Category Archives: Aboriginal Issues

The New “Tobacco” Monopoly

We knew this was coming:

Under the federal government’s Bill C-45, provinces and territories were responsible for determining how cannabis is distributed and sold. But where indigenous communities – which fall under the federal Indian Act – fit into this picture is still unclear, given questions about jurisdiction and self-governance.

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott told the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples earlier this month that the government is working on addressing concerns regarding jurisdictional issues.

“I know that indigenous communities, organizations and businesses have spoken up about jurisdictional concerns but specifically the exercise of First Nation bylaw-making powers in relation to the legalization and regulation of cannabis,” Philpott told the committee.

“Our government recognizes and respects the jurisdiction of indigenous governments. We will continue to work with First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities to address and accommodate jurisdictional issues in an appropriate way moving forward.”

In Ontario, the only legal option to purchase cannabis until April will be through the province-run online store. Under the province’s proposed legislation, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will grant licenses to private retailers ahead of an April 1 launch.

Under the same proposed legislation, First Nations can opt out of that private retail model through a band council resolution. Brian Gray, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, said in an emailed statement that any store located within a First Nations reserve would require approval by the communities’ Chief and Council via band resolution before the AGCO issues a license.

 

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Alberta chief and council award themselves nearly $700,000 in bonuses from band-owned company

An Alberta First Nation is mired in controversy after its chief and council recently awarded themselves bonuses worth nearly $700,000, apparently unbeknownst to the band membership until after the cheques were cut.

The Bigstone Cree Nation band council’s decision to take a payment from a band-owned company it controls points to problems with the band’s governance and could be unlawful, according to Sean Jones, a Vancouver lawyer practising Indigenous law.

We must respect their culture.

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Supreme Court rules Ottawa has no duty to consult with Indigenous people before drafting laws

Canada’s lawmakers do not have a duty to consult with Indigenous people before introducing legislation that may affect constitutionally protected Indigenous and treaty rights, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decision will be welcomed by the federal government, which has argued such an obligation would be far too onerous and slow down the legislative process considerably.

In its 7-2 decision, the top court has ruled against the Mikisew Cree First Nation on the duty to consult matter.

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Cultural gathering at Nathan Phillips Square offers chance to learn about residential schools

The Indian Residential Schools Survivors Legacy Celebration aims to spread awareness about its namesake project, a collaboration between Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, which will consist of an Indigenous healing garden at Nathan Phillips Square centred around a sculpture.

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Liberals considering ‘giving’ Trans Mountain to First Nations

“The possibility of giving the pipeline to First Nations (or at least a share of Trans Mountain) has come up at cabinet level,” a senior Liberal government source told Postmedia on Tuesday.

A few billion here, a few billion there… and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

h/t Marvin

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Some skeptical new holiday will help Canadians reflect on residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering the legacy of Canada’s residential school system has drawn mixed reactions from Indigenous Canadians, with responses to the plan ranging from cautious optimism to open disdain.

Many have expressed concern that such an occasion — dedicated to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples — could simply devolve into another day off for most Canadians, and note that a lot of work will need to be done if the day is to achieve its goal.

Some???

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