Dr. Dawg

Government set to pass unconstitutional legislation?

| Disqus Comments

aboriginal justice psac.jpg

Like the weather, everybody talks about the Indian Act, but nobody does anything about it. Until now, that is. Another “Hoeppner Bill” (a government initiative back-doored through the private member’s bill process) has been introduced into the House of Commons by Conservative MP Rob Clarke, text here. The Harper government has promised to support it.

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett spoke eloquently to the fact that this move to change the Act unilaterally reveals yet another broken promise by Stephen Harper. There will be no consultation with First Nations, just changes rammed through by the Great White Father.

But this is much more than a promise broken. There would appear to be serious constitutional obstacles to passing this legislation.

Section 35 of the Constitution Act has been held by the courts to mandate consultation by the Crown with the aboriginal peoples of Canada when their rights are at stake.

Against the objection that Parliament is not the Crown, the courts have not yet ruled on that, but this may well not be the case. In any case, at the stage of Royal Assent, I think it can safely be proposed that the honour of the Crown comes into play.

I have waded very deep into dangerous waters here, I realize. I am no Constitutional expert, and no doubt it shows. But I was gratified earlier this morning to discover that my suggestion is at least arguable. Follow the conversation here.

Any Constitutional lawyers out there? Comments welcome—and from others, of course.

Return to the home page

blog comments powered by Disqus

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on October 22, 2012 12:15 PM.

The Khadr persecution was the previous entry in this blog.

Harper government surveillance: stalking Cindy Blackstock is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 6.3.6