Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canada hates on the UN...or does it?

Care of the CBC:

Canada to vote against UN declaration on native rights


Okay so, somewhat hysterically, we are joining forces with "New Zealand, the United States and Australia" in dissenting on the non-binding declaration.

As an aside, I'm not sure why we'd be so up-in-arms about a non-binding declaration, considering that we don't even consider binding agreements to be binding: see Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 SCC 1 (CanLII).

Anyway, the government's stated reason is that the declaration "lacks clear guidance for implementation and conflicts with the existing Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which the government believes already protects the rights of aboriginals."

I can see where this provision would cause problems:

Article 26 of the UN declaration states: "Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired."

Could they vague that up a little? Don't get me wrong, I am all about aboriginal rights, but I think the focus on land is a little ridiculous for 2007. Especially since history has shown that land isn't a panacea if it doesn't include jobs, healthcare, safe water, and so on. Land itself can provide these things, but not necessarily.

So I can see how the government might have sincere concerns here.

...I don't think they do...but I can see how the could...

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