A Métis lawyer seeking a federal nomination for the NDP in Downtown Vancouver says Canada’s constitution is deeply racist against indigenous peoples.

In an interview with the Georgia straight, Breen Ouellette described section 91.24 of the British North America Law as “legislated apartheid”.

Section 91.24 gave the federal government authority over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians.”

“There are multiple remedies and I am currently researching them,” Ouellette said. “And I could be issuing my own letter within the next few months.”

He ran for the NDP in Downtown Vancouver in 2019, losing to Liberal MP Hedy Fry.

The British North America Act came into effect on July 1, 1867, uniting Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with Quebec and Ontario in a new Dominion called Canada.

The Constitutional law of 1982, gave Canada the right to amend the constitution, added a Bill of Rights and Freedoms, and recognized and affirmed existing Aboriginal rights and treaties.

The consolidation of these two acts, classified as Constitutional laws from 1867 to 1982, comprise the constitution of Canada.

According to Ouellette, section 91.24 of the British North American Act is “the basis for every act of genocide that Canada has committed or continues to commit against indigenous peoples.”

“And it is the basis of authority for every crime against humanity that Canada has committed or continues to commit against indigenous peoples,” added Ouellette.

Article 91 defines the powers of Parliament, while Article 92 defines various powers of the provincial legislatures.

“If you check the list of powers, they deal with classes of property or property relationships, except for subsection 24 of section 91, “Ouellette noted.” Subsection 24 lists indigenous and indigenous lands as a class of property under the control of the federal government.

“It is a racial distinction in Canada’s highest law and meets the definition of apartheid, which is one of the crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. ”

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Ouellette said it is a “very disgusting idea” for indigenous peoples to be treated in the country’s founding document as “property to control.”

However, he said that this is the only way that section 91.24 can be interpreted in British North American Law, based on the subject classes listed in sections 91 and 92.

“It’s currency, it’s the post office, it’s patents, it’s copyright,” Ouellette explained. “These are elements of property or, in the case of marriage, it is a property relationship.

“You know, when you talk about marriage in law, you are not talking about love and commitment,” he continued. “You are talking about recognizing that a marriage constitutes a legal partnership and legal responsibilities arise from that legal partnership. Again, it is a property relationship.”

Similarly, he argued that the reason naturalization and aliens are listed in section 91 is because Canada “wants to control the property relationship of aliens within its borders.”

“The only way to interpret the Indians among everything else is that we constitute a class of pseudo-property according to the constitution,” Ouellette insisted.

ICC only deals with individuals

Fifteen Canadian lawyers recently signed a letter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague asking it to open a preliminary examination in Canada’s Indian residential school system.

However, Ouellette noted that the International Criminal Court only prosecutes individuals, not states, departments, organizations or corporations.

“It is only empowered to prosecute people and it is only empowered to prosecute people for crimes after the statute went into effect in 2002, which means that residential schools are off the table,” he said.

Even if the International Criminal Court prosecuted people, based on the argument that the statute against crimes against humanity does not have a limitation period, that still would not address the fundamental issue of section 91.24, Ouellette said.

“To change things systematically, you need something like the international Court of Justice get in because they deal with the states, “he said.

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The International Court of Justice was established by charter of the United Nations in 1945 and is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Like the International Criminal Court, it is based in The Hague.

“Potentially, they could order Canada to repeal section 91.24, to repeal the Indian Law, to repeal the Discovery doctrine [justifying the seizure of land not inhabited by Christians] Y no man’s land [a Latin expression meaning the land belonged to nobody], to repeal the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and … overturn all Supreme Court decisions that treat indigenous peoples as a class, a racial class, subject to different rules and laws than other Canadians, “said Ouellette.

The Vancouver attorney noted that Justin Trudeau “apologizes profusely and regularly for the crimes he acknowledges to be occurring in Canada, but he is the leader of the country.”

“The responsibility stops with Mr. Trudeau,” he added. “And every time you allow it to continue and you don’t take it seriously, I think it constitutes an act of apartheid.”

To illustrate his point, Ouellette pointed to the lack of clean water in many indigenous communities. This continues to occur despite the fact that Canada has signed an international treaty that recognizes that access to clean water is a human right.

“We see acts of apartheid happening almost every month in Canada,” Ouellette said. “Last month, when there was a House vote to end punitive litigation against survivors of residential schools and indigenous children, 65 Liberal MPs abstained from voting.

“And I would say it was an act of apartheid by omission. It is a refusal to acknowledge seeking punitive damages against a non-profit organization that received an order from the Canadian Human Rights Court. That is a flagrant abuse of power and is targeted. directly to the racial group that is identified in the constitutional law “.



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