Office of the Prime Minister
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Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
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Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Meeting requested by Chief Theresa Spence of Attiwapiskat
We write to urge that you immediately arrange a meeting as requested by Chief Theresa Spence. Chief Spence wants a meeting on a Nation to Nation basis with the Prime Minister, the Crown, and the Provincial and Territorial leaders along with all the First Nations leaders to discuss First Nations' inherent and treaty rights.
Please remember that Canada is constitutionally defined as a "free and democratic society" founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of the rule of law. This means that law must be formulated with the informed consent of the Canadian people. The equality rights in our constitution are meant to ensure that law is used as a tool to achieve justice for all. This is part of our traditional Anglo-Canadian constitutional heritage. These principles have been affirmed by international human rights treaties that Canada has ratified. The Canadian constitution also explicitly requires respect for "aboriginal and treaty rights". Moreover, just as Parliament was established to ensure that law-making is founded on informed public discussion, so too the Supreme Court of Canada supports the right of Indigenous peoples to meaningful consultation on issues that concern them. In addition, we draw your attention to Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada has endorsed, and which provides that...
"States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them."
In summary, in this country it is unquestionably illegal to use the power of the State to destroy or repress rights or grant unwarranted privileges. Conversely, it is unquestionably legal to use all peaceful means to resolve both internal problems and external disputes...."
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