Earlier this week, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on residential schools.
One of its recommendations called for a Royal Proclamation of Reconciliation.
The Royal Proclamation is document the British issued in 1763 after the conquest of New France.
Hondo Arendt teaches political science at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert.
He says the proclamation itself is the foundation of the Canadian constitution, overriding even the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The language in the proclamation is vague, which has allowed it’s interpretation to be updated over time in a legal sense.
Arendt adds that to change the proclamation itself would require a constitutional amendment, a process in which Canada hasn’t had much success.
He says the idea of updating the Royal Proclamation to enshrine, to modernize and clarify First Nation’s rights is a good idea, but it’s the implementation that would be tricky.
An alternative, says Arendt, is to issue an updated Royal Proclamation with updated language that currently all parties already agree to, and to issue it as a bill rather than a constitutional admendment.
He says to come up with something equivalent to the Royal Proclamation that can override parliament, laws, and future governments, would be problematic.