Mr. Speaker, on September 25, at the close of the G20, the Prime Minister told reporters that Canada has no history of colonialism. That came as a surprise to many Canadians, especially aboriginal peoples.
Maybe the Prime Minister has a different definition of colonialism. My dictionary says that it is control by one power over a dependent area or a people, or a policy advocating or based on such control.
The Indian Act was a colonial piece of legislation passed by Canada. It legislated that the Government of Canada would have power over Indians living on reserve. The numbered treaties were signed with Canada, not Britain or France, and those numbered treaties took control of the resources and land that aboriginal peoples had lived on for millennia. The land involved is from western Ontario to the Rockies.
In court cases today, the government uses a remnant of colonial expansion, the right of discovery, as a defence to explain why it will not honour agreements. Bands in B.C. have to prove that indigenous people are living in their communities using archeological evidence going back thousands of years because the government still argues terra nullius, or land empty of people, as a reason not to sign fair treaties with first nations.
Canada does have a history of colonialism. Reconciliation—