The Trudeau Government’s UNDRIP-based Action Plan for the Destruction of the Canadian State

The constituent parts of a state are bound to hold their public faith with each other, and with all those who derive any serious interest under their engagements, as much as the whole state is bound to keep its faith with separate communities. Otherwise, competence and power would soon be confounded, and no law left but the will of a prevailing force…Any society which destroys the fabric of its state, must soon be disconnected into the dust and powder of individuality. -Edmund Burke[i]

The state puts a wedge between us and instincts like tribalism and personal vengeance. The state exists for a reason, and reason benefits from the state. It’s a virtuous circle that’s threatening to unravel. -Ivor Tossel[ii]

Lost was Lord Selbourne’s early insight that a race society as a way of life was unprecedented. – Hannah Arendt[iii]

Mankind can only be realized in the complete multitude of a genuine equal plurality of peoples. Hannah Arendt[iv]

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Background

Since it’s election in 2015 the Trudeau government has devoted itself to weakening and dividing Canada, by granting excessive monies, powers and privileges to Aboriginal interests.

In 2015 it stopped enforcing the requirement in the First Nations Financial Transparency Act that First Nations must publish their audited financial statements every year.

In 2019, formalizing a practise that began in 2017, it released Indigenous Attorney General Jody Wilson Raybould’s Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples, mandating in essence that the government surrender in virtually every aboriginal lawsuit brought against it, and settle each case overly generously with the aboriginal litigant. In many of these lawsuits the government improperly waived the government core policy immunity principle.

In 2021 it released a policy paper, Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples, (“Trudeau’s Principles”), the gist of which is that to achieve “reconciliation” between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, the federal government’s formal policy in this regard is to devolve big jurisdictional chunks of its sovereignty and powers to 60 to 80 as-yet undefined, semi-independent aboriginal “nations”, with the intention of making those “nations” a de facto third order of constitutional government, sharing sovereign powers with the federal and provincial governments.

Also in 2021, the federal government passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, (the “UN Declaration Act”), to create a framework to advance the implementation into Canadian law of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, (UNDRIP), and Trudeau’s Principles.

By 2023 this “framework” had been completed, and on June 21, 2023, issued from “Unceded Algonquin Traditional Territory, Ottawa”, the federal government, by a news release, published its UN Declaration “Action Plan”, “to provide a roadmap for the implementation and achievement of the objectives of the UN Declaration Act, (together these and related federal government initiatives are hereinafter sometimes called “Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies”.)

Warning to Reader

My ensuing, relatively long argument against Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies lacks the “rhetorical energy and brio” of the grievance, guilt and social justice-infused lamentations and accusations of the proponents of these laws and policies. Unfortunately, my argument “can only be put forward with empirical caution. The tortoise is not merely a slow runner, but an ugly one”.[v] And I care about this serious subject so much that I’m forced to be possibly boring about it.[vi] I beg your beg indulgence.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are extremely harmful to Canada.

The Action Plan is a concerted, extensive plan, based on UNDRIP, the UN Declaration Act and Trudeau’s Principles, to eviscerate the sole, sovereign power of the elected Canadian Parliament to make laws, as it sees fit, for the benefit of all Canadians as a whole.  

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies constitute a reckless, foolhardy, gravely harmful, and benignly and unintentionally racist attack against Canadian Crown sovereignty, which is embodied in the form of the Canadian State, the powers of which are exercised, and which should only be exercised, by Canada’s elected legislatures.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies make up a roadmap all right, but the road they chart leads straight to Canadian constitutional, legal, economic and social perdition: especially, according to respected and experienced Ottawa writer Colin Alexander, apartheid-like economic and social perdition for indigenous youth. Mr. Alexander writes that UNDRIP is “a death sentence for Indigenous youth… It sets out a policy for the perpetual misery and marginalization of a burgeoning Indigenous underclass”.

Historian Simon Schama, echoing political philosopher Edmund Burke, (above), writes[vii] that a government’s most basic function is the protection of its sovereignty.”

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies seriously impair Canadian State sovereignty.

Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder warns[viii] that:

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 the fruits of long and quiet effort. It is tempting but dangerous to fragment the State. (Italics added.)

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies fully and fatally embrace that dangerous temptation.

The political philosopher Edmund Burke warns us in his classic work, Reflections on the Revolution in France,[ix] to exercise “infinite caution” in weakening the sovereignty of the State where it “has answered in any tolerable degree the common purposes of society”.

The Canadian State, collectively our federal and provincial and, more recently, our territorial governments, has well served the common purposes of Canadians for over 150 years. Under our dual federal-provincial constitutional system Canada has become a prosperous and liberal country: the envy of others and a magnet for immigrants. According to Burke, “good comes from good”.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies recklessly and irresponsibly purport to “fix” our national good, that isn’t broken, by, in a de facto manner, purporting to create a third fount of constitutional sovereignty: “indigenous peoples,” and giving them the right to make their own laws, applicable only to themselves, which will inevitably come into conflict with Canadian laws. The breakage these UNDRIP laws and policies will cause to our national good will be irreparable.

 Ivor Tossel (above) reminds us that the State, the guarantor of the rule of law, puts a wedge between us and instincts like tribalism and lawlessness.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies, involving a massive transformation, based on race, of how the Canadian State will function, will harm the rule of law, and thus exacerbate tribalism and all other such dark and illiberal instincts and behaviours which our traditionally race-free laws and traditions have substantially fenced in.

The Canadian State is the sole grantor and protector of citizens’ rights. It’s the guarantor of the proper workings of the marketplace, and thus of our economy.

The Canadian State, with a fulsome, secure and unchallenged tax revenue stream, is the provider of all the programs and services that decency towards our fellow citizens compels us all to provide to one another.

The Canadian State is the only backstop that individual Canadians have against the negative effects in Canada of vast and indifferent global economic and political forces.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies threaten all of this and more.

UNDRIP’s serious flaws

UNDRIP, the foundation of the UN Declaration Act and the Action Plan, is such a flawed document that Canada voted against it when the United Nations passed it in 2007.

 It contains serious flaws, only some of which are as follows:

-Whoever “indigenous peoples” are, it falsely presumes that they are innately different human beings than non-indigenous peoples, thus violating the fundamental liberal, Enlightenment civic/religious principle that all men are innately equal and should be regarded as equals in the eyes of the law and of God.

In Canada, section 35 of the Constitution calls them “aboriginal peoples” and denotes them as “Indian, Inuit and Metis” Canadians. Confusingly, the Action Plan uses both uncapitalized “indigenous” and capitalized “Indigenous”, and the writer will reluctantly follow along with the Action Plan on that.

The idea of “innate” human differences and the “innate personality”, given by accidental birth and not acquired by merit, is, according to the eminent political theoretician, Hannah Arendt, fundamental to racism.[x]

-It’s a template for making Canada a permanent race society, something that, as reflected by Hannah Arendt in the headnote, above, was historically unprecedented in the West until conjured up by race theorists in the nineteenth century.

-It falsely declares in effect that indigenous peoples are in a legal “partnership” with their nation state, and are thus co-equal to it, rather than simply being citizens of it and thus subservient to it. Thus, it rejects Canadian history and violates the principle of hierarchy, “the ordering principle of domestic politics”[xi].

-It ignores history and current political and legal conditions within nation states by declaring that all indigenous peoples living in nation states, in addition to their individual citizenship rights, have separate and distinct collective rights arising solely and automatically from the accidental fact of their indigeneity.  It declares by implication that non-Indigenous peoples living within nation states do not possess such collective rights. Thus, it creates an unequal, two-tier system of ever-conflicting rights within nation states, based solely on race.

-It declares that the collective rights of indigenous people in a nation state are not created by the laws of the nation state, but rather are “inherent”, and thus are not subject to regulation or control by the nation state.

-It declares that highly complex, nuanced and contextual matters relating to “colonization” and alleged “dispossession of lands, territories and resources” to be blameworthy (towards the nation state) matters of historical fact, when they are not.

-It falsely declares, benignly employing the language of racism, that indigenous peoples within a nation state have separate and distinct political, economic and social structures and cultures, and have the legal right to exist as separate legal and societal entities within the nation state, existing parallel to the nation state’s non-Indigenous citizenry, and only optionally subject to the general laws, customs and mores of the nation state. Thus, it threatens the existence of the protective common civic world that the rule of law in a nation state guarantees.

-Similarly, it declares that indigenous peoples have the right, where they previously existed, to their own juridical systems or customs, thus fragmenting this protective common civic world that the rule of law guarantees, by creating a perpetual, domestic conflict of laws situation in the nation state. This latter, inevitable, conflicts problem is even now manifesting itself in the negotiation of the terms of a proposed self-government Indigenous policing agreement with Ottawa.

-It declares that the nation state has the positive obligation to finance these parallel, race-based legal and societal entities and all their declared rights. In Canada’s case, like Stalin’s 1930s plans for re-engineering Russia and the Russian soul, the Action Plan is a five-year plan (2023-2028). During this Brave New World-creating period the Action Plan obligates Ottawa “to provide funding to support indigenous participation in the various implementation, monitoring and oversight processes” described in it.

-It declares that indigenous peoples, exercising their alleged right of self-determination, can self-determine the nature of their political rights and their involvement in the affairs of the nation state. In addition to claiming their collective rights they, at their discretion, can claim all individual rights of citizenship while at the same time freely disclaiming all the necessary, corresponding duties of citizenship.

In Canada, indigenous peoples are to be granted great, new powers, but without any corresponding citizenship duties owed to Canada in relation to the exercise of them. Hannah Arendt writes of the divisive social disconnect this causes:

 “Aloof power without civic function or responsibility is felt to be parasitical because such a condition cuts the threads which tie men together.”[xii]

Ms. Arendt also reminds us that “the state knows only citizens no matter of what nationality; its legal order is open to all who happen to live on its territory”.[xiii]

To the extent that Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies diminish the idea of indigenous peoples as full, equal citizens of Canada, (which concept must have the idea of corresponding citizenship duties owed to the Canadian State), the risk is created of some future federal government, resentful of indigenous peoples claiming citizenship rights but eschewing corresponding citizenship responsibilities, using that against the interests of indigenous peoples. It’s a double-edged sword.

Having citizenship rights without civic function or responsibility keeps indigenous Canadians in a civically infantile state, and, like power without civic function or responsibility,  is felt to be parasitical.

-It declares that indigenous peoples own and/or control undefined “lands, territories and resources”, which are already legally owned and controlled by the nation state itself, or by non-Indigenous citizens of the nation state, thus creating a perpetual, race-based conflict of property rights.

-It declares positive obligations on nation states to improve all aspects of the lives of indigenous peoples but declares no such positive State obligation in relation to non-Indigenous peoples, thus creating, again, a situation of permanent, structural, racial inequality in nation states.

-It declares that nation states must obtain the free and informed consent of indigenous peoples prior to the approval of any proposed, non-indigenous, mineral, water or other resource project affecting their (undefined) lands or territories or other resources.

One can see why Canada voted against UNDRIP in 2007. It’s implementation here will weaken our country, perhaps to the point of destroying it.

UNDRIP laws and policies give aid and comfort to China.

One can see why the cynical, perpetual, human rights abuser, Communist China, a large part of whose foreign policy is devoted to undermining and interfering in Western liberal democracies, voted for it.

China of course, when they voted for it, had no intention of complying with it, but the hard men who run that country clearly and coldly saw how it could be used to further their adversary-destabilizing foreign policy.

For example, the Canadian Parliament’s recent groundless and national self-abasing resolution to the effect that Canada committed genocide against its indigenous peoples, based on wilful State self-emasculation that is inherent to Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies, is effectively being used by China to deflect criticism of its actual genocidal policies towards their Uyghur peoples. This is a prime example of what a cynical, realpolitik matter it was for China, and many other such serial human rights abusers, to vote for UNDRIP, and a prime illustration of the consequences of the painful and dangerous stupidity of the Trudeau government’s reversal of the Harper government’s right and proper rejection of it.

It was China that, in June of 2021, called for a UN investigation into human rights violations against Canada’s indigenous peoples, just before Canadian officials read a statement to allow the UN into Xinjiang to investigate the unlawful detention of over one million Uyghur Muslims.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are gifts from the Panglossian Trudeau government to Communist China and other foreign outlaws like Russia.

Just as the Trudeau government acquiesced and shamefully continues to acquiesce in China’s interference in Canada’s internal affairs, so it plays into China’s hands by relinquishing sole, democratic State control of its internal affairs in favour of destabilizing, race-based, internal, indigenous power and money interests.

Timothy Cheek, director of the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, described the Canadian government’s casual attitude to the real risks China poses to Canada’s sovereignty and other core interests as “privileged” and “stupid.”[xiv]

The same adjectives apply to Trudeau’s China-friendly UNDRIP laws and policies: privileged and stupid.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies deny Canadians’ common humanity.

Hannah Arendt, with the racist horrors of Nazism fresh in her mind, wrote that “the doctrine of race denies the very possibility of a common humanity”.[xv]

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies enshrine and institutionalize the doctrine of race, by positing the creation of permanent, separate, race societies within the Canadian nation state- race-based, totally dependent mini-states existing within the larger Canadian nation state- the former financed by the latter. Reflecting a conspicuous disdain of the whole texture of reality,[xvi]they’re a civically immoral recipe for legal chaos, grave economic harm and social division.

Surprisingly, UNDRIP indirectly acknowledges and addresses this, but this indirect acknowledgment has been wilfully ignored by the Trudeau government.

Article 46 of UNDRIP states in part:

Nothing in the Declaration may be…construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.

Of course, Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies do just that, and more, giving rise to the question:

Can the reader think of any other country in the world where a national government so deliberately and ruinously emasculates itself?

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies entrench and expand UNDRIP.

The Action Plan takes UNDRIP and vastly expands and particularizes it to Canada.  It is a 72-page document containing over a hundred provisions, all designed to augment the legal power of “Indigenous peoples”, who make up only 5% of the Canadian population, at the expense of the proper and efficient workings of the Canadian State, and at the expense of the valid concerns and rights of Canada’s non-indigenous peoples.

The Action Plan is surely an extreme example of the proposed tyranny by the elites of a small racial minority over a large, racially heterogenous majority:  a recipe for profound, amygdala-inflaming, racial resentment and division; the opposite of what is required for any kind of “reconciliation” with indigenous peoples.

The Action Plan defies complete analysis in an article of this sort. It’s a shocking, jaw-dropping, dizzying, incoherent, unreal confection of utopian abstractions. It is intended to pervade and transform every Ministry and Department of the federal government and all the agencies below them.

It declares the government’s intention to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP, and will create a Canada where:

“Respect for indigenous rights is systematically embedded in federal laws and policies developed in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples affected by them”. (Italics added.)

The Action Plan flies in the face of human nature and historical experience. Not only are its facts all wrong, but the assumptions underlying its factual assertions are wrong. This writer, in order to give the reader a sense of the whole of this almost analysis-defying, thousand-headed Hydra, can only highlight certain representative provisions in it. The reader is urged to read the whole document in order to realize the full sense of what a pulverizing, political, economic and social disaster it is for Canada.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies purport to make indigenous peoples partners with, not subjects of, the Canadian State.

In the Introduction it states that the Action Plan was “co-developed” with the Trudeau government’s “indigenous partners”. This, jettisoning the principle of hierarchy, is like putting the fox in charge of developing a security plan for the hen house.

The over 600 relatively tiny Indian and Inuit bands were never “partners” with the Crown- now the Canadian State. Most of the Crown-indigenous treaties explicitly make this clear. For instance, Treaty 6, made in 1876, refers to the Indian treaty signers as the Crown’s Indian “subjects”, clearly denoting their subservient and subordinate status. In this treaty, considered “sacred” according to all, the Indians promised “to conduct themselves as good and loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen.”

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies will result in the loss of indigenous peoples’ civil liberties.

The Action Plan falsely equates “indigenous rights” with “human rights.” This is an attempt on the part of Ottawa and its indigenous elite “partners” to leverage up recent, highly contested, vague and controversial indigenous “collective rights” to the status of long-recognized and accepted, statute-created, individual rights.

It’s also completely hypocritical, because the official position of most indigenous elites, acquiesced in by the Trudeau government, is that indigenous collective rights are superior to individual human rights, and that where there is a conflict, indigenous collective rights prevail. For instance, indigenous elites take the position that, at their option, the operation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be suspended on Indian reserves.

Thus, adoption of Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies will create numerous permanent areas of race-based Charter of Rights-free zones across Canada.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are based on false assumptions.

The Action Plan says that one of its purposes is to address the “grave harms against indigenous peoples committed as part of settler colonialism.”

There were very, very few grave harms intentionally perpetrated against indigenous peoples by our non-indigenous ancestors.

This is a blood libel against them, and as such, is a terrible and insulting ideological foundation upon which to fundamentally re-organize Canada. New laws fundamentally changing how our country is going to work cannot be based on a blood libel.

In fact, relative to the cruel norms of world history, our ancestors acted decently and conscientiously towards the indigenous peoples of their day, certainly in a better fashion than indigenous peoples treated each other at the time. Our ancestors deserve our pride and respect, not this historically ignorant denigration.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are filled with references to “the inherent rights of indigenous peoples”, as if they owe their origin to a deity, to nature or to some other non-human source.

Indigenous people have no inherent rights. Nobody does.

No rights are “inherent”.

Rights are only rights if they are created by a State and enforceable through State-constructed institutions in accordance with State-constructed procedures.

Hannah Arendt:

So much was law thought to be something erected and laid down by men without any transcendent authority or source that pre-Socratic philosophy, when it proposed to distinguish all things by asking whether they owe their origin to men or are through themselves what they are, introduced the terms nomo and physei, by law or nature. Thus, the order of the universe, the kosmos of natural things, was differentiated from the world of human affairs, whose order was laid down by men since it is an order of things made and done by men.[xvii]

All laws creating rights can only be brought into existence by men and women in organized society.

The Action Plan contains many “inspiring vision statements from indigenous partners”.

An Indigenous Yukon lawyer is quoted. He writes in part:

 “Reconciliation requires Canadians to make amends for historical injustices that continue to hinder the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.”

No, the well-being of indigenous peoples will only be furthered by repealing section 35 of the Constitution and ending the apartheid-like reserve system, the two major hindrances to the well-being of indigenous peoples.

Tragically, the Action Plan will only further strengthen and entrench them.

Canadians have mastered their task of making amends to indigenous peoples and deserve to be set free from it.

As of 2023 Canada has paid about $60 billion in “amends” payments to indigenous peoples.[xviii] With apologies having been given and that kind of money paid out, that is enough. Canadians have “mastered their task” in this regard, (see below), assuming there ever was one, and now deserve to be set free from it.

Dealing with the past, for individuals and societies, is always a balancing act. It should never be forgotten or distorted. On the other hand, it should never be clung to and dealt with to the obsessive extent that it distorts the present and constricts and hampers adaptive and ameliorative conduct directed towards the future.

In relation to Canada, as aboriginal writer Calvin Helin wrote in his book, Dances with Dependency[xix]:

The current problem is that many indigenous leaders still seem to be stuck in grieving mode when the time to move on has already come and gone.

The problem with always looking back is that there is nothing we can do about what has already happened. How can the constructive future of indigenous nations be founded on festering grievances of the past? Should we not be focussing on positive, forward-looking solutions to a new polity, a new economy, rather than being anchored entirely in rancorous injustices of the past (no matter how justified such views are)? How is dwelling on historical injustices going to lift indigenous peoples out of the morass of social and political pathologies? Memories of (past) government duplicity are distant history to today’s youth who see only a systemic treadmill of misery with little hope of reform.

We should be asking, “What pragmatic steps can we take now to make the lives of ordinary indigenous peoples better”? It should be obvious that we must begin moving forward and start looking for real solutions. To paraphrase Bill Wilson, (the father of the endlessly grieving Jody Wilson Raybould– writer), the result of simply continuing to seek blame is that we continue to “wallow in the puke of our own suffering.”

The relationship of Canada’s indigenous peoples to their past is out of balance. They are prisoners of it, and Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are sure to keep us all perpetual prisoners of it, just as they are sure to do nothing to make the tragic, perpetual underclass lives of the majority of marginalized indigenous peoples better.

A person can never really reach a state of adult maturity until he stops laying sole blame on his parents for how he turned out as an adult – starts to see his parents as only human – tries to forgive them for their feet of clay, just as he begins to realize that his feet are made of the same thing – and then undertakes the task of taking responsibility for himself.

It’s harmful for indigenous elites, and for our governing classes, led by Trudeau and his UNDRIP laws and policies, to be still stoking such a strong sense of present grievance and anger in relation to events that happened to indigenous peoples in their now long-distant past.

And going into the vast, limitless Canadian future, does it make sense that a hundred or five hundred years from now, as Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies contemplate, indigenous peoples should still be grieving to the rest of Canada about events which occurred in the 1700’s and 1800’s? It would be like France still nursing a grudge against Italy for Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, or England still harping at France over the Norman Conquest.

At some point in time what happened in the past has to become dispassionate history.

The German writer Bernhard Schlink dealt with this issue, as it applies to his country, in his book Guilt About the Past.[xx]

No country in the modern age, perhaps in all of history, has more to be ashamed of than Germany. It had no “excuse” for what it did. It was a cultured, highly developed, middle class, bourgeois society. Its descent into the most frenzied and barbaric form of evil will always remain one of the most troubling, seemingly inexplicable, questions of history, not least because of what it chillingly tells us what profound abysses are rooted in the human psyche- what so-called modern and “civilized” humans are still capable of doing.

But notwithstanding that it happened, life, resilient life, for both the perpetrators and the victims, has still had to go on. And, remarkably, after only three generations, on both sides, it basically has.

Should today’s Germans, now two or three or even four generations now down the line, still be forced or expected to bear the cross of guilt everywhere they go? Should they still be expected to show daily penitence to the Jews, and to the world generally, for what their ancestors did? Should today’s Jews, particularly Jews of Israel, still define their approach and outlook towards the world primarily with reference to the Holocaust?

Mr. Schlink, in relation to Germany, answers somewhere in the middle. He says that the past must still and always be learned and fully understood by Germans, (I’d say this should be the case for Germany, for at least Hitler’s proverbial thousand years), but then, once “mastered,” Germans should expect the right to be “set free” from it.

As he writes:

The longer we live with the idea that the past is something that we can and must come to terms with, the more paradoxical this proves to be. “Bewaltigen,” which is probably translated most closely as “to master” in the original and correct sense of the word, applies to a task; it stands before us, we set to work on it, and finally it is finished and mastered. Then we are done with it. The thought that the past could and should be mastered contains not only the yearning for freedom from it; it even asserts an entitlement to such an end. As with every task, whoever works hard at it expects that the task will eventually be completed, and then demands to be released from duty once the task is finished. Whoever vigorously applies him- or herself to the work of commemorative remembrance wishes to held captive to the past no more.

This German tragedy- mainly self-induced- was a million times worse than anything that happened to Canada’s indigenous peoples, and after only three generations, we can say that Germans, and their victims, the Jews, have processed it as well as possible.

They have both mastered their task, and so have freed themselves to move on into the future, looking mainly ahead, and without being unduly burdened by their tragic pasts.

To the shame of our indigenous and non-indigenous elites, as exemplified by the government -approved Yukon lawyer’s call for more “amends”, we can’t say that about Canada’s indigenous peoples.

And, with the Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies in place, Canadians in general will never be able to say that we have mastered our task.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies foretell an unworkable profusion of Potemkin-like indigenous mini-nations within Canada.

Another “inspiring vision statement” quoted approvingly in the Action Plan is that of the Shoal Lake Cree Nation, part of which is as follows:

Canada’s implementation of UNDRIP boasts efforts to reinvigorate and invigorate self-governance. In our view doing so requires the co-development of Nation-to-Nation mechanisms, including the recognition of Indigenous laws and jurisdiction, enforcement and affirmation of Indigenous governance models and laws.

The Action Plan, under the heading “Self-determination, self-government and recognition of treaties”, adopts this “vision”. It says:

“Legal pluralism in Canada recognizes and reflects Indigenous legal orders. Recognition of the inherent jurisdiction and legal orders of indigenous nations is therefore the starting point of discussions aimed at interactions between federal, provincial, territorial and indigenous jurisdictions and laws.”

This is totally fallacious. Indigenous 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 Action Plan in this regard presages a mere Potemkin village form of independence and self-governance, which will enrich indigenous elites and their outside technocratic supporters, and tragically will only continue the already entrenched social and material impoverishment of the vast majority of marginalized, vulnerable, powerless indigenous Canadians.

“Jurisdiction” means the official power to make legal decisions and judgments in relation to events that occur in a specific territory or sphere. What possible indigenous “jurisdiction” is being referred to by the Shoal Lake statement and the Action Plan? Is every First Nation to be a “jurisdiction”? That would result in over 600 separate First Nations “jurisdictions”. Will each tiny one have their own legislature and court system? Which of these many jurisdictions would prevail in the inevitable event of a conflict of laws?

To merely pose these questions is to demonstrate the impossibility and absurdity of these Action Plan “visions”.

The actual, constitutionally established jurisdictions of the provinces and territories of Canada would be profoundly affected by this Action Plan gibberish. Yet there’s no indication that they have been consulted or that their interests have even been taken into account.

And contrary to the Action Plan, just as there has never been anything like an indigenous “jurisdiction”, and never practically can be, there have never been “indigenous laws” in anything like the normal sense in which we think of laws, nor practically, can there ever be. “Indigenous laws” is largely a self-serving  mythological concept.

The liberal ideals that underlie the Canadian State cannot survive without sole, sovereign State power, (subject to the Constitution), and that power requires careful preservation and upkeep.[xxi]

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies undermine and weaken Canada’s liberal ideals.

There has only been, and, for Canada to function as a liberal country, there can only be, Canadian laws.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies inappropriately import personal and social elements into Canada’s constitutional and governance order.

The intellectually infantile nature of the Action Plan is exemplified by its declared intention to be “inclusive and intersectional”.

This reflects the Trudeau government’s unpopular post-national vision of Canada, not as a community of citizens inhabiting a common civic world, but rather as a motley, Tower of Babel collection of tiny subsets of various sexual, racial and other demographic groups. As the Action Plan declares:

The work of implementing the UN Declaration must also ensure, in all aspects and at all stages, the intentional and meaningful inclusion of First Nations, Inuit and Metis, Elders, youth, children, women, men, persons with disabilities, gender-diverse people and two-spirited individuals, as well as those residing in urban/off reserve areas. The specific needs, experiences, identities, abilities and knowledge of these populations will be respected and taken into consideration with the aid of an inclusive and intersectional approach that considers the principles of gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) as well as the social determinants of intersecting identities.

This is more “post-national” madness in action.

And this madness, given the name “indigenous rights” in the Action Plan, as the Plan declares, will be “systemically embedded in federal laws and policies developed in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples affected by them”.

To better lock in this embedding, the federal government has amended the federal Interpretation Act to direct Judges interpreting the law in indigenous rights cases to, when in doubt, err on the side of the indigenous interest and against the interests of non-indigenous Canadians.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are a mortal threat to Canada’s economy.

The combination of the passage of section 35 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s Haida Nation decision interpreting it, granting to First Nations the constitutional right to be consulted and accommodated in relation to all new proposed resource projects in Canada, has delivered a mortal blow to our natural resource industry sector. Every new project is now met with outrageous First Nations danegeld demands.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies will deliver the coup de grace to Canada’s natural resource industry sector.

Under the heading Lands, territories and resources the Action Plan declares that indigenous peoples have the right to own and control lands and resources within their territories. “Territories” is not defined, so it can be assumed, as experience is showing, that this means all of Canada.

It goes on to declare that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples must be obtained “prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.”

In all its decisions expanding indigenous rights the Supreme Court of Canada was always careful to say that they weren’t granting First Nations a veto on resource development. Notwithstanding this, the practical effects of their decisions were such that it has become reasonable to say that First Nations have a de facto veto.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies would expand this by expressly giving indigenous peoples a legal veto.

To put a lock on this incredible, economy-destroying truth, the Action Plan declares that measures will be taken to enable indigenous peoples to “exercise federal regulatory authority” in respect of oil and gas pipelines and other federally regulated natural resource projects, such as projects and licenses relating to the ocean fishery.

The foxes are not just in charge of the security of the hen house, Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies would have them move into it.

(As to the fishery, continuing with its theme of baselessly denigrating Canada and non-indigenous Canadians, the Action Plan proposes to “establish mechanisms and processes to address systemic racism in the enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations”!)

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies ignore provincial rights.

All of Canada’s “lands, territories and resources” were either ceded to Canada by treaties or otherwise de facto “conquered” by occupation, development and control of it by Euro-Canadians.

It is mainly the provinces and territories of Canada which now “own” these lands, territories and resources, not indigenous peoples, and, adding to the air of unreality around all this, as stated, their consent to this clear and massive interference with their constitutional jurisdiction over natural resources has never been sought or obtained.

It is breathtaking how the Action Plan airily elides over this.

The Environment

Under the heading, Environment, the Action Plan, first declaring that “indigenous peoples enjoy the right to a healthy natural environment”, (italics added), then declares that its goal is to ensure a Canada where, with “stable and long-term” Canadian taxpayer financial support, and using their “Indigenous ways of knowing” and “Indigenous science”, which they will “braid and weave” (sic) with western science,  indigenous peoples will fully exercise their “right to self-determination on climate.”

Again, demonstrating the Trudeau government’s obsessive tendency to declare that “systemic racism” is behind everything, the Action Plan then righteously declares that Canada will ensure that certain unnamed “systemic barriers to Indigenous climate “are addressed.

What is a “healthy natural environment? How can anyone be granted a legal right to it, especially one favoured racial minority in the country to the exclusion of everyone else? Who would “indigenous peoples” sue if this purported “right” was breached?

There is no such thing as indigenous “ways of knowing”, or “indigenous science”. These are superstitious, claptrap concepts which should have no place in a government policy document.

Climate change is an existential threat to all of humanity.

Around the globe, species of every kind are dying out…a thousand times faster than before humans arose…No one knows what the cascading effects of these extinctions- the eventual loss of entire ecosystems, like coral reefs-are likely to be. Will Homo Sapiens become extinct as the extinctions caused by our species mount up? No one knows.[xxii]

We humans -all of us, including indigenous peoples- by way of merely living our technology-based lifestyles, in however “green” a fashion, are destroying our human life-supporting ecosystem. This is a pan-human problem, not a race problem, and race should have no part in its solution.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies offend the principle of Parliamentary privilege.

Until now the federal government has consistently maintained the position that while it had the obligation to consult and accommodate First Nations when implementing legislation potentially affecting their aboriginal rights, they had no obligation to consult with them when enacting that legislation. Parliament’s power to make laws, as it saw fit, was supreme. As the Federal Court of Appeal said in the Courtoreille case:[xxiii]

Importing the duty to consult to the legislative process offends the separation of powers doctrine and the principle of parliamentary privilege.

This will be the case no longer, if the Action Plan, which proposes to surrender sole Parliamentary privilege to indigenous peoples, becomes law.

Under the heading Participation in decision-making and indigenous institutions, the Action Plan declares its intent to, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples:

Work with Indigenous partners to ensure (that) co-development of legislation policies, programs, regulations and services furthers the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, led by priorities and strategies determined and developed by indigenous peoples, and that co-development processes result in initiatives that comply with indigenous rights and advance indigenous priorities.

Pierre Trudeau famously said that his view of Confederation involved the Canadian Prime Minister being more than a mere head waiter to the provinces.

His son Justin Trudeau’s view of our Canadian federation going forward, and suffused throughout his UNDRIP laws and policies, is that he, as Canada’s Prime Minister, should be a mere head waiter to indigenous peoples.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies inappropriately make culture a subject of legal rights.

Under the heading Cultural, religious and linguistic rights, the Action Plan sets out the Trudeau government’s goal of establishing a Canada where:

-Indigenous peoples fully and enjoy and exercise their distinct rights to maintain, control, develop, protect and transmit their cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge, languages, food systems, sciences and technologies, without discrimination, and

-Indigenous peoples are thriving, including through connection to culture and community, the use of their languages and the expression of their spiritual heritage.

Pre-contact indigenous culture was paleolithic. The knowledge of that would be their only unique cultural heritage.

Once contact and trade occurred with Europeans, indigenous peoples started a long process of appropriation of Christianity, European goods, technologies and capitalist ways that, by the late 19th century, then capped off with the virtual extinction of the buffalo and the beaver, rendered their pre-contact indigenous culture, including their “indigenous knowledge, languages and food systems”, virtually extinct.

To the extent that indigenous culture per se exists today it is because of this long history of beneficial exchanges with non-indigenous cultures.

To the extent that they ever had “sciences and technologies”, after contact with Europeans, those became highly advanced European sciences and technologies, which they willingly enjoy today and constantly demand more of.

Given that the majority of indigenous peoples religiously identify as Christian, culturally appropriated, European-originated Christianity is a large part of their “spiritual heritage”,

There can be no going back to any part of their pre-contact past, nor would indigenous peoples want to.

History does not turn back. All reinstatements, all restorations, have always been masquerades.[xxiv]

In any event, no one has a “right” to their culture, or to their cultural heritage. It’s like water. You can cup it in your hands for a while, but eventually it slips through your fingers. Every individual’s or group’s culture is ephemeral, intangible, difficult to define and subject to constant change and loss. Indigenous culture, such as it is, is no exception.

Oxford University Professor Nigel Biggar:

“No culture has a moral right to be immune to change, or even to survive.”[xxv]

Publicly financed data will be become subject to “Indigenous Data Sovereignty”.

Connected with the Action Plan’s intention to preserve and enhance indigenous peoples supposed “right” to their culture, is the Action Plan’s declared intention:

…to support Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Indigenous-led data strategies through legislative, regulatory and policy options to help ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Metis have the sufficient, sustainable data capacity they need to control, manage and protect their data to deliver effective services to their peoples, tell their own stories, participate in federal decision-making processes that impact them, and realize their respective visions for self-determination… This will support indigenous jurisdiction over their data… (Italics added)

This contemplates the Canadian taxpayer paying for the collection of data relating to “indigenous peoples”, who are citizens of Canada, and then turning over control- “jurisdiction”- and ownership of that data to indigenous elites, and thus losing the right to public access to it. Canadians are to pay for this Canadian citizens-related data but are not to have any guaranteed right to access to it. In addition, it will assuredly happen that indigenous elites, relying on this new “jurisdiction”, will, for their own selfish and bad faith purposes, arbitrarily deny Canadians access to this data.

Congratulations to the Trudeau government for elevating 19th century apartheid principles into the 21st century internet age!

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are a continuation of a failed strategy to improve the lives of indigenous peoples.

In 2016 this writer attended a conference on indigenous law in Toronto. Various experts in indigenous matters gave addresses.

Mr. Joe Wild, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, as he then was, in a passionate and well-meaning address, in the midst of declaiming on behalf of the federal government that Canadians must “respect UNDRIP” and “respect the bargain that is section 35” on Canada’s collective, so-called “journey of deconstructing colonialism”, and that “reconciliation is a process, not an event”, in a refreshing and unusual moment of candour and realism, said:

For the past 40 years we have been plowing money into programs. We have no evidence that it’s working.

At another indigenous law conference in Toronto the writer attended in 2018, two prominent indigenous speakers also had revealing bursts of candour.

Mr. Justice Harry Laforme, the first indigenous person to sit on the Ontario Court of Appeal, said: “I don’t know what deconstructing the colonial regime means.”

Regarding UNDRIP, indigenous speaker John Kim Bell said: “It would likely paralyze the Canadian economy.”

Mr. Bell also described Canada’s official policy towards indigenous peoples as “apartheid”.

Yet despite the obvious truth of these statements- these momentary forays into the realm of realism– the Trudeau government, wilfully blind to this realism, with its Action Plan, continues down this ruinous UNDRIP path.

Why?

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are radical, elitist and undemocratic.

Trudeau was never elected to do anything so fundamental and radical as this.

Canadians have never been consulted about this, and if they were, they would massively reject Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies, as partially evidenced by the fact that the last two times they were consulted about similar radical plans, they rejected them.

The Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, which, amongst many other radical proposals, purported to create special legislative, consultation and veto rights for indigenous peoples, were, for principled reasons, hugely unpopular with ordinary Canadians. The Charlottetown Accord, a frightening pastiche of provisions, all representing an irresponsible and reckless constitutional devolution of Crown power to special interest groups, which our then out-of-touch political elites, (nothing has changed in this regard), tried to force down the throats of ordinary Canadians, was massively rejected in a national referendum.

 Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are so radical and country-transforming that, as he is insisting on ramming them down Canadians’ throats, there should be a national referendum on them. But anti-democratic Trudeau and his anti-democratic political and bureaucratic elites know not to have one because they know that the result would be the same as that of the Charlottetown Accord referendum.

Their view is that it better to leave this matter to ordinary Canadians’ “betters” i.e., themselves.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies represent a triumph of abstractions over realities, which provide no solutions to the tragic social failures of indigenous reserve life.

The urban political and bureaucratic elites behind Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies- these self-appointed “betters”- are no doubt highly motivated, educated and sophisticated people, which makes their unsurpassable folly and wrong-headedness even harder to understand.

I believe that ordinary Canadians sense what these elites don’t- that as a country we’re going backward in this crucial and profound area of our national life – and that in particular, we need a strong federal government with untrammeled federal law-making powers.

Why do ordinary Canadians sense what these elites don’t?

Part of the answer is that serious thinkers have long noted the tendency on the part of such people, “in their bubble”, to act in such an innocently stupid manner. Historian Robert Conquest writes in Reflections on a Ravaged Century[xxvi]:

A leading scholar of Russian affairs (Ronald Hingley of Oxford) noted during the Soviet period that basic misapprehensions about it in the West were rarely among truly serious scholars, and also among ordinary people, being confined to those with fair intelligence. He commented, “For it is surely true, if not generally recognized, that real prowess in wrong-headedness, as in most other fields of human endeavor, presupposes considerable education, character, sophistication, knowledge, and will to succeed” …It was basically common sense that kept the mass of people in Britain and America less liable than the intelligentsia to delusion about the Stalinists. As Orwell said, they were at once too sane and too stupid to accept the sophistical in place of the obvious…the explicit habits of mind of the public are often more sensible than the prescriptions elaborated in the minds of the intelligentsia. 

Perhaps, from their narrow job-security perspective, the elites in charge of all this, people like Mr. Joe Wild, instinctively regard the whole business as essentially a new, make-work project, happily involving the creation and implementation of complicated, endless, budget-sustaining processes and procedures, inherently good in themselves, (for them!), oblivious to and/or regardless of their benefit to society.

Perhaps, in their Ottawa bubble, they don’t see Canada’s indigenous reality as a profound social problem involving flesh and blood indigenous human beings who are suffering now and need practical solutions now.

It’s a universally accepted fact that Canada’s indigenous peoples, as convincingly shown by Colin Alexander, (linked to above), are at the bottom of almost every performance-measuring social and economic indicator. Amongst indigenous peoples the suicide rate, the poverty rate, the rate of alcoholism and drug dependency- and drug deaths- the rate of criminality and incarceration, the rate of educational and economic achievement, the rate of incest and child abuse and neglect, the resulting high rate of indigenous children in government care-all such grim rates and measures of human health and welfare- clearly demonstrate that an augmented, more cash-rich status quo, which is all Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies amount to, will only perpetuate and increase this unconscionable human suffering.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies sacrifice present generations of indigenous Canadians for the sake of a utopian future- the “nation to nation, self-government” sovereignty chimera- that is nothing but glorified, messianic nonsense- castles in the air, so pleasing to contemplate because they require no foundations-[xxvii]  that can never happen.

Utopian thinkers reason that no finite sacrifice is too great for an infinite payoff. The skeptic counters: We must recognize that every moment, like every culture and every person, is an end in itself. An end that is infinitely remote is not an end, but, if you like, a trap. An end must be nearer.[xxviii]

Or, as Mexican Nobel Prize-winning writer Octavio Paz wrote, an infinitely remote end is just a perpetual prison for the present[xxix], which, in Canada’s case, Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies will surely condemn indigenous peoples to.

Perhaps Trudeau and his political and bureaucratic elites see it all as a problem involving mere abstract, disembodied words and phrases where, for them, abstraction becomes truth[xxx], like “indigenous laws and jurisdiction”, Indigenous “ways of knowing”, Indigenous “science”, like “systemic racism”,  and like Assistant Deputy Minister Joe Wild’s “journey of deconstruction of colonialism”-the latter a phrase classically and cruelly embodying the triumph of pure abstract ideology over human welfare- human lives!

The surest path to intellectual perdition is the abandonment of real problems for the sake of verbal problems.[xxxi]

Perhaps, echoing Robert Conquest, it’s an example of the political “wooden headedness” described by the great historian Barbara Tuchman in The March of Folly,[xxxii] her wincing chronicle of nations and leaders throughout history, pursuing policies almost self-evidently contrary to the plain facts and evidence before them and to their self-interest, to disastrous effects:

Wooden headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs.  It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts. It is epitomized in a historian’s statement about Phillip II of Spain, the surpassing wooden head of all sovereigns: “no experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.”

She aptly describes the deficient thinking processes of Trudeau’s political and bureaucratic elites as follows:

A last folly was the absence of reflective thought about the nature of what we were doing, about effectiveness in relation to the object sought, about balance of possible gain against loss…Absence of intelligent thinking in rulership is another of the universals, and raises the question whether in modern states there is something about political and bureaucratic life that subdues the functioning of the intellect in favor of “working the levers” without regard to rational expectations. This would seem to be an ongoing prospect.

The equally brilliant political philosopher Hannah Arendt piles on in this regard in Lying in Politics[xxxiii], her scathing indictment of the high-level American government functionaries who, out of a mere sense of saving face for themselves and their bosses, knowing that it was all in vain, allowed tens of thousands of their own young military men and over a million Vietnamese to be killed, and many more wounded, in their country’s stupid, criminal, pointless, destructive, imperialist adventure in Viet Nam.

Like our own leaders, indigenous and non-indigenous, in relation to Trudeau’s UNDRIP Action Plan:

…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.

Like Mr. Wild’s “journey of deconstructing colonialism” and establishing “nation to nation relationships”, and like the Action Plan in general- make-work Holy Grail projects for politicians and bureaucrats, with their lack of definitions, agreed meanings, specific goals and end points:

…(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. (Hannah Arendt)

Perhaps Trudeau’s political and bureaucratic elites, aged baby boomers still in the game, and now, (somewhat disconcertingly to this aged baby boomer writer), the “best and brightest” of the generation following us- all persons who, in the main, have never experienced the kind of real poverty, gut fear for physical security, political fanaticism and war that their depression–era parents and grandparents experienced- think that the “nice” way it now is always was  that way,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and always will be- innocently oblivious people reflected in the words of the great 19th century novelist George Elliot:

And the present time was like the level plain where men lose their belief in volcanoes and earthquakes, thinking tomorrow will be as yesterday, and the giant forces that used to shake the earth are forever laid to sleep. [xxxiv]

In this era of almost deliberately planned historical and cultural amnesia they don’t seem to realize, or they have forgotten, that the modern Canadian State, which has, as stated, so well-served the interests of Canadians for generations, was brought into being at great effort and great cost, as a compassionate and enlightened response to those dangerous, fearsome and chaotic circumstances.

In the wealthy countries a mediocrity that hides the horrors of the rest of the world has prevailed.[xxxv]

The post- World War Two incredibly wealthy and secure “comparatively dull decades”- a “trivial time that delights in prosperous escapism”[xxxvi]– which can quite reasonably be regarded as an unprecedented, fluky, historical “one-off”- seem to have caused Trudeau’s political and bureaucratic elites- andour elites in general–  to become more shallow- to no longer understand that a deep sense and knowledge of history is a prerequisite to being competent and responsible governors, and to have lulled them into “the fake sense of security common to people who have lost their sense of the tragic. And the sense of the tragic (a product of the knowledge of history) must always be cultivated in order to avoid tragedy.” [xxxvii]

One needs to know reality before one can cross its boundaries into idealism. [xxxviii]

Part of this lulled-into false sense of security is that they just unthinkingly assume, (again, to a large degree because of literary and historical illiteracy), 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 and economic security and well-being – the creation of which would not have been possible except under the aegis of a strong, healthy, hierarchical and active regulatory Canadian State supported by the strongest and widest revenue base possible – always existed and somehow always will.

They don’t seem to “get” or appreciate that these things, “whose merits are confirmed by the solid test of long experience, and an increasing public strength and national prosperity”-[xxxix] 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 our elites- acting with such shallowness on this crucial issue, as fully demonstrated by Trudeau’s State-weakening UNDRIP laws and policies– are plainly failing to do at this time,  they can easily be lost.

A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.[xl]

Novelist David Mitchell:

Our civilized world is not made of stone, it’s made of sand, and one bad storm is all it will take.[xli]

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies constitute one bad storm.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are illiberal and divisive.

The illiberal, abnormal reality of Canada’s gold-plated, (for indigenous elites), quasi-segregationist, apartheid-like constitutional, legal and social situation with respect to indigenous peoples has come to seem so normal in Canada that we seem not to even notice it, much less take objection to it. Perhaps this is for the depressingly simple reason that Leo Tolstoy provides in Anna Karenina:

There are no conditions in life to which man cannot get accustomed, especially when he sees them accepted by everyone around him.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are so illiberal, so abnormal, and so radical, and will create conditions in Canadian life that Canadians will never be able to become accustomed to, that it’s time for Canadians to start noticing, and to start demanding the cancellation of these laws and policies, which are so contrary to traditional Canadian laws, civic values and traditions, which emphasize a common, equal, pluralistic, political nationality based on values and attitudes; not on race or ethnicity.

Consider that since the modern age began in the late eighteenth century, every social justice movement that has advanced the state of humanity has been characterized by a demand that some offensive barrier to human equality be removed, so as to make persons more equal under the law.

The campaign to abolish the slave trade, and then slavery itself, the fight for women’s rights and universal suffrage, the trade union movement, socialism, the desegregation battles in America, the boycott of South Africa,  Gandhi’s struggles against the caste system in India, the movements for gender equality and gay liberation- all of these progressive, enlightened, beneficial causes and campaigns that have advanced the state of humanity have all been characterized by the noble, supremely civilized desire to make everyone more equal under the law.

These campaigns, causes, movements and struggles- where, initially in each, the often brave and lonely advocates for change were frequently derided, persecuted and marginalized by the prevailing forces of the status quo- when the change had finally been effected, ultimately unified Canadians- bound them together more.

So instead of the Trudeau government and its coterie of UNDRIP-pushing elites similarly binding us together on this profound national issue, why are they making an exception for indigenous peoples to liberalism’s general push for equality, and so relentlessly binding us apart?

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies reject the thinking of all great spiritual and moral thinkers.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies are contrary to Canadian moral and spiritual values and traditions as well, including the moral and spiritual values and traditions of Canada’s indigenous peoples, which all emphasize our common, universal, equal, interconnected humanity.

O-ta-ha-o-ma, “the Gambler”, said during the negotiations prior to the signing of the Qu’Appelle Treaty at Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, on September 12th, 1874[xlii]:

Look at these children that are sitting around here and also at the tents, who are just the image of my kindness. These are just different kinds of grass growing here that is just like those sitting around here. There is no difference. Even from the American land they are here, but we love them all the same, and when the white skin comes here from far away, I love him all the same. I am telling you what our love and kindness is.

Black Elk, of the Lakota people had this “one people” vision:[xliii]

And while I stood there, I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight, and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

Nez Perce Chief Joseph (Hinmaton Yalatkit) (1830-1904), said[xliv]:

Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other then we will have no more wars. We shall be alike- brothers of one father and one mother, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all.

For B.C. Chief Robert Joseph:

Reconciliation embraces the spirit of Namwayat, the idea that we are all one. One people, one community, one environment. One spirit.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies reject and betray these indigenous spiritual teachings.

Indigenous writer and leader Calvin Helin, in his book, Dances with Dependency[xlv], wrote:

One solution is for all people of all ethnicities to start thinking less about our differences and more about the fabric that binds us together as a human species. To often we forget that we all answer to the same laws of nature regardless of the colour of our skin or the language that we speak, that we share a commonality of cultural wisdom and ancient learning.

Indigenous lawyer and AFN co-founder William Wuttunee wrote, in his book, Ruffled FeathersIndians in Canadian Society[xlvi], which advocated the repeal of the Indian Act and the phasing out of reserves, wrote:

It is imperative that Indians should have full equality before the law. The provisions of the Indian Act do not give them equality. They are saddled with disadvantages which hound them continually in their daily lives (Their) problems cannot be attributed to white Canadians only. It is a problem which lies on the shoulders of everyone. Canadians must be prepared to repeal the Indian Act.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies reject and betray the humanism and wisdom of these distinguished indigenous Canadians.

Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a common, equal and interconnected humanity reflects the Gambler’s, Black Elk’s and Chief Joseph’s:

If we look into the future, is it not a heritage we have to leave to posterity, that all the different races commingle and produce a civilization that perhaps the world has not yet seen? There are differences and misunderstandings, but I do believe, in the words of the sacred hymn, “We shall know each other better when the mists roll away.”[xlvii]

Martin Luther King drew on the Christian teaching of the unity and equality of all mankind- as in Acts, chapter 17, verse 26: “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”– and sought absolute legal equality between blacks and whites.

In August of 1963, in Washington D.C., he famously declared[xlviii]:

Many of our white brothers have come to realize that there is destiny is tied up with our destiny. I dream of a time when the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood…when little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers…when there will be a redeemed America encompassing all of God’s children, black men and white  men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies reject and betray the teachings of the Bible, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Great literature has a great deal to contribute to a country’s understanding of its past and present, and to its assessment of its best path forward. The brilliant, psychologically acute and empathic novelist George Eliot has great humanist wisdom to impart to Mr. Trudeau and his coterie of race-society, UNDRIP-pushers:

The great river-courses which have shaped the lives of men have hardly changed; and those other streams, the life currents that ebb and flow in human hearts, pulsate to the same great deeds, the same great loves and terrors. As our thought follows close in the slow wake of dawn, we are impressed with the broad sameness of the human lot, which never alters in the main headings of history- hunger and labour, seed time and harvest, love and death.[xlix]

Even Justin Trudeau’s fellow Quebecer, (although admittedly having died a few years before Mr. Trudeau was born), Samuel de Champlain, has something to teach him and his government about human equality and a race-free Canadian future:

In May 1633, when Champlain came back to his settlement at Quebec…a large party of Montagnais arrived in the canoes to see him. Champlain gestured at the building works, including the fort, and said, “when that great house is built, our young men will marry your daughters, and henceforth we shall be one people.”[l]

But Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies would kill Champlain’s humanist dream for his new country.

Sir David Cannadine described Nelson Mandela[li] as follows:

He espoused harmony between all persons in conversation and operated across the boundaries of racial identity, and in the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in post-apartheid Africa…He recognized the greater and more compelling identity of the human race, and he personified it with such charisma and moral force that he became someone who transcended colour and was above race.

South African Nobel Prize Laureate Nadine Gordimer wrote[lii] about Nelson Mandela:

Skin colour was not a definition in his eyes…Mr. Mandela came from way up in the hierarchy of traditional African society. But unlike others on that ancestral level, he did not see that reverence and respect for this meant distorting its relevance by opposing the laws of our democratic Constitution with traditional law…You do not emerge from the isolation of racism to confine your country to some other, chosen isolation.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies shamefully reject and betray the teachings, example and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

The Trudeau government sees skin colour as defining. It wants indigenous traditional laws to oppose the democratic laws of Canada. It wants indigenous peoples to emerge from the isolation of racism only to confine them to its chosen UNDRIP isolation.

Nelson Mandela, looking at Canada uncomprehendingly, is rolling in his grave.

Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:[liii]

The very first step on the road to reconciliation is the compete dismantling of apartheid and all the measures used to enforce it.

Trudeau’s UNDRIP laws and policies will only strengthen Canada’s quasi-apartheid system and thus render true reconciliation impossible.

I sincerely hope and pray, for the sake of my Indigenous fellow citizens, that other ordinary citizens, that people and forces in Canada more influential and articulate than me – people who are leaders in their fields – people with the prophecy and the power- will start voicing some of the ideas and concerns about Trudeau’s disastrous UNDRIP laws and policies expressed by me in this article.

Conclusion: Build on Canada’s existing laws and foundations. Don’t tear them down only to replace them with legal and social chaos.

Canada needs an alternative to Trudeau’s divisive, weakening, tearing-down UNDRIP vision: a building vision.

 Canada needs the positive and inspiring goal of re-inventing itself in this profound area of our national life, by putting us all on the path towards realizing the Gambler’s, Black Elk’s and Nelson Mandela’s vision- and the visions of all the other moral giants referred to above- of human unity and interconnectedness, and equality under the law, so as to finally bring our Indigenous peoples into our greater Canadian family as fully equal members.

 To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one us is intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land we sense a personal renewal.

We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us. -Nelson Mandela- Inauguration Speech, May 10th, 1994

Peter Best

Sudbury, Ontario, July 20, 2023


[i] From Reflections on the Revolution in France, first published 1790. Penguin Books Ltd. 2004

[ii] Article, Is it Time for a Renaissance of Reason? The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2014

[iii] From Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism-New Edition with Added Prefaces, Harcourt, Inc. New York, 1966, at page 267

[iv] Ibid, at page 167 (italics added)

[v] Quoted phrases from Adam Gopnik, The Illiberal Imagination: Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History? The New Yorker, March 20, 2017

[vi] Sentence substantially from Christopher Hitchen’s, Letters to a Young Contrarian, Basic Books, 2005

[vii] In Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Vintage Books, 1989

[viii] In Black Earth- The Holocaust as History and Warning, Tim Duggan Books, New York, 2015

[ix] Ibid, above.

[x] In The Origins of Totalitarianism Ms. Arendt attributes the idea of the “innate personality” and the different “inner nature” of the group claiming racial superiority to German intellectuals in the early 19th century. This later led to “Jew-hating as a political weapon”, because of their supposed “innate lack of tact, the innate lack of productivity, the innate disposition for trading etc.” It also led to Hitler and the Holocaust.

[xi] From Robert Kaplan’s The Return of Marco Polo’s World- War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty First Century, Random House, New York, 2019. An argument for realism, which “appeals to historic precedent rather than to abstract principles of justice and aims at the realization of the lesser evil rather than the absolute good.”

[xii] Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, above, at page 5.

[xiii] From her 1946 essay, The Nation, contained in Essays in Understanding 1930-1954, Schocken Books, New York, 1994

[xiv] From Joanna Chiu, China Unbound-A New World Disorder, House of Anansi Press Inc. 2021, at page 124.

[xv] From her 1945 essay, Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility, contained in Essays in Understanding- 1930-1954, above.

[xvi] Phrase from the Preface to The Origins of Totalitarianism, in Hannah Arendt’s context, referring to the Russian and Nazi totalitarian governments.

[xvii] From her essay, The Great Tradition, contained in Thinking Without a Bannister, Schocken Books/Random House, New York, 2018 (italics added)

[xviii] See 2023 Fraser Institute article by Professor Emeritus Tom Flanagan of the University of Calgary, at chromeextension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/from-reconciliation-to-reparations-exploiting-a-noble-idea.pdf

[xix] Dances With Dependency- Out of Poverty Through Self-Reliance, Ravencrest Publishing, Woodland Hills, California, 2008

[xx] Bernard Schlink, Guilt About the Past, House of Anansi Press Inc., Toronto, 2010

[xxi] Idea and sentence substantially from Robert Kaplan, The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century, Random House, New York, 2019

[xxii] Verlyn Klinkenborg, How to Destroy Species, Including Us, The New York Review of Books, 20 March, 2014, a book review of Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

[xxiii] Courtoreille v. Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 2014 FCA 1244

[xxiv] From Robert Kaplan, How Islam Created Europe, The Atlantic, May 2016

[xxv] From Nigel Biggar, Colonialism -A Moral Reckoning, William Collins, London, 2023, at page 135

[xxvi] Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century, W.W. Norton & Company2001

[xxvii] Patrick Leigh Fermor, from his essay Mani, excerpted in an anthology of his writings,Words of Mercury, Skyhouse Publishing, 2014

[xxviii] Nineteenth century Russian philosopher Alexander Herzen, from the book review of Aileen M. Kelly’s The Discovery of Chance-The Life and Thought of Alexander Herzen, the book review entitled Herzen: The Hero of Skeptical Idealism, by Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, November 24, 2016

[xxix][xxix][xxix] From his essay, The Other Mexico, contained in The Labyrinth of Solitude, Grove Press, New York, 1985. The actual quote is: “The supreme value is not the future but the present. The future is a deceitful time that always says to us, “Not yet,” and thus denies us. The future is not the time of love: what man wants he wants now. Whoever builds a house for future happiness builds a prison for the present.”

[xxx] “The intellectuals whom Julian Benda attacks in the 1920’s in his Trahison des Clercs, for abstraction and theoretical reasoning, saw nothing of a betrayal in their stance-for them, abstraction was truth”. From Tony Judt, Thinking the Twentieth Century, Penguin Books, 2012

[xxxi] John Lukacs, quoting Karl Popper in At the End of an Age, Yale University Press, 2002

[xxxii] Ballantine Books, 1983

[xxxiii] Contained in Crises of the Republic, Harcourt Brace & Company, New York, 1972

[xxxiv] From The Mill on the Floss, Penguin Classics, 2010

[xxxv] Elena Ferrante, in The Story of the Lost Child, Europa Editions, New York, 2015

[xxxvi] As characterized by playwright Arthur Miller in his biography, Timebends -A Life, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1987

[xxxvii] Robert Kaplan, In Europe’s Shadow- Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond, Random House, New York, 2016

[xxxviii] Rudiger Safranski, Goethe, Life as a Work of Art, Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 2015

[xxxix] Edmund Burke, Reflections, above

[xl] Novelist Edith Wharton, quoted by Lewis H. Lapham in the preface to Age of Folly, America Abandons Its Democracy, Verso, New York, 2016

[xli] Paraphrasing his protagonist in his novel, The Bone Clocks (Random House, New York, 2014) the final chapter of which brilliantly imagines the dystopia to come if we all keep on our current course of political, economic and environmental behavior.

[xlii] From Alexander Morris, The Treaties of Canada with Indians, Coles Publishing Company, Toronto, 1979

[xliii] From Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2014, at page 26. (The book was originally published in 1932)

[xliv] From Native American Wisdom, Running Press, Philadelphia, 1994, at page 68.

[xlv] Ibid.

[xlvi] Bell Books Ltd Calgary Alberta, 1971 (Sadly, out of print)

[xlvii] From Joseph Lelyveld, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandi and His Struggle with India, New York Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

[xlviii] Quoted in Sir David Cannadine’s The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond our Differences, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013. Sir David Cannadine described race as a “social myth”.

[xlix] George Eliot, from the “Proem” of her novel of Florence, Romolo, Penguin Books, London, 1988 (Italics added.)

[l] From Margaret MacMillan, History’s People, Anansi Press, 2015

[li] In Cannadine’s The Undivided Past, above.

[lii] Nadine Gordimer, Mandela Put the Lives of Others First, The Globe & Mail, December 6, 2013

[liii] Long Walk to Freedom-The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1995

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