The Changing of a State

    • Jimanyjerk
      Jimanyjerk
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 366
      Hey everybody, I'm just musing about something interesting that must occur in the near future of my country: Canada. I'd like to first state that I do have somewhat of a bias but it is complicated because of a few major factors. This is less persuasion and more a brief and informal explication.

      I live in British Columbia, home to a portion of the rocky and cascade mountains, a disproportionately large group of flower children, trees, and millions of acres of land situated in a legal purgatory.

      It all started (well not really but to be concise) with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which, among a few other things, dictated the legal circumstances regarding any interactions with the natives of North America. For example, only the monarchy and their privy council (a body, composed mainly of politicians, that advised the monarchy) could negotiate the purchase of any native american land. You could not approach them yourself and buy it. Furthermore, The original people had Native American Title, which basically meant the land was theirs until they agreed to a given negotiated purchase. This would come back to be a serious issue.

      Fast forward a hundred years and Canada becomes a dominion with considerably greater autonomy. The jurisdiction of land purchases from Natives goes to the Federal Government in 1867. The unification of 4 original provinces included provisions to add more provinces to Canada. Over the coming decades this occurs, however, most of the provinces had already been in some way or another been dealt with as far as land purchases from the native inhabitants goes. This was not the case for British Columbia.

      Unlike most of the other areas, the majority of B.C. was not treatied. This became an issue when judicial precedent stated that Native American Title was valid and technically speaking, any untreatied land that was being developed was in fact not Canada's land to develop. Further solidifying these factors was Canada's true ascension to autonomy, the Constitution act of 1982. Previous to this, Canadian politicians would pass legislation in Canada, and then ASK the U.K. to make the legislation true, because technically Canada's Act as a country was still a U.K. law. 1982 saw the act coming home to Canada, a momentous occasion. With it's "repatriation" the act added a charter of rights and freedoms and various other clauses, the most important for this post being number 25. (a) stating that the constitution shall not preclude the rights given in the Royal Proclamation 1763.

      This means that any development that natives don't particularly want done on their land cannot technically happen without their consent. This is coming to a head with the (in)famous Endbridge pipeline (E.P.) An uninterrupted belt of land stretching the longitude of B.C. stands both untreatied and unanimously against the completion of the E.P. The current government of Canada has had billions of dollars of foreign money invested in the Alberta Tar/Oil Sands. It stands to reason that the foreign investors (one multi-billion dollar contributor comes to mind, namely: China) would really prefer if the Endbridge pipeline, which would travel from Alberta to B.C's coast, is completed.

      The Harper Government (as they so affectionately like to be called, for now H.G.) is attempting to ram through legislation that will "stream-line" the environmental analysis process. With a majority government, they will succeed in this regard; however, This legislation, as far as I know, does not and cannot address the issue of untreatied land. What exactly motivates the Native Bands that make up this belt of land is beyond me; be it political leverage, an appeal to help, stubborn refusal to co-operate, legitimate concern for the environment, active protest of major constitutional issues, or any combination of these things, I am not a person to say which and in what quantity. The motivation does not necessarily change the problem. The H.G. really wants to get this pipe-line through, and the Natives of B.C. stand rather obnoxiously in its way.

      Based on precedent, the H.G. cannot make non-constitutional legislation precluding the rights of the natives because it can and probably will be stricken down in a fair supreme court trial. The Supreme Court has stricken down other laws that contradict the constitution and unless the court's legitimacy comes to question it would probably do it again. The treaty process in place to settle native land claims takes years to follow and only about twice in a decade has succeeded in making an agreement acceptable to both parties. This leaves, in my mind and I'm certainly not infallible, two major options: the H.G. has to change the constitution of Canada (attempting this before destroyed previous prime minister Brian Mulroney) or the H.G. will resort to bribery at some level (either bribing the people who can say it's illegal to ignore the natives: the various levels of Canada's court system, or bribing the natives themselves.)

      The ramifications of this are far reaching, Canada's constitution has only been changed for trivial things since it has had the ability to do so. An example being the cancellation of steam-ship service to Prince Edward Island, after a bridge was built... in 1993. Archaic laws are hilarious. It would be a remarkable occurrence for such a controversial issue to pass because of Canada's strict constitutional amendment formula, And what whatever passed looked like would change the complexion of B.C. and the native american population as a whole.

      Bribery is questionable because the H.G. is already facing allegations as politically damning as Elections Fraud. If they were caught red-handed in those under the table tactics I can only imagine what would occur on an international level. We already have a terrible reputation in the world for our childish actions towards the Kyoto Protocol, our hilariously anemic peace-keeping status (from 1st country to somewhere around 50th on the list of most troops provided,) and the loss of our security council seat. Add in the paying off of political dissidents and I don't know what could happen!

      This all really matters because Canada's economy will become more and more heavily dependent on the success of the Alberta Oil/Tar Sands. We never truly know when the Saudi's will be unable to maintain the supply because they don't have to tell us the truth about their proven reserves, they could be lying through their teeth until the day the taps run dry and nobody can say otherwise. The H.G. will need to do something about what these native groups are doing, and the method they invoke may very well change Canada as a result. I shall continue watching with rapt attention.

      As for discussion, if anyone is interested, I'd like to hear about major changes in your respective countries! Or you can come after me on this one if you know (or think you know) better. I'm not going to lie, I'm basing information off of a few textbooks, current events, and my opinion, the latter being the majority presence here unless facts are involved. Any conclusions are my opinion, any facts are accurate as far as I can remember or have looked up. Tell me other-wise.

      Wall of text, might add pictures later. I just need to muse sometimes.

      G.
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