The report claimed that holidays such as Christmas and Easter are forms of discrimination and religious intolerance and observing the birth of Jesus Christ is ‘an obvious example’ of a type of religious bias that is rooted in colonialism
Canadian MPs roundly condemned a report from the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) arguing that Christmas was racist.
On November 29, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet challenged the CHRC report which claimed that those who celebrate Christmas are exhibiting intolerance and perpetuating so-called “settler colonialism” and forced even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to admit that the holiday is not racist.
“Just because you laugh doesn’t mean it’s funny,” Blanchet told the House of Commons. “According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission the simple celebration of Christmas – the tree, the family, the music, the gifts – is systemic racism. I wonder if good old Santa Claus is racist. I wonder if snow has become racist.”
Blanchet pressed Trudeau to explain the document, saying, “Is Christmas racist?”
“Obviously Christmas is not racist,” Trudeau responded.
“I am welcoming a few dozen Québecers from immigrant backgrounds to celebrate Christmas in my riding in a few days,” Blanchet continued. “Should I cancel because, according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, celebrating Christmas is racist? That is the question I am asking.”
“No,” Trudeau replied. “We have to celebrate everything, Christmas, Hanukkah, all the different festivals.”
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre also joined in the discussion, saying, “Allow me to be the first of the season to wish everybody a merry Christmas. We love our great Canadian traditions including Christmas.”
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, on October 23, 2023, the CHRC published “Discussion Paper On Religious Intolerance.” It characterized the celebration of holidays such as Christmas and Easter as forms of discrimination and religious intolerance.
The CHRC said that observing the birth of Jesus Christ is “an obvious example” of a type of religious bias that is rooted in colonialism.
“Discrimination against religious minorities in Canada is grounded in Canada’s history of colonialism,” reads the Commission’s paper.
Despite the mainstream push to switch to the term “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas,” a Leger poll from December 2022 found that the overwhelming majority of non-Christian Canadians are content with being greeted by the words “Merry Christmas” during the season of Advent.
When the non-Christians were asked if they were “Offended when people greet me with ‘Merry Christmas’,” 92 percent said no, with only eight percent reporting they felt offended.
The CHRC is an independent federal institution created in 1977 that oversees holding up Canada’s human rights laws.
The CHRC claims that the history of holidays “manifests itself in present day systemic religious discrimination. An obvious example is statutory holidays in Canada.”
“Statutory holidays related to Christianity including Christmas and Easter are the only Canadian statutory holidays linked to religious holy days,” it said.
“As a result non-Christians may need to request special accommodation to observe their holy days.”
The European settlers who came to Canada, from France and then later from what is the modern-day United Kingdom, were Christian and included missionaries who came to try to spread the faith to the local indigenous populations.
Canada has observed Christmas since 1641, well before its official founding, according to some historical records. Despite this, the CHRC said that the nation’s “history with religious intolerance is deeply rooted in our identity as a settler colonial state.”
In 2021, a federal court directive mandated that all references to Christmas holidays be removed from all court calendars, however, this directive did not come from a complaint but instead was an internal decision.
Yes, B.C.’s Land Act changes give First Nations veto over use of Crown Land
From the Fraser Institute
By Bruce Pardy
Nathan Cullen says there’s no veto. Cullen, British Columbia’s Minister of Water, Land, and Resource Stewardship, plans to give First Nations joint decision-making authority over Crown land. His NDP government recently opened consultations on its proposal to amend the B.C. Land Act, under which the minister grants leases, licences, permits, rights-of-way and land sales. The amendments will give legal effect to agreements with Indigenous governing bodies. Those agreements will share decision-making power “through joint or consent models” with some or all of B.C.’s more than 200 First Nations.
Yes, First Nations will have a veto.
Cullen denies it. “There is no veto in these amendments,” he told the Nanaimo News Bulletin last week. He accused critics of fearmongering and misinformation. “My worry is that for some of the political actors here on the right, this is an element of dog-whistle politics.”
But Cullen has a problem. Any activity that requires your consent is an activity over which you have a veto. If a contract requires approval of both parties before something can happen, “no” by one means “no” for both. The same is true in other areas of law such as sexual conduct, which requires consent. If you withhold your consent, you have vetoed the activity. “Joint decision-making,” “consent,” and “veto” come out to the same thing.
Land use decisions are subject to the same logic. The B.C. government will give First Nations joint decision-making power, when and where agreements are entered into. Its own consultation materials say so. This issue has blown up in the media, and the government has hastily amended its consultation webpage to soothe discontent (“The proposed amendments to the Land Act will not lead to broad, sweeping, or automatic changes (or) provide a ‘veto.’”) Nothing to see here folks. But its documentation continues to describe “shared decision-making through joint or consent models.”
These proposals should not surprise anyone. In 2019, the B.C. legislature passed Bill 41, the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). It requires the government to take “all measures necessary” to make the laws of British Columbia consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).
UNDRIP is a declaration of the U.N. General Assembly passed in 2007. It says that Indigenous people have “the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired… to own, use, develop and control.”
On its own, UNDRIP is non-binding and unenforceable. But DRIPA seeks to incorporate UNDRIP into B.C. law, obligating the government to achieve its aspirations. Mere consultation with First Nations, which Section 35 of the Constitution requires, won’t cut it under UNDRIP. Under Section 7 of DRIPA, agreements to be made with indigenous groups are to establish joint decision-making or to require consent of the Indigenous group. Either Cullen creates a First Nations veto or falls short of the goalposts in DRIPA. He is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Some commentators warned against these dangers long ago. For example, shortly after DRIPA was passed in 2019, Vancouver lawyer Robin Junger wrote in the Vancouver Sun, “It will likely be impossible for government to live up to the expectations that Indigenous groups will now reasonably hold, without fundamentally affecting the rights and interests of third parties.” Unfortunately, few wanted to tackle that thorny question head on at the time. All three political parties in B.C. voted in favour of DRIPA, which passed unanimously.
For a taste of how Land Act changes could work, ask some B.C. residents who have private docks. In Pender Harbour, for instance, the shishalh Nation and the province have jointly developed a “Dock Management Plan” to try and impose various new and onerous rules on private property owners (including red “no go” zones and rules that will make many existing docks and boat houses non-compliant). Property owners with long-standing docks in full legal compliance will have no right to negotiate, to be consulted, or to be grandfathered. Land Act amendments may hardwire this plan into B.C. law.
Yet Cullen insists that no veto will exist since aggrieved parties can apply to a court for judicial review. “[An agreement] holds both parties—B.C. and whichever nation we enter into an agreement (with)—to the same standard of judicial review, administrative fairness, all the things that courts protect when someone is going through an application or a tendering process,” he told Business in Vancouver.
This is nonsense on stilts. By that standard, no government official has final authority under any statute. All statutory decisions are potentially subject to judicial review, including decisions of Cullen himself as the minister responsible for the Land Act. He doesn’t have a veto? Of course he does. Moreover, courts on judicial review generally defer to statutory decision-makers. And they don’t change decisions but merely send them back to be made again. The argument that First Nations won’t have a veto because their decisions can be challenged on judicial review is legal jibber jabber.
When the U.N. passed UNDRIP in 2007, people said they can’t be serious. When the B.C. legislature passed DRIPA in 2019, people said they can’t be serious. The B.C. government now proposes to give First Nations a veto over the use of Crown land. Don’t worry, they can’t be serious.
Government policies diminish Alberta in eyes of investors
From the Fraser Institute
Canada’s economy has stagnated, with a “mild to moderate” recession expected this year. Alberta can help Canada through this economic growth crisis by reaping the benefits of a strong commodity market. But for this to happen, the federal and provincial governments must eliminate damaging policies that make Alberta a less attractive place to invest.
Every year, the Fraser Institute surveys senior executives in the oil and gas industry to determine what jurisdictions in Canada and the United States are attractive—or unattractive—to investment based on policy factors. According to the latest results, red tape and high taxes are dampening the investment climate in the province’s energy sector.
Consider the difference between Alberta and two large U.S. energy jurisdictions—Wyoming and Texas. According to the survey, oil and gas investors are particularly wary of environmental regulations in Alberta with 50 per cent of survey respondents indicating that “stability, consistency and timeliness of environmental regulatory process” scared away investment compared to 14 per cent in Wyoming and only 11 per cent in Texas.
Investors also suggest that the U.S. regulatory environment offers greater certainty and predictability compared to Alberta. For example, 42 per cent of respondents indicated that “uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation, stability, or enforcement of existing regulations” is a deterrent to investment in Alberta, compared to only 9 per cent in Wyoming and 13 per cent in Texas. Similarly, 43 per cent of respondents indicated that the cost of regulatory compliance was a deterrent to investment in Alberta compared to just 9 per cent for Wyoming and 19 per cent for Texas.
And there’s more—41 per cent of respondents for Alberta indicated that taxation deters investment compared to only 21 per cent for Wyoming and 14 per cent for Texas. Overall, Wyoming was more attractive than Alberta in 14 out of 16 policy factors assessed by the survey and Texas was more attractive in 11 out of 16.
Indeed, Canadian provinces are generally less attractive for oil and gas investment compared to U.S. states. This should come as no surprise—Trudeau government policies have created Canada’s poor investment climate. Consider federal Bill C-69, which imposes complex, uncertain and onerous review requirements on major energy projects. While this bill was declared unconstitutional, uncertainty remains until new legislation is introduced. During the COP28 conference in Dubai last December, the Trudeau government also announced its draft framework to cap oil and gas sector greenhouse gas emissions, adding uncertainty for investors due to the lack of details. These are just a few of the major regulations imposed on the energy industry in recent years.
As a result of these uncertain and onerous regulations, the energy sector has struggled to complete projects and reach markets overseas. Not surprisingly, capital investment in Alberta’s oil and gas sector plummeted from $58.1 billion (in 2014) to $26.0 billion in 2023.
The oil and gas sector is one of the country’s largest industries with a major influence on economic growth. Alberta can play a key role in helping Canada overcome the current economic challenges but the federal and provincial governments must pay attention to investor concerns and establish a more competitive regulatory and fiscal environment to facilitate investment in the province’s energy sector—for the benefit of all Canadians.
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