On October 11, 2018, The Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision regarding Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Governor General in Council), stating that parliament does not have a duty to consult Indigenous peoples when making laws.

In November 2018, the Moderator, along with ecumenical partners1 sent a letter to the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, to express hope that the government will maintain a higher standard for consultation with Indigenous peoples than expressed in Mikisew on legislation that affects them.

We reiterate our deep support for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination as affirmed in the International Covenants on civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As churches and religious organizations, we have committed to and support this core right as the foundation of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

We are concerned that the Supreme Court’s decision in this case limits Indigenous nations’ actions to protect their rights to litigation after a law has been enacted rather than ensuring these rights are respected from the beginning of the legislative process. This burden of litigation, including the significant financial and human resources required, should not be borne by Indigenous peoples. We are concerned that this precedent does not set Canada on a good path towards nation-to-nation relationships, a process the federal government has committed to based on recognition, rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

Click here to download the full letter.

On December 2018, a response was sent to the churches from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Click here to download the response.

Click here to learn how you can support Indigenous rights.

1 Other signatories include representatives of: Anglican Church of Canada; KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Christian Reformed Church in North America; Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Mennonite Church Canada; Mennonite Central Committee; The United Church of Canada.