ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA CHIEFS

Legislative Update
V O L U M E 1 , I S S U E 4 J A N U A R Y 2 9 , 2 0 1 3

Summary of Events from week in Ottawa
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

To provide a snapshot of current legislation that will impact First Nations Constitutional, Aboriginal and Treaty rights
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Manitoba Chiefs Gathering Declaration of Commitment Upcoming Hearings Current Legislation Bill C-469

The following is a synopsis of events that occurred in Ottawa the week of January 7th, 2013 that resulted in the development of a Manitoba Unified Position put forth by the Manitoba Chiefs in attendance and shared on January 11th with other First Nations. In the wake of Chief Theresa Spence, Raymond Robinson and Jean Sock’s hunger fasts and the Idle No More movement, the Prime Minister (PM) of Canada announced on January 4th , 2013 that a meeting with First Nations leadership was to be arranged through the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Chief Spence and Raymond Robinson call for a meeting was also to include the Governor General and they announced the continuation of their hunger strike until this was agreed to by the PM.

AFN hosted working group meetings on Comprehensive Claims and other Treaty Implementation on January 8th, 2013 with main plenary held on the 9th and 10th. On January 9th and 10th, Manitoba Chiefs held their own caucus meetings and spent the day discussing and drafting the content of a Unified Position. Manitoba’s position was to stand in solidarity with the hunger fasters call for the January 11, 2013 meeting to be inclusive of all Chiefs, the Governor General of Canada and the Prime Minister and for it to be televised or live

streamed for all to watch. These recommendations and an invitation were not agreed to by the PM’s office and the result was Manitoba Chiefs not attending the PM and AFN meeting on January 11th as it was not inclusive or respectful of First Nations. Manitoba along with other regions appealed to the AFN National Chief and Executive to not attend the PM meeting and stand in solidarity with Chief Spence’s request. The meeting was held with the 20 Chiefs that were allowed to attend which included the National Chief, some of his National Executive and those Chiefs that wished to attend. Due to inaction of government, to abide by Chief Spence’s and Manitoba Chiefs request, First Nations and supporters marched and rallied on Parliament Hill on January 11th, 2013.

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Thank You Elder Raymond Robinson and Chief Theresa Spence
Raymond Robinson from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake) and Chief Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat First Nation began their hunger strike in December within a day of each other and ended their fast together on January 24th In Ottawa, ON. This was agreed to after Chief Spence and her supporters drafted a Declaration of Commitment First Nations: Working Towards Fundamental Change which was signed by various First Nations and representatives of the Opposition Parties to commit to carry on her fight. AMC gives thanks to Raymond Robinson, Chief Spence and the other fasters for their self sacrifice and the courage to stand for Treaty rights and Mother Earth.

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How to get involved and informed Bill C-45

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Manitoba Treaty & Dakota Chiefs Gathering
The Manitoba Treaty and Dakota Chiefs Gathering was held at the Marlborough Hotel, Winnipeg on January 22 & 23, 2013. The purpose was to ratify the unified position of the Manitoba Leadership as presented at the Ottawa meeting of January 10,11, 2013 and to discuss and identify the steps for moving forward with Treaty implementation (as articulated in the Unified position). The gathering was an open invitation to leadership from other Regions to discuss broader issues on Day Two. Day One consisted of Chiefs messages to the Assembly for strategic collective and peaceful action and concluded with the formal endorsement of the AMC, MKO and SCO Unified First Nation Position—to be further developed and worked on. Day Two received presentations from Idle No More representatives and invited leadership from other regions. Chiefs reviewed and clarified questions and messages and proposed actions and strategy for the future. The gathering concluded with Individual Chiefs signing onto the Declaration of Commitment First Nations: Working Towards Fundamental Change. One resolution was passed seeking ongoing Treaty discussion and a AFN Special All Chiefs Assembly to be held March 5-6, 2013 in Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK.

“We give thanks to the Creator to help us speak with love and unity for the little ones” Elder Elmer Courchene at Manitoba Treaty & Dakota Chiefs Gathering

Declaration of Commitment Highlights
In summary it states “in the spirit of commitment to initiate dialogue to discuss both Treaty and non-Treaty Indigenous issues on behalf of First Nations...and acknowledges the fasters who have shown deep dedication and courage in support of protecting and honouring Treaty. Leadership commit to undertake political, spiritual and all other advocacy efforts to implement a renewed First Nations—Crown relationship where Treaty and non-Treaty rights are recognized, honoured and fully implemented— within the next five years. Further it calls for commitments made by the PM to be implemented with high priority and open transparency through 13 outlined priorities. Priority one is an immediate meeting between the Crown, Federal and Provincial governments and First Nations to discuss outstanding issues regarding Treaty Relationship and non-Treaty area relationships. It concludes with number thirteen calling for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The full Declaration can be found on the AMC website:

House of Commons and Senate Committee Hearings
The House of Commons resumed business on January 28 , 2013 and Senate will reconvene on February 5, 2013. The following Bills are scheduled for Committee Hearings: C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act has been referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.
L E G I S L A T I V E U P D A T E

Private Members Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act has been referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. First Nations can request to make an oral and/or written presentation to both Committees by contacting the Clerk of each of the Committees.

AMC Grand Chief Nepinak will be requesting to appear or make submission to both of these Committees in the new year. Please contact AMC should you require further information.

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Current Legislation Impacting First Nations
There are many federal measures under way that directly threaten First Nations, including: (1) Bill C-27 – First Nation Financial Transparency Act; (2) (2) Bill C- 428 – Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act; (3) (3) Bill S-2 – Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests of Rights Act; (4) (4) Bill S-6 – First Nations Elections Act; (5) (5) Bill S-8 – Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act; (6) (6) Bill S-207 – An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act [Non-Derogation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights]; and, (7) 7) Bill S-212 – First Nations Self Government Recognition. The federal government is also planning massive unilateral changes to First Nation education by 2014, even though the existing education system is an international disgrace. In all cases, the federal government has refused to live up to its constitutional duty to consult and accommodate. (These are only a few examples of the pattern of assault on First Nation rights and interests. For further information see the following link: http:// www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISinfo/ Faq.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1

Bill C-469 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
Bill C-469 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was introduced as a Private Members Bill on January 28, 2013. NDP MP Romeo Saganash sponsored the Bill. The Preamble of the Act states ”whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes that the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) should be enshrined in the laws of Canada” It calls for the Government of Canada to take all measure to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP; and That at the end of the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2013 and at the end of each of the next four fiscal years, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development must prepare a report reviewing the progress made and must report to the House of Parliament in a specified timeframe. The United Nations voted and recognized Indigenous people's basic human rights and rights to self -determination, language, equality and land, among other rights in 2007. Canada voted against but later endorsed UNDRIP in 2010 but has done little to implement or discuss with First Nations how to implement.

What can you do? How to get involved in INM?
Idle No More (INM) has provided examples of how to educate yourself and others. INM founders began with teach-ins in Saskatchewan and soon this led to Flash Mob round dances in various public places across Canada and the world. Several Idle No More events have occurred in Winnipeg/Manitoba since December by various organizers. On January 25, 2013 the Centre for Human Rights Research, University of Manitoba hosted Tanya Kappo to speak on Idle No More and her experiences. Elders gathered at the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation on January 26, 2013 to feast and honour the spirit by making an offering to Mother Earth and to ask for blessing of guidance and direction for the people. Youth from Bloodvein and Hollow Water First Nations along with their supporters from Brokenhead and Black River arrived at the Legislative Building on January 28 , 2013 after walking from their First Nation communities to raise awareness and to meet up with the worldwide Idle No More day of action at the Manitoba Legislative Building. Other things you could do include organizing speakers series and teach-ins at the First Nation communities, letter campaigns to MP’s and Senators, An online National Videoconference with Wab Kinew & others re: Idle No More is scheduled for January 30, 2013 at 11:00 am CST at: www.firstnationhelp.com.

The purpose of this newsletter is to provide First Nations in Manitoba highlights of the current legislation in the House of Commons and in the Senate and recent events.

ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA CHIEFS
2nd Floor Kensington Building 275 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, Mb R3B 2B3 Phone: (204) 956-0610 Toll Free: 1-888-324-5483 Fax: (204) 956-2109 Email: assembly@manitobachiefs.com

AMC has provided these to leadership at the Chiefs in Assembly and at the Executive Council of Chiefs meetings. Due to the seriousness and large volume of legislation it is important to provide this on more frequent and urgent basis. For further information on legislation proposed and/or already passed please contact our office.

We’re on the web: www.manitobachiefs.com

Bill C-45 Receives Royal Assent
Bill C-45 Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012 despite Grand Chief Derek Nepinak sending a letter to Governor General David Johnston not to give the Bill Royal Assent. This second omnibus bill now contains amendments to legislation relating to the environment, waterways, fisheries, reserve lands and seasonal workers. Overview of Bill C-45 Fisheries Act: the definition of Aboriginal Fishery is amended. This new definition does not recognize a fishery for a moderate livelihood fishery which is inconsistent with the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed Treaty Right. Indian Act: Contains amendments regarding land designation and the process for Bands to lease reserve lands to third parties and eliminates the need for the Governor in Council to approve, changing this to Band Council and the Minster. While this may provide some benefits to our First Nations for economic purposes, the issue is there was no consultation on these changes to the Indian Act by which these amendments were introduced which brings into question the honour of the Government of Canada. Employment Insurance Act: Changes will affect seasonal workers such as those in fisheries who will only have six weeks to look for a job in their field before they must take available work within an hour’s commute that pays at least 70% of their previous salary. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will continue to provide updates to our First Nation members on what is being done and where we are at with our fight against these legislative changes.

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