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For immediate release
March 9, 2021
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee today wrote to the Honourable Audrey Gordon, Minister of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery and to the Honourable Eileen Clarke, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations to request the withdrawal of Bill 56, The Smoking and Vapour Products Control Amendment Act.
“I request that the Bill be immediately withdrawn as your development and the tabling of the Bill are each contrary to The Path to Reconciliation Act,” wrote Grand Chief Settee in a March 9, 2021, letter that is jointly addressed to Minister Gordon and Minister Clarke.
While Bill 56 was given first reading in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on November 2, 2020, the text of Bill 56 was not released to the Members of the Legislative Assembly, the public, or First Nations until March 4, 2021. The sole provision of Bill 56 is to repeal s. 9.4 of The Smoking and Vapour Products Control Amendment Act, which was upheld by the Manitoba Court of Appeal in the March 12, 2008 decision in R. v. Creekside Hideaway Motel Ltd. MKO was an intervenor before the court.
Grand Chief Settee continued, “Respectfully, as the only actual effect of Bill 56 would be to attempt to unilaterally impose the application of The Smoking and Vapour Products Control Amendment Act on First Nation reserve lands, it is frankly astounding that Manitoba would develop and table this proposed legislation in the complete absence of any prior discussion, review or engagement with First Nations whatsoever.”
Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke is charged with the responsibility to ensure the application and reporting related to The Path to Reconciliation Act, which provides at section 3(2) of the Act: “(e)ach member of the Executive Council is to promote measures to advance reconciliation through the work of the member’s department and across government.”
“This approach and these actions are regrettable, perpetuate colonialism and are inappropriate in light of Legislative Assembly’s endorsement of the principles of reconciliation, the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the principles of the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Legislative Assembly’s express direction as to the conduct of Members of the Executive Council through the Path to Reconciliation Act,” added Grand Chief Settee.
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]