AMC Responds to Bill 63 – The Petty Trespasses Amendment And Occupiers Liability Amendment Act
March 15, 2021
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – In response to the introduction and first reading of Bill 63 in the legislature, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues the following statement. On March 11, 2021, the Province continued its attempts to legislate its way into First Nations’ areas of autonomy and jurisdiction, with the first reading of proposed changes to Bill 63 The Petty Trespasses Amendment and Occupiers Liability Amendment Act (Petty Trespasses Act).
This follows the first reading of Bill 56, the Smoking and Vapour Products Control Act on March 4, 2021, which extends the application of the Act to areas clearly under federal jurisdiction, including First Nation reserves and Treaty lands.
AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas stated, “the Province is ramming through several mystery pieces of legislation, shrouded in secrecy, including Bill 63 and Bill 56, without checks or balances or adequate time for Manitobans to know what is contained in the bills before first reading. We are only now finding out exactly what the text of each Bill contains. Whether this is a result of partisan bickering, retaliation or otherwise, it is clearly unhelpful to not only First Nations, but all Manitobans who deserve to be well informed by a government that serves its people.”
“The AMC cannot allow provincial laws to violate Treaty rights. First Nations Treaty rights are paramount, superseding provincial laws. This remains true, and has been repeatedly upheld at the Supreme Court of Canada on issues of trespassing,” added Grand Chief Dumas.
“The AMC and First Nations leadership puts the Province on notice that we will explore all options, including legal challenges and political action to fight for and protect Treaty rights. We will not permit any provincial legislative measure to target First Nations directly, infringe civil liberties and violate Treaty and inherent rights,” continued Grand Chief Dumas.
“We encourage the Province to stand down on their legislative onslaught against First Nations rights and jurisdiction and rethink its tactics as it continues to usher in this slew of secret Bills. The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba should not be used to promote partisan bickering and pursue party politics in a manner that uses its legislative ability to attack First Nations’ inherent and Treaty rights. The AMC will continue to stand up and defend First Nations and their rights and interests. We oppose the ongoing onslaught of legislation that infringes on First Nations rights, strongly encourage the Province to reconsider their actions and call on all friends and allies to appeal to the current government to end it deliberate incursion and targeted assault of bills against First Nations, their jurisdiction and their rights,” concluded Grand Chief Dumas.