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Feb-2013-CERD Submission - Legislation

Feb-2013-CERD Submission - Legislation

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Published by Janice Makokis
Application to UN Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination (CERD) Legislation Submission (Feb 2013) from Ermineskin Cree Nation and Other Indigenous Nations
Application to UN Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination (CERD) Legislation Submission (Feb 2013) from Ermineskin Cree Nation and Other Indigenous Nations

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Published by: Janice Makokis on Mar 01, 2013
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Submission to the 82
Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of RacialDiscrimination with Regard to Canada’s Failure to Comply with UN Human RightsConventions and General Recommendation No. 23 of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationFebruary 11-March 1, 2013GenevaBYErmineskin Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Montana CreeNation, Cold Lake Dene, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alexander Cree Nation, Kehewin CreeNation, Lubicon Cree Nation, Little Pine Cree Nation, Piapot Cree Nation, Witcheken CreeNation, Sweetgrass Cree Nation, James Smith, Saultaux, Sakimay, Muskoday, SerpentRiver Nation, Starblanket Cree Nation and Thunderchild Cree NationIn RELATION TOGovernment of Canada(“Canada”)I.
The Peoples of Ermineskin Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation,Montana Cree Nation, Cold Lake Dene, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alexander Cree Nation,Kehewin Cree Nation, Lubicon Cree Nation, Little Pine Cree Nation, Piapot Cree Nation,Witcheken Cree Nation, Sweetgrass Cree Nation, James Smith, Saultaux, Sakimay, Muskoday,Serpent River Nation, Starblanket Cree Nation and the Thunderchild Cree Nation (“the Nations”)believe in our own Creation and it is this spiritual relationship that determines how we recognizeand practice our inherent and Treaty rights on our lands. The relationship we have with ourCreator, through the connection with our lands is keeping with our Laws and practicing ourinherent rights within our respective Treaty and traditional territories.The Nations maintain that we have always been sovereign nations and have always practiced ourinherent rights in our territories given to us by our Creator. The Nations also assert that we haveoccupied our lands and territory in ways consistent with our traditional Cree (“Nehiyaw”) andOjibwe (“Anishnaabe”) legal orders, laws, belief systems, governance structure(s) and these actsare found in and consistent with our languages.The Nations govern ourselves in accordance with our Laws that are distinct and separate fromwhat the state of Canada. Canada was created through an act of the British Parliament. Wenegotiated and made Treaties with the British Crown to allow for settlers to enter our territories.These were peace and friendship treaties and a subject of the UN Study on Treaties, Agreementsand other Constructive Arrangements
under taken by the late Miguel Alfonso-Martinez. Canada
as a successor state inherited the obligations to implement the Treaties in good faith to upholdthe honour of the Crown. However, the state of Canada has breached the Treaties by unilaterallyimposing on us through its legal system using policies, programs and legislation, including the“Indian Act”
. The “Indian Act” is as federal legislation that restricts and limits the way inwhich Indigenous Nations included in this submission, use our territories and access theresources of our territories. The Indian Act governs all aspect of our lives from birth to death inthe designated as ‘reserved’ or ‘reserve’ lands. However, these recognized ‘reserved lands’ areonly one small part of the larger traditional territories of the Nations that fall under lands withinour respective Treaty territories.The Idle No More Indigenous movement began in early November in response to a suite of legislation introduced by Canada that directly affects Indigenous Peoples in the northern half of Turtle Island (now called Canada), including the Nations in this application.
Purpose of Request
The Indigenous Nations file this Request for Early Warning Measures and Urgent Procedures(“Request”) to bring to the attention of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) the ongoing and systemic series of actions that violatefundamental human rights of the Nations, and Canada’s complete disregard of theRecommendations of the CERD which upholds the Convention on the Elimination of All Formsof Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.The activities taking place in Canada have escalated into severe forms of racism and hatred beingdirected towards members of the Nations and other citizens of Indigenous ancestry withinCanada. The action Canada is engaging in includes a complete denial of the Nations Indigenousrights, especially the right to self-determination. The denial of our rights is evident in the suiteof legislation introduced by the Conservative government in Canada to usurp, disregard and denythe Nations existing sovereignty to our territories. We exercised our sovereignty by our originaloccupation in our territories, practice our own forms of government consistent with our ownlegal orders and laws that are found in our culture, traditions and languages.
Overview of Canada’s Violation’s of the Nations Human Rights, including the Rightto Self-Determination
Background of LegislationCanada has introduced a suite of legislation that directly violates the Nations inherent Creatorgiven rights, our human rights and our right to exercise and practice our self-determinationwithin our respective traditional and treaty territories. The legislation was introduced inCanada’s Parliament in 2012, and each Bill is making its way through the Parliamentary processto become law. Some Bills are still making our way through the House of Commons and Senatebefore they become law. In total, there are ten Bills that violate the inherent rights of theNations, treaty promises made between the British Crown, which Canada is successor state of and the Nations; and the right of self-determination of the Nations submitting this Request. Two
 Indian Act 
: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-5/ 
of these Bills (C-38 and C-45) have already become law in Canada even though the Chiefs of theNations in this Request vehemently opposed the legislation. A summary of the Bills will beprovided below and reason(s) why they are of concern to the Nations submitting this Request.The immediate Bills that initiated the Idle No More Indigenous movement were Omnibus BillsC-38 and C-45, which despite widely held opposition and protests are now law in Canada.Omnibus Bills are Budget Bills that encompass multiple pieces of legislation, are hundreds of pages long and do not go through the regular course of Parliamentary process to allow for moredebate or consultation on contentious legislation set to be amended, repealed or enacted. AnOmnibus Bill is best understood as:[A]n omnibus bill seeks to amend, repeal or enact several Acts, and it is characterized bythe fact that it has a number of related but separate parts. An omnibus bill has “one basicprinciple or purpose which ties together all the proposed enactments and thereby rendersthe Bill intelligible for parliamentary purposes”. One of the reasons cited for introducingan omnibus bill is to bring together in a single bill all the legislative amendmentsresulting from a policy decision to facilitate parliamentary debate.The use of omnibus bills is unique to Canada. The British Parliament does enact this kindof bill, but its legislative practice is different, specifically in that there is much tightercontrol over the length of debate.
 During 2012, the Canadian government introduced two controversial Omnibus Bills that directlyviolate the Nations inherent Indigenous rights, including our human rights, those rightsrecognized by the treaty relationship and further denigrates our right to self-determination. Theprocess in which these Bills were enacted violates the Treaty terms and disregards the Treatyrelationship that the Nations understood when Treaties were made and goes against the Nationsright to self-determination. Canada has gone ahead and enacted Bills without informing,including and engaging in meaningful consultations as they are required to do, as outlined bySupreme Court jurisprudence on the Duty to Consult.i.
Bill C-38
“Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act”On April 26, 2012 the Canadian government introduced Bill C-38 into the House of Commonsfor First Reading and on June 29, 2012 the Bill received Royal Assent without going throughproper consultations with affected parties or groups, including the Nations who submit thisRequest. Within this controversial Bill were changes made to over 70 federal laws. There wasalso limited or no debate on the legislation that affected the Nations. The Bills that directlyaffect the Nations and other Indigenous people in Canada, within this Omnibus Bill include, butare not limited to:a.
 Enactment of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,
First Nations Land Management Act 
” (repeal of s. 41)
Canada’s “Legislative Process”:http://www.parl.gc.ca/MarleauMontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Sec=Ch16&Seq=4&Language=E
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 
, 2012: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-15.21/FullText.html

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