Minister ponders appointment to Supreme Court.OTTAWA
Should there be a permanent. Aboriginal presence on the highest court in the land? It's a debate that is just beginning in Ottawa.
Two spots will open up on the Supreme Court of Canada The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. in June because justices Louise Arbour Louise Arbour (born February 10, 1947 in Montreal, Quebec) is the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. and Frank Iacobucci Frank Iacobucci, CC (born January 29 1937) was a Puisne Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada from 1991 to 2004 when he retired from the bench. He is an expert in business and tax law. Early career
The son of Italian immigrants, Iacobucci was born in Vancouver. have resigned from the court. Iacobucci will retire. Arbour will leave to head up the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
With the announcement of those departures, lobby efforts directed at Justice Minister Irwin Cotler Irwin Cotler, PC , MP , OC , BA , BCL , LL.D , Ph.D (born May 8, 1940) was Canada's Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 until the Liberal government of Paul Martin lost power following the 2006 federal election. are heating up. Earlier this year, he floated the idea of a hard-wired spot for an Aboriginal justice on the Supreme Court. Though he has made no public statement on the issue since, Cotler's idea was seized upon quickly. Ottawa lawyer Dave Nahwegahbo wrote an opinion piece for the Ottawa Citizen The Ottawa Citizen (established 1845) is an English-language daily newspaper owned by CanWest Global in Ottawa, Canada. According to the Canadian Newspaper Association, the paper has a circulation of 141,540. in favor of the move. Grand Chief Chris McCormick of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI Noun 1. AIAI - a fundamentalist Islamic group in Somalia who initially did fundraising for al-Qaeda; responsible for ambushing United States Army Rangers and for terrorist bombings in Ethiopia; believed to have branches in several countries ) is actively lobbying for the appointment of a citizen from one of his organization's communities. Aboriginal Senator Charlie Watt Charlie Watt (born June 29 1944) is a Canadian Senator.
A hunter and businessman by profession, Watt is an Inuk and has served as Northern officer with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs from 1969 to 1979 and founded the Northern Quebec Inuit Association wrote in a letter to Cotler that appointing an Aboriginal person to the Supreme Court of Canada is "long overdue."
"The Supreme Court is one of our great symbols of justice and equality in this country and it would be a tremendous step forward for the cause of justice to have an Aboriginal justice appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. You will be criticized for this initiative, but I know you will not be daunted daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin because you have dedicated your life to justice and applied yourself to very difficult human rights cases."
There are about 17 Aboriginal judges in Canada, said lawyer Dianne Corbiere, the president of the Indigenous Bar Association (IBA IBA
International Bar Association
IBA (in Britain) Independent Broadcasting Authority
IBA n abbr (Brit) (= Independent Broadcasting Authority ). The IBA believes any one of those judges would be able to make a solid contribution to the Supreme Court.
In Aboriginal Judicial Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada, an IBA-commissioned paper prepared by lawyers Albert Peeling and James Hopkins, it states that reserving a seat for an Aboriginal justice would not be unprecedented. The Supreme Court already reserves three spots for Quebec, three for Ontario, two for the West and one for Atlantic Canada.
They write that the appointment of an Aboriginal justice would be a move that is consistent with Canadian "legal pluralism This article is about the concept of legal pluralism. For other uses of the term see, see Pluralism.
Legal pluralism allows for moral laws that are unwritten as formal laws. ," a term used to describe a situation where several legal traditions are combined in one legal system. Legal pluralism already exists in Canada, they argue, because Quebec does not rely on British common law, as do all other Canadian provinces, but on civil law that evolved in France. If two approaches can be accommodated in one system, they ask, then why not three or more?
"Aboriginal rights under S. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982--rights based in part upon the laws and customs of the Aboriginal people--constitutionally recognizes those laws and customs in the same way that the Quebec civil law is recognized. That recognition carries with it a need to change the judicial institutions in this country to ensure they are, in form and substance, capable of administering those laws," the lawyers wrote. "Just as the recognition of the civil law of Quebec makes it necessary that there be representation of Quebec judges specifically on the Supreme Court, so too does the recognition of Aboriginal laws and customs as living law in Canada make Aboriginal representation necessary if the legitimate claim of the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter in cases concerning Aboriginal peoples is to be maintained."
Hopkins and Peeling argue that mainstream Canadians don't appreciate the role played historically by the many varied Indigenous peoples The term indigenous peoples has no universal, standard or fixed definition, but can be used about any ethnic group who inhabit the geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection. who greeted the European newcomers as they fanned out across the land now known as Canada. They say Canadians need to come to terms with the real history of this country, as opposed to the biased and revisionist re·vi·sion·ism
1. Advocacy of the revision of an accepted, usually long-standing view, theory, or doctrine, especially a revision of historical events and movements.
2. version of what has come to be generally accepted in the mainstream as the true facts about the colonial period Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.
"Despite the fact that Aboriginal peoples are the bedrock of present-day Canada, despite the fact that Aboriginal peoples were historically military and political partners in the Seven Years War Seven Years War, 1756–63, worldwide war fought in Europe, North America, and India between France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and (after 1762) Spain on the one side and Prussia, Great Britain, and Hanover on the other. , the American Revolution American Revolution, 1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence. and the War of 1812, and despite the fact that there have been repeated constitutional recognitions and affirmations of that fact, there has been only recently and incompletely the dim recognition of Aboriginal peoples as partners in Confederation," they wrote.
They say Aboriginal people are unlike any other minority in Canada; that three distinct people came together to form modern Canada. "These founding nations are the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, the French and the British respectively, and their relationship constituted Canada."
Paul Chartrand is a Metis Metis (mē`tĭs), in astronomy, one of the 39 known moons, or natural satellites, of Jupiter.
goddess of caution and discretion. [Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 242]
See : Prudence man and law professor at the University of Saskatchewan The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is a coeducational public research university located on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The University is celebrating its centennial year in 2007. . He said that an Aboriginal perspective should be represented in the Supreme Court, but disagreed with the approach taken by Peeling and Hopkins.
"Their main argument was that Canada is constitutionally based on the participation of Aboriginal people and I believe that's not the best approach," he said. "Aboriginal people were never involved in the actual creation of the institutions, and it's important to note that Aboriginal people have not participated. So in order to effect Aboriginal participation, Aboriginal people must be included in institutions that matter, where decisions are made. I think that's a better approach because there's no risk of being accused of historical revisionism Historical revisionism has both a legitimate academic use and a pejorative meaning.
Within the academic field of history, historical revisionism is the critical reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards rewriting histories with newly discovered ."
Conservative Party of Canada For the historical political party, see Conservative Party of Canada (pre-1942)
The Conservative Party of Canada (French: Parti conservateur du Canada), colloquially known as the "Tories", is a conservative political party in Canada, formed by the merger of the Justice critic Vic Toews Victor "Vic" Toews, PC, MP [teıvz] (born September 10, 1952) is a Canadian politician. He has represented Provencher in the Canadian House of Commons since 2000, and currently serves in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper as President of the Treasury Board. , in a published report, rejected the idea of an Aboriginal justice on the Supreme Court, saying it would require that other appointments would need to be made from other ethnic groups.
"I am sure there are many competent Aboriginals, but I think race is one of the last things we should look at," Toews told the Ottawa Citizen. "Where do you stop? We have very competent Chinese people The following is a '''list of famous Chinese-speaking/writing people. Note in Chinese names, the family name is typically placed first (for example, the family name of "Xu Feng" is "Xu"). , very competent Mennonites, and we don't see any Mennonites on the Supreme Court. I just think it's a terrible precedent to start judging people on the basis of their race." Chartrand said Toews' views represent a widely held but deeply flawed understanding of Canadian history.
"The concept of race has no biological or scientific basis. The consensus amongst all social scientists, all scientists actually, is there's no such thing as race. So we can put that aside. Race is an idea. It's a word that is commonly used to refer to people that have been singled out for political purposes," he said. "It's an empty label used to denote people for political purposes."
Aboriginal peoples have indeed been singled out for political reasons and were treated differently from Europeans who moved onto their land, he said, and the distinction is one that was first made by the Europeans. And it is for precisely that reason that Aboriginal peoples need representation in Canadian institutions.
"We're not talking about the personal antecedents of individuals. We're not talking about their ancestry. We're talking about historic nations who are political and social in their nature. The nations are made up of communities of people who live together who have special rights protected in the Constitution," he said. "That's what Aboriginal peoples are. It's what distinguishes Aboriginal peoples. So the basis for understanding Aboriginal rights are in history and there are different ways of explaining it, but the Supreme Court has said it's because Aboriginal people were here. You can't just come over and take over people's land. That's done through either warfare or theft. Take your pick. And because you just can't take over people's property, the people's rights are based on the fact that this is their land. That's all it is. The land was not empty; there were people here. So that's the reason. These are historical nations."
And it's not based on race at all, he insisted.
"We're fighting a rear-guard action against the unthinking, the people who have not really thought through these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. ," he said. "Some people have pointed out that this kind of thinking still works a bit in Canada because of the immigrant population who have no sense of Canadian history. They come here from somewhere else and they want to be treated equally and they don't understand that there's a history of pre-agreements here."
Treaties are "compacts of Confederation" and part of the most fundamental fabric of this country, but that's a concept that is not easy to grasp for non-Aboriginal people or those who do not study such complex matters in detail, Chartrand added.
"Groups agreed to join Canada. That's a fundamental constitutional agreement to join the country. You can't just say, 'Well, forget those constitutional, historic promises that constituted the country.' You can't do that," he said. "The sources of these special constitutional rights are in history, and without an appreciation of history one cannot understand them."
The prime minister has the final word on who gets appointed to the Supreme Court. But the standing committee on justice, human rights, public safety and emergency preparedness, chaired by Liberal MP Derek Lee, is examining alternative ways to appoint judges as part of the prime minister's plan to give more power back to MPs.
By Paul Barnsley
Windspeaker Staff Writer