APTN National News
Monday October 22, 2007


Donna Smith (Announcer): A tour of housing conditions in Canada has wrapped up. For the past two weeks a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations has put homelessness, women and Indigenous people under a microscope. His job now is to prepare a report on his findings with a view to creating dialogue on solutions between government and society. Miloon Kothari presented some of his preliminary findings in Ottawa. Citing concerns for clean drinking water, sanitation and structural safety, he says housing for aboriginal people is in a critical state.

Miloon Kothari: I think there is a legacy in this country of colonialism, of large-scale dispossession of people from their homes, and what is required is nothing short of the recognition of First Nations rights to self-determination. I think if this is not done, what will happen is what has been reflected by the UN Human Rights Committee in its 2006 review of Canada, that it will lead to the extinguishment of inherent aboriginal rights.

Smith: The report will be unveiled in four months. Kothari also mentioned the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta. They’ve been fighting half a century of federal and provincial stonewalling while oil and gas companies extract billions of dollars in revenue from land they’re claiming. Kothari says there should be a moratorium on further development until the claim is settled.