Senate Debate on Bill S-11, The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Bill


This is a must read; from front to back. It’s frightening. It throws open the doors to loss of rights, punishment and water privatization. First Nations are going to have a heck of a time meeting the standards in this bill, and if they don’t “any person” can come in and “seize and detain things, and apply for a search warrant” and/or “require a first nation to enter into an agreement for the management of its drinking water or waste water system in cooperation with a third party.” Just like that, the Crown can send whoever they darn well please, to come in and seize, detain and/or privatize.

This bill also says in paragraph 4 (1)(r) that the Crown can: “provide for the relationship between the regulations and aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the extent to which the regulations may abrogate or derogate from those aboriginal and treaty rights.”

Abrogate and derogate are pretty scary words. Abrogate means to do away with. Derogate means to deviate or detract from. Can they abrogate and derogate treaty rights? I think that’s what this bill is saying they can do. I need some clarification on this point.

The Hon. Patrick Brazeau talks about” targeted” and “informed investments” and “protecting investments” and wants to” expedite this legislation.” This bill is setting First Nations up to fail, and when they do, there will be punishment and significant penalties and strangers on their land selling them back their water. We all want clean safe drinking water for our communities, but at what price? We can not “expedite this legislation” until we understand the ramifications to such an action, and so far it’s not looking good.

Please take the time to read the whole thing. It’s enlightening and scary. We need to understand Bill S-11, and we need to start referring to it when we mail in our Empty Glasses for Water to the PM. As I learn and understand more I will share.

Miigwech, joanne

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