Vincent McDermott, Fort McMurray Today Discussion »
FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA Aboriginal groups in Fort Chipewyan are refusing to recognize Bill C-45, an omnibus budget bill passed by the senate on Friday. It will also remove the protected status of thousands of rivers and streams in Canada.
The band councils for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation argue they were not consulted by the federal government prior to the bill's passing on Friday, and the new legislation will hurt their traditional lifestyle.
“We will never recognize any law which is passed by the Government of Canada which does not have our consent,”
says Chief Steve Courtoreille of the MCFN.
“We have not been consulted and have no option but to reject this arbitrary action.”
He adds that any law passed without aboriginal consultation "will not apply on our reserve lands and traditional territories."
Thousands of Aboriginals in Canada have spoken out against the legislation. The omnibus bill includes changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. As of Friday, thousands of Canadian lakes, rivers and streams will no longer be protected by the federal government, including several waterways held sacred and culturally important to Aboriginals in Wood Buffalo.
While Lake Athabasca and the Athabasca River will continue to be protected, hundreds of streams, rivers and tributaries that feed the larger waterways, including the Muskeg River, will not.
In an area that has attracted every major oil and gas company in the world and thousands of migrant workers, that has local Métis and First Nations groups very worried. Read More »
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posted December 18, 2012 8:30 am est