destroy Canada

A government’s most basic function is the protection of its sovereignty. – Simon Schama[i]

We may find that a healthy democracy, far from being threatened by the regulatory state, actually d

epends upon it: that in a world increasingly polarized between isolated, insecure individuals and unregulated global forces, the legitimate authority of the democratic state may be the best kind of intermediate institution we can devise. What, after all, is the alternative? – Tony Judt[ii]

When states are absent, rights-by any definition-are impossible to sustain. States are not structures to be taken for granted, exploited or discarded, but are fruits of long and quiet effort. It is tempting but dangerous to fragment the state…Timothy Snyder[iii]

We must respect UNDRIP. We must respect the bargain that is section 35. In the journey of deconstructing colonialism Canadians must support the solutions proposed by Indigenous nations. It’s about empowering choice for Indigenous governments. -Joe Wild, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada[iv] 

The truth is Canada is a cloud-cuckoo land, an insufferably rich country governed by idiots, it’s self-made problems offering comic relief to the ills of the real world out there, where famine and racial strife and vandals in office are the unhappy rule. -Mordecai Richler[v]

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To achieve “reconciliation” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians the federal government wants to devolve big jurisdictional chunks of its sovereignty and power to from 60 to 80 as-yet undefined Indigenous “nations”, with the intention of making those “nations” a de facto third order of government sharing sovereign powers with the federal and provincial governments. It’s a very harmful policy that the Trudeau government, without any opposition, has been engaged in since it was elected, and it is now dangerously picking up speed.

This reconciliation policy is a combination of insanity and idiocy that will create nothing but legal chaos, economic ruin, and social divisiveness from sea to sea to sea. It represents a nihilistic rejection by our political classes and other elites of all that has made Canada great. It’s an affront to reason, personal and historical experience and to common sense. It’s an insult to past, present and future generations of Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians.

 It’s a policy that would ensure only the opposite of true reconciliation. It would turn Canada into an end-stages version of the Austro-Hungarian empire: weak, divided, demoralized and everywhere disrespected.

One of the first uses of the word “reconciliation” in relation to Aboriginal peoples was in the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2004 Haida Nation case. There the Court, emphasizing the importance of the Crown always acting honourably in its dealings with Aboriginal peoples, stated that such honour was required “if we are to achieve the reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.” One is hard-pressed to imagine a more elegant and legally impressive phrase than that: “the recognition of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.” Unfortunately, it’s a phrase designed only to be read and perhaps understood by specializing lawyers, law professors, judges and civil servants. It has little grounding in any concrete historical or social reality. It’s a phrase that clever wordsmiths can say means whatever they want it to mean.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “reconciliation” as “being brought into friendly relations and harmony with another after an estrangement.”This is what ordinary Canadians reasonably assume reconciliation with Aboriginal Canadians should entail: all Canadians, with numerous apologies already having been made and accepted, and in the spirit of forgiveness, overcoming and moving past our historical differences, dismantling our quasi-segregationist, separate-but-equal political state, and  moving forward together as unified equals, where all considerations of race are removed from our laws.

Tragically for Canada, that’s not what Ottawa, and the leadership of our Aboriginal peoples have in mind, the latter’s views typified by Jody Wilson-Raybould’s latest book, True Reconciliation-How to be a Force for Change, reviewed in a companion article.

Ottawa has formally set out on its website its reconciliation policy in a document entitled Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples , (“the Principles”).

The Principles, all stated as supposedly necessary to implement in order to achieve reconciliation, inexplicably refer to “Indigenous peoples” rather than “Aboriginal peoples”, the latter term used in section 35 of the constitution, which states: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed”. This departure from legal terminology, and from the greater certainty inherent in its use, sets the Principles off to a bad start. They go downhill from there.

The Principles say that section 35“holds the promise that Indigenous nations will become partners in Confederation,” and that this alleged promise is “unfulfilled.” (Note that “Indigenous” is capitalized but “aboriginal” in section 35 is not. It’s wrong for politicians and their bureaucrats to alter legal terminology in this way.)

There are no words of promise in section 35. No Courts have ever gone this far. The framers of section 35 never dreamt that any serious person would make such a false assertion about its intention. Bob Rae, who was a member of the House of Commons at the time of the negotiations around re-patriating and amending the constitution wrote[vi] that “some protested no one knew exactly what the implications of these changes (to the constitution) were.” Aboriginal affairs expert and former British Columbia Liberal leader Gordon Gibson wrote[vii] of the deliberations around section 35, saying: “This was constitution-making by inattention… The nature of the last-minute negotiations- complex, occasionally bitter, and hurried- militated against any consideration of aboriginal rights”. He quotes Melvin Smith, Q.C., a senior constitutional bureaucrat from British Columbia, who wrote about these hectic and hurried last minute negotiations: “Nothing has been written that suggests there was any serious example of what the words (of section 35) meant. If anyone had suggested (which they did not) that in later years the words would be interpreted to include the recognition of a third order of government, he would have been laughed out of court.”

This “promise” assertion is a reckless and irresponsible bureaucratic and political invention, as are all the other similar, radical and revolutionary assertions of this nature in the Principles, only some of which are detailed herein. The reader is urged to read the Principles in full in order to fully appreciate the truth of Mordecai Richler’s statement, above.

Section 35, which refers only to lower case “aboriginal peoples”, as stated, says or implies nothing about “Indigenous nations” becoming “partners in Confederation.” Partnership implies equality. In most treaty areas of Canada, the wording of the treaties themselves makes it clear that Aboriginal peoples are specifically subservient to our federal and provincial governments, (our “Crowns”). They are not legally equal to them. In Aboriginal title areas of Canada, while there is a measure of Supreme Court-invented, technical, abstract equality, in fact they are subservient to and totally dependent upon our Crowns, which are the embodiment and representatives of the taxpayers and the general citizenry of Canada.

The Principles state that “Indigenous self-government and laws are critical to Canada’s future”. This is false. These things have never been part of Canada’s past, and the country has achieved greatness without them. There’s no reason to think that we can’t continue to achieve greatness without them.

Aboriginal self-government will always be an illusion because it will always be totally dependent on endless supplies of money from the Canadian taxpayer, and technocratic support from outsiders. No entity can ever be truly independent and self-governing in such ever-dependent circumstances. Implementation of the Principles in this regard presages a mere Potemkin village form of independence and self-governance.

There are no “Indigenous laws” in anything like the normal sense in which we think of laws. “Indigenous laws” is largely a  mythological concept.

The Principles state that Canada“will continue the process of decolonization and hasten the end of its legacy wherever it remains in our laws and policies.” This is impossible, even if it made sense, which it doesn’t.  

Colonization is another word for human migration and its many inevitable consequences, something which has happened continually since man first migrated out of Africa aeons ago. Being so timeless and universal, it’s an essentially blameless phenomenon. Its “legacy” in our country is the safe, ordered, prosperous Canada all Canadians, including all Aboriginal Canadians, experience today.

France and Great Britain, the products themselves of migration and conquest, whose peoples migrated to, colonized and essentially conquered what is now Canada, carried out this timeless human activity, when measured by historical standards, in a generally humane and admirable manner. By contrast, the Aboriginal tribes of Canada’s past engaged in exactly the same migratory and conquering conduct, but in a far more bloody and violent manner. They issued no Proclamations and made no treaties with their conquered ones, who were shown no mercy or pity. Murder, torture, kidnapping, enslavement and dispossession- genocide- were their usual fates. For instance, there are no Hurons anywhere near Lake Huron, as there used to be, because the Iroquois wiped them out.

Our federal and provincial governments, and all the laws and institutions and programs they and generations of ordinary Canadians have created since Confederation -our cities- our universities-our health care systems- our entire economic system- the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network- all that which makes up modern Canada as a whole– are part of the unimaginably rich and positive “legacy” of “colonization”. Should they not all go too then?

The main theme of the Principles is that “decolonization” is the path to “reconciliation.”

Will the bureaucrats, politicians and Aboriginal elites who generated or who support this juvenile, fantasy idea renounce their “colonial” government created and financed positions and jobs?

Do these Aboriginal elites not realize that it’s only because of the isolating, segregating effects of the “colonial” treaties and reserves and the “colonial” Indian Act that any strong traces of Aboriginal “nations” and of “Indianness” still exist in Canada? Without these colonial initiatives all traces of Aboriginal “nations” and of Indianness in Canada might very well have disappeared by now. In the final analysis, colonialism has been a gift to present-day Aboriginals.

 Does the federal government, the proponent of the Principles, being the ultimate colonial construct, propose to end the quintessential fact and symbol of colonialism: the monarchy? Does it propose to dismantle itself?

To want to “hasten the end” of the overwhelmingly positive legacy of Canada’s past is to want to dismantle and end modern Canada. Like reversing a river, or reversing time itself, this is utterly impossible.

The negative and positive legacies of the French- British, largely peaceful conquest of what is now Canada- of which, as stated, the latter vastly exceeds the former, (as evidenced by the fact that our Aboriginal peoples have almost completely assimilated into Canadian society by adopting Euro-Canadian cultural ways and means), cannot be separated. To attempt to do so would be like trying to carve gravy or unscramble an egg.

The Principles state that the implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “requires” the federal government to carry out the Principles. No it doesn’t.  The Crown sovereignty- suicidal UNDRIP Act, recently passed by the federal government, is a mere interpretation statute. Whether it actually applies to existing Canadian law is an open question which will only be resolved after years of litigation, during which our economy will be destroyed by the uncertainty of it all, as is already happening because of the Supreme Court of Canada-invented, Crown sovereignty-diminishing “consult and accommodate” law.

The United Nations Declaration itself is not part of the law of Canada. The 1997 Report on the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, referred to in the Principles, is not part of the law of Canada. The presumptuous, shallow and over-reaching Calls to Action of the greatly flawed and over-rated Truth and Reconciliation Commission, also referred to in the Principles, are not part of the law of Canada.

The Principles falsely state that there was a“denial of Indigenous rights that led to disempowerment and assimilationist policies and practices”. That’s false history. Almost three hundred years of Aboriginal appropriation of European material goods, and Aboriginal social and economic participation in the Euro-Canadian capitalist system, had, by the late 1800’s, effectively assimilated Aboriginals with Euro-Canadians and ended pre-contact Aboriginal culture.

There was no intentional “denial” of anything. Aboriginals’ previous power, to the extent that it existed, was dependent upon the existence of a relatively unpopulated and undeveloped country in which the fur trade and the buffalo hunt could be engaged in. The combination in the late 1800’s of the industrial revolution, mass European immigration and of the over-harvesting and almost total killing off of the beaver and the buffalo, in which Aboriginal tribes participated enthusiastically, resulted in a final, tragic collapse of Aboriginal culture, power and influence. There were no villains here. It was a situation of human nature and impersonal, universal historical forces doing their usual, disrupting work. “Passion spilled out the plot,”[viii]not intentional wrongdoing.

The Principles state that Indigenous peoples “owned” the lands which now constitute Canada. They did not.  “Ownership” is a Euro-Canadian property law concept, the particulars of which took hundreds of years to develop and refine, and was a concept completely alien to the pre-contact, pre-literate, communal Aboriginal culture and worldview. This is but one example amongst countless of the use in the Principles of reckless, overreaching and conclusory language- unargued persuasion characteristic of propaganda tracts- which should have no place in a government document.

The Principles state that “Indigenous nations”, all undefined 60 to 80 of them, must have “space for the operation of Indigenous jurisdictions and laws”, because they have the “inherent right of self-government”.  What “space”? What nations? What jurisdictions? What laws? Not one specific is provided.

And why an “inherent” right to self-government? Rights are only rights if they are created by a state and can be enforced by state-created mechanisms, like written rules-based courts. Aboriginal tribes were pre-state and pre-literate in nature and so were inherently incapable of creating enforceable rights.

The Principles state that together, severally and/or jointly, Indigenous nations will have “relationships with other orders of government,”, (italics mine), clearly meaning that these Indigenous nations will constitute a separate and distinct order of government, in the nature of provincial governments.

Self-government traditionally means self-supporting government. Not so for these proposed, new Indigenous “nations”. The Canadian taxpayer will remain fully on the hook, because the Principles recognize that “a renewed economic and fiscal relationship must ensure that Indigenous nations, (all 60-80 of them-writer), have the fiscal capacity, as well as access to land and resources, in order to govern effectively and to provide programs and services to those for whom they are responsible.” There’s no suggestion here that these “nations”, in the enjoyment of their newfound independence and “partnership” with the rest of Canada, with their new “land and resources” presumably to be in effect expropriated from other entities which now possess them, (which should be interesting), might want to consider taxing themselves.

The Principles constitute a scandalous and overreaching attempt to de facto amend our constitution to create a third order of government- a third fount of constitutional sovereignty i.e. “Indigenous nations”.

Our federal and provincial governments make up the dual-level nature of the Canadian federal state. The Principles call for a new “nation-to-nation, government-to-government”, tri-level federal state. This is not only revolutionary, it’s anti-democratic. There is a process for amending the Canadian constitution, and shockingly, the Principles completely ignore it.

Canadian federalism, as stated, has worked brilliantly for Canadians since its inception in 1867. These unprincipled Principles audaciously, on behalf of all Canadians dead or alive since Confederation, and all Canadians not yet born, arrogantly purport, by elitist, anti-democratic, bureaucratic and political sleight of hand, on the most stretched, specious and tenuous grounds, through a utopian exercise in constructing dream castles, (the charming feature of which is that they need no foundations), to purportedly “fix” what is clearly not broken.

In 1790 the great conservative philosopher Edmund Burke, in Reflections on the Revolution in France[ix] his magnificent rebuttal to the anti-conservative utopians in France who were bent on destroying France’s past and all its present authority in order to forge a “brave new world”, as they saw it, as the Principles purport to do, wrote:

 The house of commons cannot renounce its share of authority. The pact of society forbids such surrender. The constituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their public faith with each other and with all those who derive any serious interests under their engagements. Otherwise, competence and power would soon be confounded, and no law left but the will of a prevailing force.

The Principles represent a wrongful and harmful attempt by our political classes and other elites to renounce a significant share of our House of Commons “share of authority” in favour of an unspecified- in name, makeup or number- large group of tiny, self-seeking Indigenous “Nations”. The implementation of the Principles would create 60-80 sovereign “substates” within the state of Canada- 60-80 more province-like entities. In purporting to radically remake the country this way behind the backs of Canadians our political classes  have broken “their public faith” with Canadians and with their “serious interests”, such as promoting national unity, equality under the law, the rule of law, (already seriously under challenge in this area of Canadian life), and the most efficient and productive working of the Canadian marketplace.

Present First Nations don’t pay taxes. The tax revenue is the lifeblood of any state. Implementation of the Principles, which would create even larger Aboriginal tax-free zones and havens, would enable further attacks to occur against the already hard-pressed revenues of the federal and provincial governments.  As written by Edmund Burke:

The revenue of the state is the state. In effect, all depends on it, whether for support or for reformation…It is the spring of all power, it becomes in its administration the sphere of every active virtue…Through the revenue alone the body politic can act in its true genius and character.

Just one example of how the Principles represent a grievous blow to the government revenue is the movement by First Nations bands across the country to set up their own cannabis stores, both on their reserves and anywhere in their “traditional territory”, which they now define, with good reason, thanks to the Principles, as anywhere in the entire Dominion of Canada, including in our cities. They claim that, because they are “a free and sovereign people” they can conduct their tax-exempt undertakings “outside the system of the British Crown and its Canadian government.” They brag that they “do not pay or collect tax to, or for the Canadian government, the British Crown or anyone else.”

The government revenues are already being annually deprived by Aboriginal interests of millions of dollars of cigarette tax revenue. Implementation of the Principles will ensure the loss of many, many more millions of dollars of desperately needed revenues, ironically, while at the same time the very same Principles creating heavy demands from Aboriginal groups for more and more taxpayer monies to fund their new, sovereign, “third order of government” undertakings.

On-reserve Aboriginal society is not liberal. There are no private property rights there. The Canadian Charter of Rights, at the insistence of Aboriginal elites,apparently does not apply on  reserves or “self-governing” Aboriginal “nations.” Aboriginal Canadians do not live in a liberal state of being with the rest of Canadians. This has always violated Canadians’ general instincts and will towards egalitarianism and universalism. The Principles will continue to jar and cross the grain of the Canadian psyche in this regard.

Implementation of the Principles will only increase the already dispiriting civic infantilization of Aboriginal peoples and worsen this civically illiberal situation generally.

In his book The Social Conquest of Earth[x] the late Professor Edward O. Wilson describes the state – the most sophisticated and complex system of human organization – as “the final step in the cultural evolution of societies”, with bands, tribes, village societies and chiefdoms being earlier, precursor, less complex, forms of social organizations.

A key feature of any successful state is a clear system of hierarchical control- “the ordering principle of domestic politics,[xi] with clear and undisputed control exercised at the top of the hierarchy. Professor Wilson writes:

As with complexity of any physical or biological system, the society, in order to achieve stability and survive and not quickly crumble, must add hierarchical control…hierarchies work better than unorganized assemblages (in) that they are easier for their rulers to understand and manage. Put another way, you cannot expect success if assembly-line workers vote at executive conferences or enlisted men plan military campaigns.

The hasty and poorly thought-out enactment of section 35 of the Constitution Act in 1982, followed by the past and tradition-renouncing, radical and revolutionary interpretation of it in subsequent decades by the Supreme Court of Canada in cases such as Haida Nation (above), has already seriously damaged the traditional dual political hierarchy that worked so well for Canada during its first 150 years of existence. These changesin relation to which the Canadian people were never consulted, have resulted in there now arguably being already, in the absence of the Principles, three founts of constitutional sovereignty in the country; the original two, being the federal government and the provinces, and now a third: the “aboriginal peoples” referred to in section 35.

The implementation of the Principles will make this proposition not merely arguable. It will make it an established fact.

Aboriginal “nations”, as “nations”, should have no partin the exercise of Canada’s sovereign rights to make its own laws. The Canadian people know this. They know what those behind the Principles appear to no longer know: i.e., the buck has to stop somewhere for our Canadian state to work properly. That somewhere must only be the federal and provincial governments.

The very existence of the Principles demonstrates that our “best and brightest” no longer understand or believe in the value of a strong state or in what it represents: a strong, sovereign and unified province or country, where everyone is equal under the law, with our Crown governments representing and embodying that unity and strength, and best able to preserve and advance the general welfare.

The rule of law depends upon the existence of a strong, indisputably sovereign state to create and uphold it. The Principles, setting out inexplicable government policy to weaken and fragment its own sovereignty, reflect a retreat from this core Western value and truth. The Principles eschew the ages-old verity that without the rule of law, which creates stable and predictable order, there is physical, economic and moral danger. 

The Principles, by setting out government policy to create from 60 to 80 new, virtually co-equal Indigenous jurisdictions, and thus not just to fragment the power of the Canadian state, but to shatter it, eschew the truth that “liberal ideals cannot survive without power, and that power requires careful upkeep.”[xii]

The Principles are at odds with the beliefs and values of the vast majority of ordinary Canadians who, in this increasingly complex, uncertain, technology-based world, where the problems inherent in it have to be regulated and dealt with by strong central powers, and where Canadians are becoming increasingly vulnerable to all kinds of negative, global forces, fear and disagree with the handing back of state power to numerous small, scattered, poorly governed, self-seeking, technically illiterate, Indigenous “nations”.  

Ordinary Canadians sense what our political and other elite classes don’t, that is, that we are going socially, culturally, economically, and politically backwards, and that this illiberal weakening of Crown sovereignty, which will be the main, profound consequence of the implementation of the Principles, can only accelerate these negative trends.

The jurisprudence and legislation devolving constitutional sovereignty to Aboriginal peoples, and our political classes endorsement and even support for the extension of it, as evidenced by the Principles, represents a full frontal assault against the system of state-maintaining hierarchy which Professor Wilson suggests must be present for a democracy and a healthy economy to function properly.

The Principles exalt group rights based on race. They diminish Crown sovereignty, the fount and guardian of our democracy, our property rights and of the rule of law – the latter themselves the basis of a superior economic system which has provided so well for us. The Principles illiberally attack and diminish our democracy- our very civilization itself.

The people behind or who are supportive of the Principles have eschewed the liberal habits of mind of ordinary Canadians. For them:

…the divergence between facts…and the premises, theories and hypotheses according to which decisions were finally made is total…The internal world of government, with its bureaucracy on the one hand, its social life on the other, made self-deception relatively easy. No Ivory Tower of the scholars has ever better prepared the mind for ignoring the facts of life.

As with bureaucrat  Mr. Joe Wild’s, “journey of deconstructing colonialism”, (headnote above), and as with the many similar irrational, vacuous, largely thought-killing phrases and abstractions in the Principles-“nation-to-nation, government-to-government”, “legal orders of Indigenous nations”, “Indigenous jurisdiction and laws”, (and “space” for the operation thereof), “colonial systems of governance and administration”, “free, prior and informed consent”, Indigenous peoples’ “traditional economies”-now being enthusiastically touted by the Principles, as if they were objectively real and realistic:

Their rigorous methods of defactualization…dealing with hypotheses and mere “theories” as though they were established facts…the inability or unwillingness to consult experience and to learn from reality…because disregard of reality was inherent in the policies and goals themselves.”[xiii]

The people behind or supportive of the Principles appear to unthinkingly assume that some of the fundamental things about our Canadian civilization that we take for granted – our physical infrastructure and our laws and systems of general physical, legal and economic security and well-being – the creation of which would not have beenpossible except under the aegis of a strong, healthy, hierarchical and active regulatory state supported by the strongest and widest revenue base possible – always existed and somehow always will.

They don’t seem to appreciate that these things, which, as stated, make up the overwhelmingly positive legacy of “colonialism” – and our modern social welfare state itself are actually very recent, unusual and delicate things – the result of hundreds of years of “Eurocentric” Enlightenment thinking and often just plain lucky, state-building events, personalities and circumstances – and that unless they are constantly and consciously defended and nurtured, which the Principles plainly fail to dothey can easily be lost.

We pity and decry “failed states,” characterized by weak government authority, yet that is the direction towards which our political and other elite classes are permitting section 35, its radical and revolutionary juridical interpretations, and now the Principles, to push Canada.

Canada might not even exist today if the Principles had represented the state of the law in the early decades of our national existence.  Nothing could have gotten built – no railways, highways, dams, airports – nothing.  Everything would have gotten bogged down in go-nowhere consult and accommodate, Aboriginal title and other such multi-jurisdictional disputes.

It was strong, sovereign governments that rescued capitalism after the Great Depression of 1929. It was to governments that people turned in 2008 to be rescued from the financial collapses that the wretched excesses of immense private wealth and global, transnational capitalism had wrought. It’s to governments that people always turn in times of ultimate need.

Even Aboriginal “nations” now, as they carry on about being “sovereign” and “self-governing” keep their hands outstretched to our governments for Canadian taxpayer help with their water, housing and social problems and for more Canadian taxpayer money to fund their so-called “sovereign” undertakings.

We, as a society, cannot lose sight of the need for strong, well-funded, totally sovereign, central governments, as our higher courts and a disturbingly large segment of our political and other elite classes have done, as evidenced by the Principles.

We can no longer permit our shallow, ahistorical politicians to debase and fritter away the concept and reality of necessary Crown sovereignty by pretending that small Indigenous “nations” are politically and constitutionally, or in any other way, co-equal “governments” which could ever treat on an equal basis with the legitimate, duly elected governments of Canada.[1]

In this new and uncertain world, where a strong and benevolent state can be our only “friend” with sufficient size and resources to meaningfully help us cope, it’s unnerving and dispiriting to see our political classes permit parochial Aboriginal interests to trump public goals and obscure the public good -to watch any part of the Canadian state be diminished and, not only that, to see it act so willingly as a co-enabler in its own diminishment.

Canadians desperately need our political classes to come back into the fold and once again assume their traditional roles of competent and responsible stewards and defenders of laws, practices and constitutional values that, as stated, have made Canada a model of liberal excellence for the whole world.

Our political and other elite classes need to come back from the ahistorical, illiberal, sovereignty-diminishing fantasyland, of which the Principles are a prime example, where they are now intellectually residing, and resume their traditional, liberal stewardship roles, by actively promoting the restoration of full Canadian Crown sovereignty to the pre-eminent and beneficial state it was in before the passage of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the harmful jurisprudence, legislation and government policies, such as the Principles, which have emanated from it.

Nelson Mandela said that the very first step on the road to reconciliation is the complete dismantling of apartheid and all the measures used to enforce it.

The Principles represent only the latest iteration of Canada’s benignly racist, quasi-apartheid, constitutional and legislative, anti-reconciliation regime that so harms all Canadians, particularly Aboriginal Canadians.

 Only by rejecting the Principles and all the laws and policies upon which they are based will Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians ever achieve true, meaningful reconciliation.

Peter Best

Lawyer, Sudbury,

December 14, 2022



[i] From Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Vintage Books, New York, 1989

[ii] From Reappraisals- Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, Penguin Press, New York, 2008

[iii] From Black Earth-The Holocaust as History and Warning, Tim Duggan Books, 2015

[iv] Part of a speech the writer was in attendance for, entitled Advancing Reconciliation Through Partnership with Indigenous Peoples, St. Lawrence Club and Conference Centre, Toronto, November 30, 2016

[v] From his novel Barney’s Version, quoted in Mordecai Richler Was Here- Selected Writings, Madison Press Books, Toronto, 2006

[vi] In Canadian Lawyer Magazine, July 2014

[vii] Gordon Gibson, A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy; Respect the Collective-Promote the Individual, Fraser Institute, 2009

[viii] “In tragic life…No villain need be: Passion spills out the plot.”- English novelist George Meredith, quoted in Alexander Solzhenitsyn- A Century in his Life, by D.M. Thomas, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1998

[ix] Penguin Books Ltd, 2004 (First published in 1790)

[x] Liveright Publishing, New York, 2012

[xi] Robert Kaplan, The Return of Marco Polo’s World, Penguin Random House, 2019

[xii] Robert Kaplan, ibid.

[xiii] Hannah Arendt, from her essay, Lying in Politics, contained in Crises of the Republic, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1972, Arendt referring to America’s “best and brightest” who, knowing America couldn’t win in Viet Nam, in order to preserve their careers, advised their superiors to the contrary.

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