As the years go by, Canadians are always adding, reforming, and updated laws for the better of society and the citizens. Bills are constantly being passed, governments are changing, and people’s needs are being acknowledged and met. These are just some of the great privileges that Canadians have by proudly living in a democratic country where the people have a say in how they live their lives. Canada truly is a wonderful, free, and caring country; so why do Canadians not care for the ancestors of their country? The aboriginals of Canada do have the same rights and freedoms as every other Canadian of non-aboriginal status; however they have them with a discriminatory eye. This does not make any sense since the aboriginals, after all, are the true Canadians. Not only should they have the same rights as every other Canadian citizen, but then some. Many people will argue that this is in fact the way it is. Aboriginals are given the same rights yet have many more benefits that Canadians of non-aboriginal status don’t, such as living a tax free life. This might be the case to the naked eye, however there is much more to this controversial topic.
Aboriginals feel that it is owed to them to have a third type of government in Canada; one that benefits their rights and needs. The issue of self government has been greatly debated through the years. This essay must begin by examining who the aboriginals of Canada are. Once there is a clear idea outlined as to what it means to be aboriginal, a discussion based on their autonomy can be argued and justified. Aboriginals’ autonomy is illusory due to the discrimination/racism aboriginals’ indirectly receive by the government and the citizens; inherent right of self-government under section 35 of the Constitutional Act is being infringed; and finally, the existing self-governing agreements and Treaties that the government has implemented are not sufficient enough. Self-government is needed in order for positive changes to be made in the lives of the aboriginals in Canada today and the years to come.
Self-Government and Treaties
The aboriginals are given a form of self-government to some extent. Most aboriginals do not feel that this is self-government but just further rights that the Government of Canada has granted the aboriginal peoples. Therefore, the Canadian Government are really the ones with the control in the end. Aboriginals hope that Canadians do not grant them self-government but instead to realize that an aboriginal form of government always existed before the Europeans even came to Canada and as a result, provided the approval to revive their government (Wherrett, 1999).2 There have been various approaches to a self-government that will make the Canadian Government and the aboriginals happy. Some of these approaches that the aboriginals see sufficient include First Nations approach, Inuit approach, Métis and Indian approach, and the self-government in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
The self-governing agreements that have been arranged are simply insufficient. They are prime examples of how an autonomous government is truly illusory. The government makes aboriginals believe that they have all this control when really, behind all that is the true control; the federal control. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is a perfect example as to how the aboriginals’ rights were pushed aside and then made believe that they were being granted more positive rights and higher finances. The true logic behind this had little benefit for the aboriginals and full benefits for the province of Quebec and of course, the Canadian Government. This Agreement was signed in 1975 and 1978 which was in regard to land issues that was dated back to the 1800’s (Wherrett, 1999).3 The aboriginals were given the “control” of certain land areas in Quebec. For economic purposes in the hydro industry, these land agreements and rights were...
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