Green Party Urges Government of Canada to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and amend Canada’s Constitution

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada and the Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Circle of the Green Party of Canada are celebrating the recent announcement made by Pope Francis on behalf of the Vatican to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

“I am so pleased that the Vatican has finally recognized these Papal Bulls were an assault of the dignity and rights of Indigenous Peoples and were used to justify immoral acts against us, including subjugation of Indigenous peoples in Canada and theft of our land. This was an important call by Indigenous Peoples in Canada and worldwide and it has been answered by the Vatican,” said Rainbow Eyes, (Indigenous Affairs Critic, IPAC Member)

At the General Meeting of the Green Party of Canada in 2016, the membership adopted as party policy the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, making Greens the first party to address this fundamental issue. This motion is calling on the Government of Canada to make the same repudiation of the Doctrine. It was a call to action that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015 and the supporting motion was adopted by the GPC at convention by consensus.

The TRC called on federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to renounce the Doctrine and to discredit all concepts used to justify European sovereignty over indigenous lands and peoples. The Doctrine of Discovery is rooted in colonial concepts including the concept of terra nullius, which was the initial basis colonizers used to claim sovereignty over aboriginal lands.

The TRC also echoed a call from the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples to jointly develop with Aboriginal peoples a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation to be issued by the Crown. The proclamation would build on the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Niagara of 1764, and reaffirm the nation-to-nation relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown.

The Green Party membership also calls on the Government of Canada to amend Canada's Constitution to align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), so that Canada is able to recognize the legal status of Indigenous Nations and their rights, including the right to form autonomous governments and manage their titled lands.

“Taking action to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery is long overdue and it is time for Canada to recognize the original Nations and renew its relationship with Indigenous Peoples in a way that is based on truth,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.


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Fabrice Lachance Nové

Press secretary