Letter: Politicians seek ambiguity through legal opinion

To the editor:

There are many lessons to be learned from the recent Supreme Court of Canada’s recognition of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s claim to aboriginal title, but none more important than the message to our provincial government.

Governing through litigation is costly both in terms of dollars and in the emotional strain of those seeking justice. I can only imagine the anguish in which the Tsilhqot’in First Nation people have gone through for generations over the monetary and emotional costs these cases have generated. Governing through litigation was never mandated by the public.

This Supreme Court ruling is only one of many in recent years in which governments throughout Canada have had to be taught a lesson on choosing legislation that has within it a blatant disregard for constitutional and human rights.

A deep sense of gratitude must be made to Chief Roger William who spent 25 years to bring this case through the justice system and to the Supreme Court of Canada. Chief William was able to not only set a precedent with regard to aboriginal title, but he has brought to the forefront an example of a successful challenge to governments which dare infringe upon the rights enshrined in the Constitution—a success story that is inspirational and far-reaching for both native and non-native peoples of Canada.

Why does our current (B.C.) government choose to listen to legal opinions that promote legislation that contains ambiguity and misinterpretation of our Constitution? How is this a benefit to our province?

What a waste of time and public money. Shame on you.

For politicians who refuse to recognize our Charter of Rights and Freedom, who refuse to listen to legal authority on questions of judicial authority, I ask you to reconsider being a member of government. Yes, you manage very well to get enough votes to be elected, but success at the voting booth in no way gives you license to dismiss our history, to dismiss our inherent rights, and to violate the judiciary under which our democracy exists.

And to our Premier: Ms. Clark, I want to remind you that governing requires immense integrity and a deep respect for the laws of our land; the legacy that your government is leaving is nothing to be proud of—it is a legacy of numerous human rights violations that required the Supreme Court of Canada’s intervention. Because some lawyers are able to twist our laws in certain ways, does not make disobeying our Constitutional right.

Shadow politics has no place in Canada. And this ruling has brought another shadow into our light.

Thank goodness for people like Chief William who had the fortitude and the faith to see justice through. How many more times shall we have to do this?

Congratulations to all human rights advocates, letter writers, support groups, union members, sign makers, etc. Bless you all and keep fighting because Chief William has shown us that justice can and will prevail.

Vicki Lightfoot,



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