It’s Easy to Argue the Treaties Aren’t Nation to Nation Agreements

I’m sure some will argue that the Treaties are not “Nation to Nation agreements”, that the aboriginal peoples do not constitute “Nations” (I’m looking at you, Christie Blatchford).

It’s easy to argue that if you ignore the Royal Proclamation of 1763, wherein the Crown writes “that the several Nations . . . of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us. . . .”

And, it’s easy to ignore the Royal Proclamation, even if the Constitution Act (1982) in Section 25 says :

The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including (a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and (b) any rights or freedoms that may be acquired by the aboriginal peoples of Canada by way of land claims settlement.

thereby entrenching the Royal Proclamation’s statements concerning the aboriginal peoples as a part of the Constitution of our country.

But, surely it’s easy to dismiss Section 25, isn’t it?

Certainly, if you want to get together a Constitutional Amendment and get it passed any Charter challenges and then get it through Section 35:

(a) a constitutional conference that includes in its agenda an item relating to the proposed amendment, composed of the Prime Minister of Canada and the first ministers of the provinces, will be convened by the Prime Minister of Canada; and
(b) the Prime Minister of Canada will invite representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada to participate in the discussions on that item

and then get (from Section 38)

(a) resolutions of the Senate and the House of Commons; and

(b) resolutions of the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the provinces that have, in the aggregate, according to the then latest general census, at least fifty per cent of the population of the provinces.

So, yes, it’s as easy as that to argue that aboriginal peoples don’t constitute “Nations” and so the Treaties aren’t “Nation to Nation” agreements.

As easy as that.

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