My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Love it or leave it! Peace.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Canada's Truth Commission: Independent ?

News updates on this topic:,+LaForme&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d RE:

PM's apology was sincere

Worry over Ottawa interference delays residential schools truth commission
It has come to the attention of the media and thus of Canadians like me, that 'Indian' and Northern Affairs Canada is attempting to use funds from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to do INAC's own work. This appears to be a 'clawback' of 'Truth' Commission funds! Without the authorization or even the knowledge of the Truth Commissioner, Justice Harry LaForme, 'Indian' and Northern Affairs Canada has set up an entire department of civil servants reporting Minister Strahl/Harper. Justice LaForme has been told that's 'his' department to pay for out of his TRC budget, but he doesn't get to control it as Strahl/Harper appoints the CEO and controls all funds and the staff. Harry LaForme rightly disagrees. I respectfully also disagree ... vehemently ... with any such attempt by Canada's bureaucrats or politicians to control the Truth Commission on Canada's 'Indian' Residential Schools. The Truth Commission is independent of politics and bureaucracy. The staff is hired by the TRC and reports to the Commissioners. This is mandatory. Otherwise, Canada's 'Truth' Commission is a farce. It WILL be dismissed and turned over to the International Centre for Transitional Justice, out of Canada's control and influence, by people of Canada. Count on it! Canada is the guilty party in a court action, and we Canadians are now making reparations under international law and oversight (ICTJ). Funding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is part of Canada's reparations. However, the Government of Canada does NOT control the funds ($5b publicly announced), nor does Canada control the staff, staffing, the TRC process, nor the results and nor the recommendations, etc. Canada may fund and control its own Truth and Reconciliation department of INAC, for the considerable work we/Canada will have to do to provide information to the Truth Commission. However, those are Canada's own costs and Canada pays for that from its own budget, as will the churches, RCMP, and other 'agencies' required to provide information to the Commission. The TRC does not fund the work of INAC nor of other 'agencies' from which it requires information. And the Government of Canada does NOT allocate TRC funds to INAC, for the work of INAC! NO!!! no? AHH!! But, YES!!! That is EXACTLY what Prime Minister Harper and INAC Minister Strahl have cooked up, to suck the TRC money back into the Corporation of Canada! INAC is funding its own work - an entire department of its own staff reporting to the Minister - with funds from the 'TRUTH' Commission budget, much to Commissioner LaForme's surprise and dismay. Many Canadians share that dismay and deep concern. Canada's integrity is at stake. Canadians cannot be seen to be attempting to control a court-supervised truth-telling process about 'Indian' Residential Schools, in which Canada is the guilty party. The government's actions would be appallingly arrogant and insincere at any time. In a year of 'sincere apology', such behaviour is thoroughly reprehensible. There will be no clawback of Truth Commission money by Canada. These lines of budget and reporting MUST be untangled IMMEDIATELY!!! The Government of Canada DOES NOT CONTROL THE TRC !!! The Government of Canada only controls it's own responsibilities, and presumably INAC. It is Canada's responsibility to fund the Truth Commission. That's all. The Truth Commission will tell Canada what to do from there. Strahl's 'department' will provide information as needed to the TRC, and fund it's own work in doing so. I understand we are likely to have an election soon. Count on the independence of the 'Truth Commission' and the Crown's 'Duty to Consult' as election issues, arising from the people of Canada. Count on it. Because this isn't about this election or any election, nor about any politician or political party. This is about Canada. It's about the collective integrity of the Canadian people. And all of the peoples of Canada will have to have a say about that. Count on that too. ******************* If you agree that Canada's attempt to control the 'Truth' Commission is in error, please send emails of support and concern to TRC Commissioner, Justice Harry LaForme c/0 (Note the email address of the 'Truth' Commission(TRC) - "" - Government of Canada. Gotta get their own secure server!!) And send please send emails of concern to,,,,,,, And to the International Centre for Transitional Justice reps for the Canada program:,,,, And if you wish, First Nations Chiefs of Ontario Angus Toulouse, Ontario Regional Chief c/o COO Policy Advisor
Another blogger's view ...

When I first read this about the Conservatives not giving Justice LaForme and this Commission the independence that it must have in order to perform it's duty, I was left shaking my head wondering what the heck they were thinking. Why would they jeopardize this process? Why would they bring any doubt as to the independence of this Commissions? At the end of the day, as Justice LaForme pointed out, this is part of a class-action settlement, it's not an arm of the government. By it's very nature it's independent of the government.

For their part, of course the Conservatives are denying this completely, stating that the government would never dare to interfere with the commissions independence ...

The facts show us that the Conservatives have a propensity for interfering with independent bodies and commissions to meet their own ideological goals, and I believe that Aboriginal Canadians have every reason to be afraid that they would do this again in regards to this extremely important commission.
WHY would the Government of Canada jeopardize the independence of the court-ordered Truth Commission? Well, it is also true that all political parties and indeed all aspiring politicians in Canada have a stake in the economic status quo. Canada's economy is in 'good shape' because of the natural resource industries. Canada's resource wealth comes from traditional Indigenous land, which Canada and the provinces develop without consultation, consent, and with no share of revenues to the Indigenous communities who have Aboriginal Rights on the land. Throughout the years of discussions of Canada's 'Indian' Residential Schools and Canada's 'Apology', NOT ONCE has it yet been mentioned that the government's real purpose in attempting to destroy Indigenous cultures - by 'retraining' their children - was "to take the land out of Indian hands". (Egerton Ryerson, 1847) Obviously, the Government does not want to discuss that issue! However, in five years of testimony it is likely that some Indigenous people will come forward to the Commission, or directly to the media, to reveal this sordid truth about 'wonderful' Canada: Canada's economy is entirely dependent on wealth taken illegally from Indigenous Peoples. Canada's governments' solution to its economic dependence on stolen property? Lots of nice policies and laws and even Constitutional protection for "Aboriginal and Treaty Rights", but then stall and trick and deceive and walk away and denigrate and smear Indigenous Peoples and call that 'negotiations' for 'land claims'. Now this strategy takes on an even more heinous aura, as it is apparent that the land is being paved and developed on, mined, logged and otherwise desecrated as quickly as possible, to keep it out of land claims settlements. Boy, talk about bad faith bargaining? Our federal governments of Canada since 1867 wrote the book on that!! It might all come tumbling down if the truth about Canada's economy was revealed. The really ironic thing is ... if Canada would stop running and hiding like the thief and villain it is, step up and own up and talk about real solutions for independent and shared economic development, they would find very willing partners in negotiations with Indigenous Peoples. They have a stake in the stability of Canada's economy too and a willingness to reach solutions that balance the rights of all. And in this day and age, who's going to tolerate the government's past and current sly and sleazy way of doing business for very long? No intelligent person that I know! And the incredible patience of Indigenous people is finally giving way to younger generations no longer willing to live in fear of the government's punishments for their activism in seeking justice. Which is all by way of saying ... for heaven's sake, Canada, stop the insanity and deal in good faith! Starting with respecting the complete independence of the Truth Commission from government, political or bureaucratic interference. We have one chance to put Canada on the right path. Let's not blow it! *********** Hamilton, ON My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples. Love it or leave it eh. Peace.

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My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.