I think that it has been firmly established that that is completely legal to record a conversation, meeting, call without the consent of other parties. Was recording a conversation, when one anticipates harm, a valid reason to not inform the other party? Was it enough of a reason to toss a senior member of cabinet out of the building? What role did gender and ethnicity play in this drama? I was once in the position where I was once unknowing recorded in a meeting of several people. One or more individuals, other than the one surreptiously holding the recording device knew the proceedings were being recorded.
In this case, it was primarily Indigenous women at the table, some represented the community and others including myself represented government. The bottom line is that we were all trying to put the best interests of the Indigenous community first. Even so, there seemed to be an effort to lead me and my colleagues into a rabbit hole. I’m not sure the situation would have happened if it had been white men at the table. I found out later about the recording. I contacted several different individuals both within the department I worked in and outside the department about my rights. I clearly felt that consent to record by all parties should have been granted by all parties and that my individual rights had been violated. Apparently, no crime committed – no consent necessary. I suppose taking a bird’s eye view, in this day and time of technology, we are always being recorded, whether it be while driving and traffic cams or in casual conversation with friends and finding later advertisements coming up based on your conversations. Lesson here is assume an audio video capture even if you are sitting on your sofa!
The bigger question is, why did the individual feel the need to record the proceedings?
I can only assume it was a meeting with governments, not with individuals that was the primary reason.
Governments, that we as Indigenous Peoples have been subjected to in maintaining oppressive colonial structures. I believe it was the policies of the system that have continued to marginalize Indigenous people and communities that was the cause of feeling unsafe and a need to protect rights. On the other hand, meetings are generally recorded, by minutes and or electronically, so it would have been totally acceptable.
I won’t even attempt to imagine the requirement to protect herself that Jody Wilson-Raybould felt. Many Indigenous women have felt the same way. In fact, many believed that they could change they system by being in it, rather that fighting it. For the most part, this has not proven to be the case. In fact, one Indigenous Women had filed a Human Rights complaint against a federal department. One of the prevailing attitudes that she was subjected to, was being told by her supervisor that, “we want people that look like you, but think like us”. And there is not doubt, that this was the attitude that surrounded Jody Wilson-Raybould with in that there was an expectation that she was like us (government). Governments and certainly the liberal party, did not realize that the Laws of the Big House superseded their own. Perhaps that is why the prevailing liberal conversation is that “Jody was difficult to work with.” For sure, difficult is what happens when two different systems, two sets of rules are in play. What did the liberal party expect when they courted Jody to run under their banner? Did they think that as a regional representative of AFN, that she was just an extension of government?
Despite these circumstances that Jody Wilson-Raybould experience at the highest level of colonial government. (and many other Indigenous women in different levels of governments).
She still managed to set the course of the iceberg by ensuring guiding principles be adopted by the federal government. These principles are:
- All relations with Indigenous Peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including he inherent right of self-government.
- Reconciliation is a fundamental purpose of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
- The hour of the Crown guides the conduct of the Crown in all of its dealings with Indigenous Peoples.
- Indigenous self-government is part of Canada’s evolving system of cooperative federalism and distinct orders of government.
- Treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.
- Meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples aims to secure their free, prior, and informed consent when Canada propose to take actions which impact them and their rights on the lands, territories and resources.
- Respecting and implementing rights is essential that any infringement of section 35 rights must by law meet a high threshold of justification which includes Indigenous perspective and satisfies the Crown’s fiduciary obligations.
- Reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with Indigenous nations, that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.
- Reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships.
- A distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of First nations, the Metis Nation and Inuit are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented.
Now the question is, Will the federal government as represented by its department implemented in their daily process and policy application. Will provinces and other governments also adopt and implement.
We don’t need the principles to be an election platform. In the interest of reconciliation this can and should be implemented now.