Chiefs of Ontario United Against Bill C-53, Citing Infringement on First Nations Rights

Grand Council Chief Glen Hare
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare

The Proposed Federal Law could Grant Rights to Illegitimate Groups, Jeopardizing First Nations Inherent, Treaty, and Aboriginal Rights

MNO Claims Deemed Unsubstantiated By COO

TORONTO – Indigenous News – The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) continue their united front in support of First Nations in the Ontario region. Their main focus lies in safeguarding First Nations rights from the threat posed by Bill C-53. This proposed federal law aims to acknowledge supposed communities represented by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) as holding section 35 rights under the Constitution. The COO argues that such recognition lacks a credible factual or legal basis.

Canada’s quick progression with an Agreement and accompanying legislation has drawn criticism from the COO for its lack of legitimate justification. They accuse Canada of attempting to shield MNO’s communities and their allegedly false claims from rights-holders and public scrutiny.

Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare criticized the MNO’s approach, stating, “MNO continues to build its case based on misrepresentations, outright falsehoods, and sweeping unsupportable statements. The historical ‘communities’ that MNO claims to represent have never factually existed.”

Protocol Misuse and Mischaracterizations

COO points out that the MNO’s argument leans heavily on a political protocol signed in 2004, which was intended for establishing regular meetings and developing mutual understandings. However, the protocol was never fully implemented and has been terminated for over 12 years.

Specifically, COO noted that the MNO was asserting alleged “Métis” rights that clashed with First Nations’ Inherent, Treaty, and Aboriginal rights. This led to the termination of the protocol with the MNO on January 1, 2011.

The MNO also stands accused of misconstruing a pipe ceremony that took place at the 2005 Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly and misrepresenting legislation passed by the Anishinabek Nation last year.

Implications of Bill C-53 and Call for Action

Bill C-53, according to COO, exemplifies modern colonization and strays from the path towards true reconciliation. They claim that Canada, without due diligence or consultation, is unlawfully creating new section 35 rights-holding entities that could infringe upon their territories.

The Chiefs of Ontario have called on Canada and the MNO multiple times to address the presented evidence. They claim their concerns and evidence have been overlooked, leading to further uncertainty about the true intentions of Canada and the MNO.

If passed, Bill C-53 could grant rights to illegitimate groups in First Nations’ territories, thereby undermining their Inherent, Treaty, and Aboriginal rights. The Chiefs of Ontario remain resolute in their commitment to protect First Nations rights and demand that the basis for Bill C-53 undergo thorough scrutiny with the full involvement of First Nations rights-holders.

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