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A Multidimensional Issue

"The current government, in choosing to ignore inflammatory court orders and continue negotiations, is actually observing the true spirit of the law."


This letter is a response to Rory Leishman's article, Rule of the Law Must Apply to Everyone.

I was appalled by Mr. Leishman's perspective on the issue of First Nations land use rights in Caledonia. Far from being an "occupation" of private land, it is better viewed as a repatriation of aboriginal lands. I for one applaud the provincial government for having the foresight (and hindsight) to purchase the land, and continue to negotiate with the First Nations people.

… we must speak out against the long history of oppression and bigotry faced by our First Nations brothers and sisters …

Mr. Leishman's comments are discriminatory when he refers to the "citizens of Caledonia" as if the First Nations peoples were not themselves citizens, in effect perpetuating the view of aboriginals as second class. But I do applaud Mr. Leishman's title of his commentary, and his quote of John Tory, "It is a fundamental rule of society that the law is the same for everybody. No matter how passionate the belief in a cause, nobody has the right to ignore the law just because they disagree with it or find it inconvenient. … " Amen. And that principle applies equally to the courts. The real issue here is that the wholesale redistribution of First Nations lands was illegal and unjust, an injustice they have tried for more than 200 years to settle with the government of Canada. So the current government, in choosing to ignore inflammatory court orders and continue negotiations, is actually observing the true spirit of the law.

As Christians, we must be sensitive to injustice. As Isaiah tells us "learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed" (Isaiah 1:17), and again "Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people … " (Isaiah 10:1-2).

Unlike Mr. Leishman, who would hide behind laws designed to rule by force, we must speak out against the long history of oppression and bigotry faced by our First Nations brothers and sisters and seek solutions that reflect Kingdom values of mercy and forgiveness.

Andy Coats is a full-time inner city missionary. After serving on several short term missions with Mississauga Chinese Baptist Church, he left corporate sales in 2003 to become an outreach worker to the homeless with Ekklesia Inner City Ministries—Project 417, in Toronto. Thousands of church volunteers have joined Andy for "sandwich runs," to deliver meals to homeless street people. His mission updates are available online. E-mail andyc@project417.com.

 

 
 
 
 

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