A month long, cross-country unity panel set up by BC's NDP Premier Glen Clark has ended its tour and is expected to make a final report to the provincial government by February 15. The tour was set up by Clark after Canada's first ministers, excluding Quebec's, agreed in September to the "Calgary Declaration on Canadian Unity" to foster "Canadian Unity".
The seven principles contained in the Calgary Declaration are intended to guide the Canadian federation and each province agreed to consult with their residents followed by official acceptance or rejection. BC's panel will advise the legislature of their findings.
Given that the Canadian settler-state is founded and maintained upon the basis of indigenous genocide and colonialism, the "Unity" initiative is a further fresh step in the ongoing racist suppression of this fundamental fact. British Columbia, erected upon unceded indigenous territories over which it has no lawful jurisdiction, is particularly objectionable. A fraudulent and genocidal BC Treaty Commission, and a steadfast refusal in the face of international outrage to conduct an inquiry into the paramilitary attack upon Shuswap traditionalists at Gustafsen Lake, is another case in point.
The seven principles of the Calgary declaration include the following:
1. All Canadians are equal and have rights protected by law.The "Unity" panel is accepting written submissions until December 31, 1997. It is strongly urged that all concerned register their outrage at the denial of indigenous jurisdiction and sovereignty, demand that the authorities conduct independent inquiries into the paramilitary attacks upon indigenous peoples at Stoney Point and Gustafsen Lake, and that the Ts'peten political prisoners Wolverine and OJ Pitawanakwat be released immediately.
2. All provinces, while diverse in their characteristics, have equality of status.
3. Canada is graced by a diversity, tolerance, compassion and an equality of opportunity that is without rival in the world.
4. Canada's gift of diversity includes Aboriginal peoples and cultures, the vitality of the English and French languages and a multicultural citizenry drawn from all parts of the world.
5. In Canada's federal system, where respect for diversity and equality underlies unity, the unique character of Quebec society, including its French speaking majority, its culture and its tradition of civil law, is fundamental to the well being of Canada. Consequently, the legislature and government of Quebec have a role to protect and develop the unique character of Quebec society within Canada.
6. If any future constitutional amendment confers powers on one province, these powers must be available to all provinces.
7. Canada is a federal system where federal, provincial and territorial governments work in partnership while respecting each other's jurisdictions. Canadians want their governments to work co-operatively and with flexibility to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the federation. Canadians want their governments to work together particularly in the delivery of their social programs. Provinces and territories renew their commitment to work in partnership with the government of Canada to best serve the needs of Canadians.