To the Expositor:
I read The Manitoulin Expositor’s September 19, 2012 letter to the editor entitled ‘Espanola lawyer disputes sharing reference in story.’ While I did not read the Michael Erskine article or determine, for myself, the “inaccuracies” if any it may contain, I definitely do not agree with some of the interpretations and opinions advanced in the Espanola lawyer’s letter to The Expositor.
His letter states that “the notion” of sharing the land “…is a very recent concept invented by modern, romantic re-interpreters of Canadian history and given some legitimacy by equally very recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions.” In my books, he is trying to convince this reader that I should make light of what he calls the “sharing the land” notion yet in the same breadth he says the Supreme Court has given it legitimacy. When it comes to “sharing the land”, I’ll go with the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment as to what that constitutes rather than the opinion advanced by the Espanola lawyer.
His letter goes on to advance his opinion that “No one even dreamt of that at the time (of the Treaty’s signing).” This reader has a great deal of trouble swallowing his certainty as to the intentions and dreams of those who signed that Treaty on behalf of the peoples involved. I personally often have trouble remembering my own dreams let alone claiming to know those of others past.
Advancing a few opinions of my own:
• I say that the people of this country called Canada, at the time this Treaty was signed, sought the rule of law and fairness for all involved when it came to their relationships with one another as peoples, be they European, First Nation or Métis.
• I say that the people of this country share the same tent called Canada.
• I say this country was very much created on the strength of shared dreams and aspirations and contracts. It was built on the unique-to-Canada ability of its founding peoples’ to share and compromise. It is the hallmark of Canada. A country built on a Parliamentary system where compromise rules, not the ideological dictates or opinions of any one party. Though I am not sure that is the case with the present-day Harper régime that seems to rule more than govern.
Our courts, and indeed our Supreme Court, is the final arbiter as to the interpretation of what constitutes peace, order and good governance, à la Canadienne. Let us hope, dream and ensure our Supreme Court continues to provide us with the balanced and partisan-free fairness that has been the trademark of the “good governance” Canada has, for better and for worse, always attempted to ensure.
While some would like to have us believe their particular ideological bent is the correct one, I say be wary. Ideologues never bring us down the right path. We must all add water to our wine. We are all ahead when we attempt to ensure that our actions, deeds and words are in synchronicity what is in our head and what begins in our heart. Not an easy or simplistic feat.
Opinions are opinions, nothing more. Our Supreme Court is the final arbiter as to what is and is not accurate in these matters. Let’s keep it that way. And that’s this Canadian’s opinion.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Gary Champagne was the Secretary to all Intergovernmental Government Conferences on Aboriginal Constitutional Rights held in Canada from 1985 to 1987 leading up to and including the coordination of the secretarial logistics of the 1987 First Ministers’ Conference on Aboriginal Constitutional Rights.