Restoring Balance: Putting a Check on Aboriginal Powers with the Notwithstanding Clause
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** This is not a petition to "take away Aboriginal rights", but only to have them reasonably limited like our other rights. Please read below.
Resource development has become extremely difficult in Canada, investment is turning away from our country, and even the federal government cannot complete infrastructure projects.
Aboriginal groups are able to consistently stall resource development through court action, to the point that projects are no longer viable. Our regulatory processes to evaluate mining, forestry, oil, gas, and other major undertakings have become dysfunctional. Attempting to build in an area without Aboriginal consent can mean endless delays, extreme risk, and typically failure. Indigenous groups exercise an effective veto over the use of Canada’s natural resources.
How are Aboriginal groups able to exercise such control over Canada’s resource based economy? And can’t the Canadian or Provincial governments override some Aboriginal rights when there is a clear necessity to do so? The answer: No. They cannot. I will explain why…
Canadians enjoy many rights under our Constitution. These include freedom of speech and religion, liberty, and equality. However, court rulings regarding these rights can be overridden in exceptional situations by the use of our Constitution’s “Notwithstanding Clause”. Canada’s Parliament and Provincial Legislatures can in rare circumstances pass legislation to set aside certain decisions made by a court in order to allow democratically elected officials to have the final say on how the country will function. Representatives elected by the people are ultimately held superior to appointed judges when major matters of public policy are being determined.
If the government can override your freedom of expression or liberty, can’t it override Aboriginal rights and control when absolutely required? No. It cannot. The “Notwithstanding Clause” does not apply to Aboriginal rights. They are inviolable under our Constitution and cannot be overturned. This petition seeks to change that. This Petition seeks to restore balance to our country, and return viability to resource development. Elected governments must have the final say on what can and cannot happen on Crown Land, not the courts or unelected First Nation governments.
We petition the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition the following:
We request the “Notwithstanding Clause” be applied to Aboriginal rights under Canada’s Constitution. Specifically, the following shall be added to the Constitution Act, 1982:
“35.2 (a) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding existing aboriginal or treaty rights.
(b) An Act or a provision of an Act in respect of which a declaration made under this subsection is in effect shall have such operation as it would have but for the existing aboriginal or treaty rights.
(c) A declaration made under paragraph (a) shall cease to have effect five years after it comes into force or on such earlier date as may be specified in the declaration.
(d) Parliament or the legislature of a province may re-enact a declaration made under paragraph (a).
(e) Paragraph (c) applies in respect of a re-enactment made under paragraph (d).”
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