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Posted: January 26, 2020

Suspicion of hereditary power is legitimate

By Dr. Brian Horejsi

Op-Ed Commentary

We’ve recently seen a handful of Aboriginal Band chiefs – the Hereditary faction of Band rulers – take action on two fronts to either prevent the Coastal GasLink pipeline from being built, or delay it until they extract more money from taxpayers. Time will tell which. The big question is why?

First problem is, they’ve been allowed to challenge the pipeline in court, something they can do because Pierre Trudeau snuck an exception for Aboriginal Bands into our constitution. Canadians never endorsed inclusion of that clause in the constitution, in fact, we were never asked about it. The vast majority of Canadians have in fact been denied standing to challenge that or any other pipeline in court!

My hunch is the chiefs are not doing this for the good of Canadians – they’re into it for power and influence, and perhaps cash, for themselves, and those who are the “hereditary” faction. With aboriginal bands it always seems to be about “my” or “our” people, never about Canadians.

Canadians – tens of thousands of them – believe they too should have power and they should have as much constitutional right as appointed chiefs to oppose this pipeline, should they choose to participate. Remember, these are chiefs of an Aboriginal Band that totals 256 people, about the same as a very small village in any part of Canada. This band claims control over 22,000 km2 of land, or 85 km2 per person, which happens to be 475 greater than the .18 km2 share of public land for each person in B.C.

Our governments, in contrast with failure by earlier governments, should move immediately to clearly establish public ownership and control of this land. The nation, the province, and millions of people depend on public land, and will even more so in the future. This is turning into a legal, democratic train wreck!

Second, these traditional chiefs, representing only a small percent of their bands – smaller even than the percent of aboriginals in Canada’s total population –  have been granted, through that constitutional favour, extreme authority to be “consulted.” The push by Aboriginals from around the world, facilitated by the United Nations, is demanding “reconciliation, consultation and consent;” all of which they insist they and only they, can define. In other words, they demand the vast majority of Canadians relinquish environmental, social, legal and economic power to a very small minority.

Demanding “nation to nation” talks is not only absurd, but should offend every Canadian and every mayor and municipality in the country, all of whom function within a version of democratic governance and all of which represent far more Canadians.

We have something in common ground with the hereditary chiefs if they are acting because the pipeline will be destructive for all Canadians; but many Canadians do not share the aboriginal opposition if the chiefs are acting solely for themselves and a hand full of disciples.

No country, no matter how much propaganda is blasted at citizens, has a hope in hell of functioning with a stated goal of equality in the eyes of the law and the political system when Aboriginal bands, representing a few hundred people, have two levels of government (hereditary and elected) and then demand equality with provincial and federal governments; and to rubs salt into the wound, they insist on excluding 33 million Canadians from the conversation!

Canadian governments – particularly the Trudeau version and the province of B.C., particularly the Horgan version – have crippled democracy, equality of citizenship, and tied our legal system in knots because of deliberate, but naïve, state driven manipulation favouring Aboriginal bands, all without consulting citizens, taxpayers and voters. Polls suggest that Canadians do not support this bigoted agenda.

It is going to take an uprising of Canadian citizens to bring this to a grinding halt, and soon. It’s already unmanageable. How far will we let this go?

– Dr. Brian L. Horejsi is a wildlife and forest ecologist and a resident of B.C. He writes about environmental affairs, public resource management and governance and its entrenched legal and social bias.

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