AMC Says Canada Not Ready for Reconciliation Amidst Comments from Minister Anandasangaree

December 1, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) rejects comments from Minister Anandasangaree that the concerns brought forward by First Nations regarding Bill C-53 are “largely based on misconceptions” during an hour-long appearance before the parliamentary committee yesterday. The proposed legislation would recognize the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Saskatchewan and Alberta as holding section 35 rights under the Constitution without credible factual or legal basis. Bill C-53 would undeniably impact First Nations’ inherent and treaty rights if passed.

“To move forward without heeding the concerns of First Nations Leadership from across this country is a great disservice to the good work done in the name of reconciliation. For the Minister to say that there is no need to consult with First Nations demonstrates a large culture of ignorance within the Canadian government and leads me to believe that maybe Canada is not ready to make good on its reconciliatory promises,” concluded Grand Chief Merrick.

The enactment of Bill C-53 will unjustly recognize Metis as rights-holders in First Nations’ treaty and traditional territories with which Metis have no historical connection. Bill C-53 runs counter to Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which acknowledges and confirms the right of First Nations to own, use, develop, and control the lands, territories, and resources they rightfully possess as First Peoples.

“Canada has a duty to consult with First Nations,” continued Grand Chief Merrick. “This duty is triggered when the Crown contemplates conduct of makes a decision that engages a potential aboriginal or treaty right, the Crown has knowledge of that right, and there is potential for the contemplated conduct to adversely affect the right.”

First Nations, with reserve lands extending into Saskatchewan and Ontario, are already facing challenges to their treaty and inherent rights regarding land use, as the Métis are asserting ownership over these territories. Further, despite being documented that treaty rights are universal and portable, this has not been the experience for many First Nations in the province.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs calls on the federal government to withdraw Bill C-53 and maintains that true reconciliation means listening to and cooperating with the concerns of First Nations Leadership.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.