APTN National News
A review of a controversial Crown brief that implied the Mi’kmaq are a conquered people is now complete, but Nova Scotia’s justice minister refused Wednesday to divulge its contents.
“I’ve seen the report and I’m not able to give any information about it,” Diana Whalen said after a cabinet meeting. “It’s got a lot of legal and personnel information in it.”
Whalen initiated the review after Mi’kmaq groups raised objections to the government’s decision to have Crown lawyer Alex Cameron handle a case involving the Indian Brook First Nation.
Late last year, the band argued that a plan by Alton Natural Gas Storage to create storage caverns near Stewiacke poses an environmental risk to the nearby Shubenacadie River.
They objected to the government’s legal brief, which argued the province’s duty to consult on such issues extended only to “unconquered people.”
The Mi’kmaq also drew attention to the fact that Cameron had written a book in 2009 that attacked the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark Marshall decision on aboriginal fishing rights.
The Justice Department subsequently removed Cameron from the case.
Premier Stephen McNeil later apologized to Mi’kmaq chiefs and distanced the government from the legal position, saying it didn’t reflect the government’s view that it has a duty to consult on issues of importance to First Nations.
The offensive section of the brief was also removed from the government’s argument.
Whalen said the review does have some ideas that could change the way things are done in her department, but she wouldn’t elaborate.
However, she confirmed the report did not discuss the actions of any elected officials.
When she announced the review last fall, Whalen said it would look at how justice files are generated and how they are reviewed within the department.
In a written decision released in January, a provincial Supreme Court justice quashed the province’s rejection of the band’s appeal of the Alton project, saying the band was denied procedural fairness.
2 thoughts on “N.S. review of ‘conquered people’ brief complete, but minister won’t comment”
The only reason the N.S. government did not go ahead with the offensive section of the brief stating that we were a conquered nation was because they knew that argument would have been shot down by the courts, too much historical evidence showing we never ceded our independence or sovereignty to any foreign powers, signing of the Peace and Friendship Treaties is one, signed Nation to Nation, and never fought in war where we were conquered. But it’s not to say that N.S. and justice department would not love to win in court that we are a conquered people, they removed the offensive conquered clause because they were afraid of the courts affirming that we are still sovereign , something we already know but haven’t asserted our jurisdictions in reclaiming and reoccupying our ancestral territories.
Amen. Thank you and your people for your persistence, courage and perseverance.
Your leadership truly represents the principles that guide the responsibilities of our respective nations to ensure proper stewardship of all of our lands and resources.
Your efforts confirm that passion and responsibility can only continue to expose your new rules of engagement with us as First Nations.
The records streak in the courts across this country shows that our nations vision, history and strategic approaches as a major player shows that we as FN”s have and will obtain a huge balance of power over resource access.
Canada and the resource extraction sectors need to look closely and recognize the true cause for stock market drops and the amount of lost opportunities by simply thinking they can develop with out FN engagement and approval.
In the west, this year in Heiltsuk traditional territory the underwater harvesters association extracted close to 30 million in value of geoduck.
No agreements or no intent on recognizing FN’s and our recognized aboriginal rights.
That’s gonna change. If they think for another second that their path is clear. That they think they can continue at a rate without a formal agreement, they have another thing coming.
We can’t totally stop resource extraction, but if Canada and industry want certainty, then they need to look at their approach to how they conduct their businesses in Indian country.
We need to be respected and brought on board as major players.
We will no longer allow irresponsible resource extraction to continue at the cost of affecting and undermining our aboriginal rights and title. This approach of yesterday by industry and Canada has tilted the balance of our marine ecosystem with irresponsible extraction and no regard for us as a people.
No more. Again thank you to the Mikmaw people. Your efforts and vision and approach are exemplary. Your vision and strategy is in line with Mr Donald Marshall whom our leadership respected greatly. Many great leaders from your nations have given us hope as a result of your efforts like John Paul, Allison Metalic and Audrey Mayes.
Have a great day Nation builders
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