FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BILL C-45, JOBS AND GROWTH ACT NOT TO BE RECOGNIZED OR ENFORCED BY FIRST NATIONS IN ONTARIO
Toronto, ON (December 14, 2012)—Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy along with members of the Chiefs of Ontario Political Confederacy comprising of—Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians and Independent First Nations—representing close to 250,000 First Nations in Ontario, reiterated the position of the Chiefs that Bill C-45 will not be enforced or recognized by their First Nations.
This morning, the Senate approved Bill C-45, first tabled in March 29, 2012, by a vote of 50-27 making it set to become law. Over the past several weeks, the opposition tried to stall or prevent the adoption of the bill similar to the filibustering of the first budget implementation bill in June. Upset over Aboriginal Senator Brazeau’s vote in support of the bill, the Political Confederacy stated, “Aboriginal Senator Patrick Brazeau is a traitor to all First Nations people in Canada, including the future generations.”
At issue is the absence of consultation and accommodation on this bill. Beardy stated, “At no time in the nine months that Bill C-45 was being considered did the Government of Canada discuss any matters related to it with First Nations—this bill breaches Canada’s own laws on the fiduciary legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. The Canadian government just gave birth to a monster.” Given that Bill C-45 affects not only First Nations but all Canadians (as it amends the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canada Labour Code), the Political Confederacy was surprised that there wasn’t a bigger public outcry.
Over the past number of months, First Nations across Canada have been up in arms about the suite of legislation being considered in the absence of the fiduciary legal duty to consult and accommodate, these include: (1) Bill C-27 – First Nation Financial Transparency Act, (2) Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act, (3) Bill S-2 – Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, (4) Bill S-6 – First Nations Elections Act, (5) Bill S-8 – First Nations Safe Drinking Water Act, (6) Bill S-207 – An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act and, (7) Bill S-212 – First Nations Self Government Recognition Act. There are currently two other pieces of legislation being proposed which First Nations in Ontario are opposed to, these are the proposed First Nation Private Property Ownership Act and the First Nation Education Act. The suite of legislation has created a First Nations grassroots movement called #IdleNoMore which has been organizing public rallies across the country.
At a recent Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly, a statement of unity called, “In Honour of Peoples and Our Land” was unanimously endorsed. This statement reiterated the position of the First Nations across Canada that, “We unconditionally reject any Canadian or provincial legislation, policies, or processes that impact our lands, air, water, resources or peoples, which have not obtained our free, prior and informed consent.”ments regarding voting on reserve, land surrenders and designation
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.
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