The Canada Times is a Ethnocultural and Indigenous Weekly Magazine. The Canada Times Magazine is publishing articles about the joys, sorrows, successes, thoughts, art and literature of the ethno-cultural and indigenous community living in Canada. The publisher of this digital magazine is Bangla Radio Inc.
Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries. Throughout Canada’s history, a variety of ethnocultural groups have enriched our ever-changing cultural mosaic and impacted on our national character.
In 1871, shortly after Confederation, the population of Canada was about 3.5 million. That year, 23,000 were Aboriginal peoples (North American Indian and Inuit) and 2.1 million—more than half the entire Canadian population—were of British origin (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Those whose roots were in Europe (predominantly France and Germany) numbered more than a million. However, virtually no Canadians from Asian backgrounds were evident in population counts for 1871.
Fast forward to 1961 and a Canada of 18.2 million citizens, and the ethnic kaleidoscope had shifted.
the Aboriginal population was more than 220,000 strong. Canadians from Europe, mainly France and Germany, dominated the scene, numbering 9.6 million, while only 8.0 million were of British origin. Asiatic Canadians, 121,000, had been increasing steadily since their arrival was noted in the 1881 Census.
The population since 1961 has been characterized by an increasing proportion of Canadians of non-British and non-European origins, most notably Chinese, Filipino and Arab/West Asian ethnic groups.
Some countries, notably the United States, act as a ‘melting pot’ of new cultures: as immigrants arrive, they are encouraged to assimilate with the status quo of the country. Canada has always favoured the ‘cultural mosaic’ approach, where immigrants retain their native cultures—language, food, clothing, religion, etc.—and celebrate and share them with other Canadians.
The Government of Canada is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed, nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as the foundation for transformative change.
Indigenous peoples have a special constitutional relationship with the Crown. This relationship, including existing Aboriginal and treaty rights, is recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Section 35 contains a full box of rights, and holds the promise that Indigenous nations will become partners in Confederation on the basis of a fair and just reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.
The Government recognizes that Indigenous self-government and laws are critical to Canada’s future, and that Indigenous perspectives and rights must be incorporated in all aspects of this relationship. In doing so, we will continue the process of decolonization and hasten the end of its legacy wherever it remains in our laws and policies.
The implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires transformative change in the Government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. The UN Declaration is a statement of the collective and individual rights that are necessary for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples around the world, and the Government must take an active role in enabling these rights to be exercised. The Government will fulfil its commitment to implementing the UN Declaration through the review of laws and policies, as well as other collaborative initiatives and actions. This approach aligns with the UN Declaration itself, which contemplates that it may be implemented by States through various measures.
This review of laws and policies will be guided by Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous peoples. These Principles are rooted in section 35, guided by the UN Declaration, and informed by the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s Calls to Action. In addition, they reflect a commitment to good faith, the rule of law, democracy, equality, non-discrimination, and respect for human rights. They will guide the work required to fulfill the Government’s commitment to renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships.
These Principles are a starting point to support efforts to end the denial of Indigenous rights that led to disempowerment and assimilationist policies and practices. They seek to turn the page in an often troubled relationship by advancing fundamental change whereby Indigenous peoples increasingly live in strong and healthy communities with thriving cultures. To achieve this change, it is recognized that Indigenous nations are self-determining, self-governing, increasingly self-sufficient, and rightfully aspire to no longer be marginalized, regulated, and administered under the Indian Act and similar instruments. The Government of Canada acknowledges that strong Indigenous cultural traditions and customs, including languages, are fundamental to rebuilding Indigenous nations. As part of this rebuilding, the diverse needs and experiences of Indigenous women and girls must be considered as part of this work, to ensure a future where non-discrimination, equality and justice are achieved. The rights of Indigenous peoples, wherever they live, shall be upheld.
These Principles are to be read holistically and with their supporting commentary. The Government of Canada acknowledges that the understandings and applications of these Principles in relationships with First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit will be diverse, and their use will necessarily be contextual. These Principles are a necessary starting point for the Crown to engage in partnership, and a significant move away from the status quo to a fundamental change in the relationship with Indigenous peoples. The work of shifting to, and implementing, recognition-based relationships is a process that will take dynamic and innovative action by the federal government and Indigenous peoples. These Principles are a step to building meaning into a renewed relationship.