From CBC News: Supreme Court quashes seismic testing in Nunavut, but gives green light to Enbridge pipeline I think the Supreme Court is erring in maintaining the view that Canada’s Indigenous communities should not have the right to reject proposed resource development projects that affect their territories. The land that supposedly belongs to the Crown […]


Many journalistic sources have been commenting on the possibility that house prices in Canada have risen at unsustainable rates. Recently, The Economist printed: Household debt has climbed to almost 170% of post-tax income. House prices rose by 20% in the year to April. Looked at relative to rents, they have deviated from their long-run average […]


I was saddened to learn while watching the U.K. election that a former professor of mine — Ian Townsend-Gault — died in 2016. I studied international law with him as an undergraduate, we had many engaging conversations over the years, he encouraged one of my early publications, he edited other early pieces of writing, I […]


Almost every year the Indian Act was amended to add new measures of control, many of them requested by the government’s agents in the field. In twenty-five pages of its report, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples laid out in detail the “oppressive measures” that were added to the act right up until 1951. They […]

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In the two decades between the [1857] Gradual Civilization Act and the [1876] Indian Act, only one Indian opted for enfranchisement, and the Indian peoples did not disappear. The Government of Canada continued to negotiate treaties with Indian nations while at the same time appointing Ottawa bureaucrats to run their societies. There was no logic […]


These land cession treaties were flawed by the fundamental inequality of the parties. The Indians no longer had the option of walking away from the negotiations and threatening to resume military hostilities. Their bargaining position was further weakened by their desperate material circumstances and their lack of knowledge of the white man’s legal culture. No […]


In a word, Canada’s constitution has been profoundly evolutionary, and so the constitutional theory of aother British political philosopher, Edmund Burke, is much more appropriate than that of John Locke. According to Burke the contract that best ensures good government is an intergenerational contract in which a generation inherits arrangements that have worked tolerably well […]


As we saw in the previous chapter, the Aboriginal peoples’ foundational agreement for sharing the country with the settlers was with the British Crown. The rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples recognized in that agreement are now inscribed in the Charter. Since that agreement, Canada has become a self-governing democracy. Some might say this means […]


After the War of 1812, Britain, no longer in need of Indigenous allies, began to treat the Indian nations as subjects of the Crown. The colonial administrators paid lip service to the 1763 Royal Proclamation by continuing to acquire land for settlement through treaties with their native owners. But the purpose of making treaties was […]


In a perceptive tweet Ziya Tong argued: “In the 21st century you’ll find cameras *everywhere* except: where our food comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our waste goes”. I have long been of the view that if people were forced to look at where our meat, eggs, and dairy come from, few […]