OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that he intends to recognize “indigenous rights” above and beyond those already guaranteed to every citizen by the Canadian Charter of Rights.
The decision has set social media ablaze with criticism and fury as many accuse Trudeau of dividing the country on racial grounds.
Speaking to the House of Commons, Trudeau vaguely outlined a two-tier justice system that he says will enable Aboriginal people to be “in control of their own destiny.”
“Instead of outright recognizing and affirming Indigenous rights, as we promised we would, Indigenous Peoples were forced to prove, time and time again, through costly and drawn-out court challenges, that their rights existed, must be recognized and implemented,” Trudeau said.
Aboriginal people are already exempt from certain Canadian laws restricting hunting and fishing, and the Canadian courts have upheld their right to “practice their culture.” Trudeau said his ultimate goal is to move toward Native self-government.
“We need to get to a place where Indigenous peoples in Canada are in control of their own destiny, making their own decisions about their future.”
In a response emailed to The Daily Caller, the official opposition Conservatives applauded Trudeau’s initiative, calling it a “noble and important goal.”
“The Prime Minister and his government…intend to move forward with negotiations with a broad range of stakeholders, most specifically and crucially Canada’s Indigenous communities and peoples, on the construction of a new framework for Indigenous rights in Canada and a relationship rooted in those rights,” said Indigenous affairs critic Cathy McLeod.
“This is, of course, a noble and important goal. The rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada were for too long ignored, maligned, or bent in the pursuit of other interests, and it is incumbent on all of us to continue moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation.”
The announcement angered many contributors on social media, with people furious that Trudeau is apparently ready to grant special rights to Natives.
“Is the PM, in effect, saying that his father’s “Charter of Rights and Freedoms”…and Diefenbaker’s “Bill of Rights”…were both INSUFFICIENT ? Aren’t ALL Canadians under EQUAL RIGHTS ? How should Indigenous peoples gain MORE RIGHTS than ALL other Canadians ?
Another tweet called the policy divisive:
“Ya see this kind of action breeds more hate and deepens the divide. One person in a family can not have more rights than the other. We are all in it together or cut up Canada right now.”
And one Twitter user even referenced Trudeau’s preference for “peoplekind”:
“If indigenous peoplekind get to make there own rights, why the hell don’t the rest of us??? Sounds like different rules for different peoplekind to me!! You should really listen to yourself sometime.”