The Chiefs of Ontario and Ontario have signed what they are calling a historic document.
A Political Accord that is aimed at, well, we aren’t really sure yet but it sounds good.
During the signing in Toronto Monday they talked about affirming First Nations’ inherent right to self government based upon respect.
They talked about working together on items of mutual interest.
What kind of items?
Resource development, benefits and sharing, the treaty relationship and jurisdictional issues...hmmm.
The agreement is supposed to a path forward for reconciliation between “First Nations’ and Ontario and here we go, right near the bottom, a commitment. To what? To meeting twice a year.
Finally a lot of smoke and mirrors but a commitment to two meetings.
Now, those are some pretty heavy duty, big ticket items for just two meetings a year.
Especially when what really appears to be happening is Ontario is getting ready to stop any major legal battles coming from indigenous people in the province over Ontario’s continued intrusion into First Nation communities and demands to do it the Wynne way or no way!
And the accord does not change that Ontario attitude.
Instead it enhances it.
The accord clearly states “That First Nations have an inherent right to self-government and that the relationship between Ontario and the First Nations must be based upon respect for this right. An inherent right to self-government may be given legal effect by specific rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, or through negotiated agreements and legislation.”
In other words, the inherent right to self-government exists as long as we say it does.
That’s right the accord allows Ontario to determine whether or not any band in the province has a right to self-government.
So one has to ask what prompted “First Nations’ In Ontario to sign a document that agrees to the right to self government, but only if you are a government recognized body that exists either through a negotiated agreement or legislation.
Traditional governance structures like the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council are not part of the equation and that is exactly what Ontario’s grander picture includes.
With Haudenosaunee/Six Nations land and treaty rights all invested in the Confederacy Wynne’s government can very easily tell the Six Nations Elected Band Council that it doesn’t recognize its “inherent” right to self government.
It only has the rights Canada, or Ontario allow it to have.
And Six Nations band council isn’t alone. That same interpretation can be applied across Ontario to all elected band council systems.
This is nothing new for Wynne.
As long as the media spotlight is shining on a signing ceremony, Wynne keeps the doors closed when negotiations with First Nations begin.
Just ask the communities surrounding the Ring of Fire what has been going on with the “Wynne” imposed tables.
And they aren’t alone.
Instead of working with the HCCC Wynne allowed a communication protocol to expire two years ago and refuses t renew it.
Instead creating another one of her “Wynne tables” known throughout Ontario First Nations communities as, the Wynne take it or lose it tables.
Kathleen Wynne wants to bring a brighter future for First Nations in Ontario, but her idea of a brighter future is not to interfere with Ontario’s economy and with a recession hovering, the last thing Wynne wants to see is a loss of potential revenue from the Ontario tax base.
The protocol is a nice little document to wave at party fund raising events but it is certainly not a forward document.
Instead Wynne is moving the inherent rights and interests of indigenous peoples back 200 years to the land grabs of the 1800s and creation of “Indian reserves.”
There is nothing to celebrate in a document that dictates to indigenous people, who they are and what they will be allowed to be.
And that is a legacy of Kathleen Wynne.