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Sunday, January 8, 2017

#TNC: The #Treaty #Nations of #Canada

Depending on how you look at it (see below), Canada was conceived in 1840, born in 1867, grew and developed into adolescence in 1982, and may have graduated high-school in 1999. Now, having formed a the first ideas of who we may be and might wish to become, we've entered Truth and Reconciliation University as our higher brains and decision making abilities mature and expand to the realities of adulthood. We take on responsibility. British North America has developed into colonial province, into a dominion of an empire, then an immature country, and now it needs to mature into a true federation of the Treaty Nations of Canada (T N.C, which could also generally refer to the foundational Three  Nations of Canada).

Canada started as a colony and remained one in exploitative spirit, practice, and reality, until 1982. However it still retains the spirit and far too many of the practice. We remain exploiters of people, places, and resources, dependent of exports that are developed then sold back to us for the benefit of the colonizers. We were a British colony, then an American one, and we're now aiming to serve China, multinational corporate shareholders, or our own pension fund investments. We actually colonize ourselves now, mercenary self-exploiters too dependent to break free and develop our labour labour, land, and resources for our own good.

We were never a confederation. Our present federation recognizes only two participants and founders. However there was a third "nation', actually many independent nations, who made legally binding treaties with the anglophone and francophone "nations" that enabled Canada to develop and grow past infancy. Treaties without which there could have been no Canada in its current form. Treaties immediately ignored as the government pushed the majority of the nations out of the way and waited for their inevitable doom to take away the Indian Problem. When it didn't they tried to kill the inner Indian.The walking wounded of the Betrayed Nations of America are everywhere among us. We continue to blame the victims of the crimes of colony and glorify the criminals.

Maturity as a modern diverse democratic state requires not only reconciliation, but the reformation of our federation and the renewal and return to the founding treaties.

The Confederation of Canada needs to grow-up and realize who it really is and always should have been, a peaceful federation of the Treaty Nations of Canada. We need to fully abandon the dependent mentality of dominion in service to foreign empire and end the exploitation of our colonial culture. Ditching the symbolic monarchy and its patriarchal governors for a Canadian head of state perhaps elected from a senate turned into an Assembly of Founding Nations, representing all provinces, territories, and First Nations.

We could change the Parliament of Canada to the Parliamentary Treaty Assembly of Canada without changing the House of Commons or renaming Parliament Hill and such.  The House would still be governed by the majority party and led by the Prime Minister. The Senate could be changed to the Council of Elders with the recent changes continued and expanded toward complete Red Chamber independence, demographic representation, and merit.  The present number of Elders could be divided or increased to include each of the First Nations.  

Getting rid of the colonial governors, we could fill the role of head of state with an individual elected from the senate or a similar pool of qualified prospects, perhaps with emphasis on constitutional knowledge, federal court experience, and/or a background in education or diplomacy. Once nominated by a variety of possible methods, the head of state would be elected or confirmed by a free vote of both chambers of the Assembly and officially appointed by the PM as usual. They would function in the capacity and roles but would have actual legitimacy and independence in their duties regarding enacting laws, parliament creation and dissolution, loss of confidence, coalition creation in lieu of majority, and constitutional crisis.

I’m not sure what to call our replacements for a hereditary monarch and privileged appointees, but here are some thoughts in no particular order:
  • National Elder and  Regional Elders
  • National Chief and Regional Chiefs
  • Treaty Grand Chief and Treaty Chiefs
  • Treaty Chief and Treaty Elders
  • Assembly Grand Chief and Assembly Chiefs
  • Treaty Speaker and Regional Speakers
  • Grand Elder and Regional Elders
  • Treaty Guide and Regional Guides
  • Assembly Guide and Regional Elders
Let's make Canada Day our independence day from colonialism, betrayal, and attempted genocide. Let it be our day of celebration for all the milestones and treaties and immigrant "nations" that have woven the present Canadian federation in hopes of creating one that we can all love without the conflicted pain of an abused child.

I am a child of colonization benefiting from a treaty inheritance, stolen from the siblings who shared it freely.

I am a citizen of Treaty Nations of Canada, bound by agreements and respect for fellow citizens.

I am Canadian.


Canada is celebrating 150 years of… what, exactly?

How to count the country’s age may depend on how you look at things.

You don't look a day past 149

The year 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation. Or rather, what we've come to call Confederation.
Canada is actually a federation, but the term Confederation caught on in the in the 19th century and it stuck — we've named squares and bridges after it, we refer to the "Fathers of Confederation" (and the Mothers too!), and the word has come to represent the country and the events that created it.
"It" being "one Dominion under the crown," a.k.a. the Dominion of Canada, as per the British North America Act of 1867 that unified the colonies (Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).
 BNA Act
 Leaders gathered in Quebec City 150 years ago to create the British North America Act. ( Library and Archives Canada)

Union wasn't a new concept — the idea was first presented in early 1800s, and the Act of Union in 1840 saw Upper and Lower Canada (English- and French-speaking Canada respectively, more or less) tie the knot to form the Province of Canada.
On July 1, 1867, it was just four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) that composed the new Dominion of Canada. The rest of the provinces and territories joined and were formed over time, Nunavut being the most recent, which officially separated from Northwest Territories in 1999. So you could say that Canada as we know it — ten provinces and three territories — is turning 18.

Your ID says 35

In 1982, Canada "patriated" the constitution, a political process that led to Canadian sovereignty, allowing Canadians to amend our Constitution without requiring Britain's approval. This, the Constitution Act of 1982, was a landmark event and enacted our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yes, this declaration of independence took place in the '80s, and it was in 1982 that "Dominion Day," aka July 1, was renamed in Parliament to "Canada Day."

Oh Canada, you millennial, you.


Queen Elizabeth signed the proclamation of the patriation of the Canadian Constitution on April 17, 1982, followed by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau. (Canadian Press)

(And if we're being technical, the Constitution Act itself cleaned up a bit of unfinished business from the Statute of Westminster in 1931, in which Britain granted each of the Dominions full legal autonomy if they chose to accept it. All but one Dominion — that would be us, Canada — chose to accept every resolution. Our leaders couldn't decide on how to amend the Constitution, so that power stayed with Britain until 1982.)

Our home on Native land?

For many Indigenous people (and non-Indig people, too), Canada exists on stolen land. While multiple First Nations have treaty agreements with Canada, others do not; there are unceded territories, and broken treaties too.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763, enshrined in our current Constitution Act, says that any land not given up by treaty belongs to First Nations, which some argue would make the occupation of most of B.C. illegal in our own laws — a position not shared by the Province of British Columbia, it should be noted.


The fight for Indigenous rights is as old as this country. Here, Buffy Sainte-Marie, at a rally of Aboriginal people in Edmonton on November 19, 1981 urged people to look at the elders because they have "been fighting for rights all their lives just to get you where you are today". (CP PHOTO/Dave Buston) (Canadian Press)

Sesquicen... what?

Sesquicentennial. Ses·qui·cen·ten·ni·al. It means a one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, and if you perfect the pronunciation it's a real crowd pleaser.

You're not the only one

The coming year isn't being touted as a big anniversary for just Canada: Montreal is marking 375 years since Fort Ville-Marie was founded in 1642, and in sports, the National Hockey League is celebrating its centennial year and the Ottawa Senators their 25th.


As a city, Montreal is older than Canada. Sherbrooke Street in winter, Montreal, QC, 1896. Detail from a photograph by William Notman & Son 1896.

A year by any other name

Call it Canada 150 or simply 2017, this year is an occasion to reflect back and look forward; 2017 marks 150 years since a turning point in history, but the future is ever open.
Could 2017 mark a watershed, too? In the age of Truth and Reconciliation, climate change and our American neighbour's political shakeup… what do we want to be when we grow up? What will the country at its tricentennial — if we're still giving a nod to Confederation in 2167 — look back at and remember of this year?
It's your birthday, Canada, make a wish. Make it count.

Everything is always in process 
Only compassion defeats dehumanization.