APTN News puts the Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework InFocus

It’s an issue that has taken up its fair share of the media spotlight over the past few months – but do people understand what the Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework actually is?

InFocus Host Melissa Ridgen navigates through this proposed federal legislation that the Liberal government has been working on since February 14, 2018.

Those who have been following it say it’s a move in the wrong direction.

Niigaan Sinclair, a professor at the University of Manitoba, joined InFocus to clarify what the framework is.

“The basic premise for what you need to understand is that, since Canada’s confederation, Canada has sought to control, extinguish, exterminate rights of Indigenous peoples, which they have recognized as part of the Royal proclamation of 1763 and moving forward,” Sinclair said.

“Ever since that position, the government has tried to fit within their legal boundaries and frameworks to recognize Indigenous nations in sort of a limited way”.

But will the framework, if it goes through, actually recognize Indigenous rights?

“The government understands our rights as something to be articulated later, like an empty box,” Sinclair said. “Something that we claim fundamentally different which we have, what’s called inherent rights and sovereignty which predates Canada. We have rights, practices, traditions, out languages for example, which we have continued, both at Contact and confederation and continue to have today.

“But Canada wants to take those rights and have them TBA, or to be determined later. And that’s very costly.”

InFocus ran a poll on Facebook asking if people understood the framework being proposed by the government.

Of the 249 people who responded, 86 per cent said no.

Russ Diabo is a policy analyst and has been active in Indigenous politics for decades.

“This framework is a colonial process,” said Diabo. “You know I’m not surprised that 80 some per cent of the people that were in your pole didn’t understand what the framework was about because the Trudeau government has been operating by by-passing our people and misleading them for the past three years.

“It’s been a top down approach using the national Indigenous organizations rather than bottom up, talking to the rights holders, to the people in the communities and nations.”

The government originally wanted to table the framework legislation by Christmas but it is unclear whether that is going to happen.