Tom Mulcair has voiced his opinion on the Idle No More Movement through a recent editorial opinion for The Toronto Star. The Idle No More Movement has not been one of uniformity in voice. However, while the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada speak with differing opinions, the overarching message is, for Mulcair, undoubtedly identical: there needs to be a redefining of relationships amongst the peoples of Canada.
Since the Royal Proclamation of 1763, numerous federal policies based on segregation and assimilation have led to social injustices. They have denied indigenous peoples a seat at the discussion table. For example, on-reserve schools receive far less funding than provincially run schools.
Under the Constitution Act, the federal government has a legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations prior to passing legislation that affects aboriginal lands, waters and communities. According to New Democrat Tom Mulcair, in contrast to this constitutional duty, the Conservatives have cut the Navigable Waters Protections Act and weakened environmental protection laws. He writes, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s failure to follow through on his own obligations concerning aboriginal and treaty rights is at the root of our current crisis.” He claims that the federal government must develop a concrete plan to fix the broken relationship between the First Nations and the government. Mulcair claims that what Canada needs is “real consultations, so that First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities have the tools they need to grow and prosper beyond the colonial-era Indian Act.”
For the full article from The Toronto Star: