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“Beating the Constitutional Reform Drum” – A look back at the Beyond Section 35 Conferences

Auteurs: Marcia Nickerson

At the Beyond Section 35 event in Ottawa. Seated from left to right: Tony Belcourt (former President, Métis Nation of Ontario and Managing Partner at Tony Belcourt and Associates), Matthew Coon Come (Grand Chief of the Cree Nation), Phil Fontaine (former National Chief of the AFN), John Olthuis (Founding partner OKT), the Honorable Mr. Justice Harry Slade (Chairperson Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada), Melody Morrison (Senior Advisor, Canadian Boreal Initiative) and Miles Richardson (IOG Senior Associate).

At the Beyond Section 35 event in Ottawa. Seated from left to right: Tony Belcourt (former President, Métis Nation of Ontario and Managing Partner at Tony Belcourt and Associates), Matthew Coon Come (Grand Chief of the Cree Nation), Phil Fontaine (former National Chief of the AFN), John Olthuis (Founding partner OKT), the Honorable Mr. Justice Harry Slade (Chairperson Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada), Melody Morrison (Senior Advisor, Canadian Boreal Initiative) and Miles Richardson (IOG Senior Associate).

Over three decades have passed since the enactment of Section 35 of the Constitution Act. While many Indigneous groups have already, or are currently, engaged in strengthening their own governance structures and exercising greater control over traditional land and resources, few would dispute that the full potential for a changed relationship with Canada created by Section 35 has not yet been realized. The Institute on Governance recognized the need to commemorate this groundbreaking recognition of rights, while at the same time capitalize on the opportunity to consider the substantial impact that recognition has had on altering both federal/provincial law and policy regarding Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous governance in Canadian society. The Beyond Section 35 Symposiums held in Ottawa in November 2012 and Vancouver, in February 2013, brought together key stakeholders from Indigenous communities and institutions, practitioners, public sector and academia to discuss and reflect upon the impact of the constitutional recognition of Section 35 on the lives and relations of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Over the coming months, meetings between the Prime Minister and Indigenous leadership, ongoing Idle No More rallies, and further dialogue regarding Section 35 will continue to position the discussions in the context of inherent and human rights. We hope that these discussions and efforts lend themselves to the kind of outcomes foreseen in the advent of Section 35.

 

This blog is available in English only.

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