Let me see. For centuries, the standard operating procedure in Canada with developers, corporations, and governments at all levels was so simple: just push the Indians out of the way and take the land. What can they do? They have no rights. No political or economic power. Nothing.

Things changed when former Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, pushed through Parliament a Bill of Rights, which led to a Supreme Court of Canada split decision on Indigenous title in Calder … leading to recognition and protection of “existing” Indigenous (Aboriginal) rights in the Canadian Constitution… further recognition of title and access to resources and benefits in Delgamuukw… and decisions that extended existing Indigenous rights in Haida Nation and Taku River to include a “duty to consult” and “accommodate” the rights of Indigenous peoples BEFORE development. This puts the onus on governments to ensure that these rights are respected, even if a company has a licence to operate. 

In other words, the Supreme Court of Canada consistently told the Governments of Canada – in decision after decision – that it was no longer legal to steal Indian land and resources and consign them to endless poverty and marginalization.  

Some people, of course, don’t like it. Nope. It was so much easier, and profitable, when Indians didn’t have any rights at all, and you could just ignore them, take the land from under their feet, and treat them like garbage. So why not just go back to the way things were?

(sigh) Civilisation really is just skin deep. And some people in the media really do have the collective memory of gnats.

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