Friday, February 8, 2008

Indian follies - the Tsawwassen agreement

Institutionalized racial discrimination

Mark Milke writes that Bill C-34 enacting the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement negotiated between British Columbia and the Tsawwassen Indian tribe will legalize race based discrimination.

The Tsawwassen "First Nation" is a tiny reservation near Vancouver occupied by about 270 Indians and 500 non-Indians. Milke says passing Bill C-34 will mean:

...federal and provincial laws will be trumped by Tsawwassen law ... in a variety of areas ...

[special tax revenue arrangements] No other municipal entity in the country is given such generous financing arrangements. ([even though] ...Ottawa and various B.C. governments long claimed that First Nations governments would be akin to municipal governments...)

...[a strong likelihood of] much taxation without much (if any) representation [for the 500 non-Indian residents].

... special access to fish stocks to Tsawwassen fishermen.

And on the federal political front,

In July, 2006, Stephen Harper wrote the Calgary Herald to declare that he would oppose racially divided fisheries programs."

...John Cummins, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East — where the Tsawwassen land is located — will no doubt oppose it, even if he is ejected from the Tory caucus...

Despite majority public sentiment, Bill C-34 will likely pass because of the politically correct and (ironically) illiberal reflex endemic among many Liberals, and probably all New Democrats and Bloc Québécois Members of Parliament.

At the very least, [Harper] should offer up a free vote, an action that might even pry a few Liberals away from the politically correct plantation.

Provincially, Campbell’s government has consistently said one thing about treaty negotiations and done the opposite.

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