Canada, a Pariah State?

How well does Canada live up to its reputation as a human rights champion? When it comes to the situation of Indigenous people, it falls dreadfully short. Few people know that the Canadian government is regularly and roundly condemned by the United Nations. But Canada doesn't only ignore minimum provisions of international law about rights to self-determination and ownership of traditional territories -- it thinks little of domestic legal standards set by the Supreme Court.

Former Chief of the Neskonlith Band and chairperson of the Interior Alliance of BC First Nations, Arthur Manuel has been a leading voice of opposition to the Canadian government's agenda to "extinguish" Aboriginal and Treaty rights and assimilate Indigenous peoples into the Canadian body politic.

Since the Department of Indian Affairs ousted their Customary Chief and Council in March 2008 and used the Quebec police to forcibly impose the authority of a minority community faction, the Barriere Lake Algonquins have been organizing to roll-back the quiet coup d'etat. They are campaigning to make the government honour the Trilateral agreement, an internationally praised land co-management and sustainable development pact the Algonquins signed with Canada and Quebec in 1991. In October 2008, Barriere Lake peacefully blockaded Highway 117 to force the government to respect their agreements and leadership selection customs.

For more information: