This is a re-hashed statement (via news release) from the New Democratic Party’s Aboriginal Affairs critic, Jean Crowder. She read the statement during Question period in the Canadian House of Commons.

Apparently, someone NOT in the Prime Minister’s Office did notice Harper’s little bit of revisionist Canadian history.

Subject: Jean Crowder’s statement in the House of Commons September 28,

This is my Member’s Statement in response to the Prime Minister’s statement that Canada has no history of colonialism.

“On September 25th at the close of the G20, the Prime Minister told reporters at a news conference that Canada has “no history of colonialism.”

That came as a surprise to many Canadians, not least of all Aboriginal peoples.

Maybe the Prime Minister has a different definition of colonialism. My dictionary says that it is “control by one power over a dependent area or people or a policy advocating or based on such control.”

The Indian Act was a colonial piece of legislation passed by Canada. It legislated that the Government of Canada would have power over Indians living on reserve.

The numbered treaties were signed with Canada, not Britain or France. Those numbered treaties took control of the resources and land that Aboriginal peoples had lived on for millennia. The land involved is from Ontario west to the Rockies.

In court cases today, the Government of Canada uses a remnant of colonial expansion – “the right of discovery” as a defence to explain why it will not honour agreements.

Bands in British Columbia have to prove that indigenous people were living in their communities with archaeological evidence going back thousands of years because the government still argues “terra nullius” or “land empty of people” as a reason why it doesn’t need to sign fair treaties with First Nations.

Mr. Speaker, Canada does have a history of colonialism. Reconciliation won’t happen until our Prime Minister admits that.”

Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan
NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic
613-943-2180 fax 613-993-5577