Honour of the Crown theme of CBA Aboriginal Law Conference May 5-6, Ottawa Marriott Hotel
May 4, 2016
OTTAWA – “The Honour of the Crown” is the theme of the Canadian Bar Association’s Aboriginal Law Conference taking place in Ottawa, May 5-6. Speakers at the event include author John Ralston Saul; Claudette Commanda of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres; Justice Harry Slade, chair of the Specific Claims Tribunal; Bob Rae of Othuis Kleer Townshend; and the Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin.
“Honour of the Crown” has become a central Canadian constitutional principle. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Honour of the Crown is at the heart of the relationship between Canada, as a State claiming territorial sovereignty, and its Indigenous occupants, who have occupied the land since before “discovery” of the “New World”. Simply put, Honour of the Crown requires both federal and provincial governments to act in good faith in their dealings with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.
“This conference brings together experts from the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to debate issues relating to Honour of the Crown,” says Ming Song, chair of the CBA’s Aboriginal Law Section.
Organized by the Section, the conference focuses on themes including how the Honour of the Crown applies in the litigation and consultation processes, for tribunals, in the community and for lawyers’ practices.
Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC) report with calls to action last year, the CBA has issued a response which focuses on steps the CBA has taken and will continue to take to advance the Commission’s Calls to Action.
For example, the CBA has intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge the constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences, pushed for an exemption clause to allow judges to avoid applying those sentences when injustice would result, and pressed the federal government to manage offenders with FASD and mental illnesses using a health care model, rather than incarceration.
“The CBA applauds the work of the TRC and favours the Commission’s steady and careful approach with emphasis on getting reconciliation right rather than getting it over,” says Jameela Jeeroburkhan, executive member of the Section.
As well, the CBA has written a letter to the Ministers of Justice, Public Safety, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs offering its help and collaboration on advancing the calls to action, as set out in the Ministers’ mandate letters.
“The CBA will continue to play its part in contributing to the reconciliation process. We offer our assistance to advance the work of the TRC,” adds Jameela Jeeroburkhan. “The CBA is urging all levels of governments and the private sector, including businesses, employees and the public, to review the calls to action and take their own appropriate steps toward full reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people.”
The Aboriginal Law Conference is open to media. For accreditation, please contact Hannah Bernstein.
The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.