Ottawa Still Has a Duty to Consult With Indigenous Peoples

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The Supreme Court’s recent decision on the reach of the federal government’s duty to consult with Indigenous peoples is an important and controversial one. But the focus of attention seems to be in entirely the wrong place.

It is not about whether the government must consult with Indigenous people during the law-making process as a matter of constitutional law. Instead, it ought to be about whether the government should consult as a matter of doing the political right thing.

Constitutional law simply lays down the basic floor of duties and obligations that are placed on governments as they go about their work and implement their various political agendas. However, there now seems to be a sense that, if the Supreme Court states that there is no particular duty, then this relieves governments of a reason or responsibility to act.

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The Globe and Mail