Politcs Law And Court Essay

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Final Thesis Paper

The Discrimination of Aboriginal and Muslim People In Canada: A Comparative Analysis of Discrimination and Rights Violations in Post-Colonial Canada

Name: Roshana Momen
Class: AP/POLS 4130 6.0 Politics law and the Courts
Date: April 22nd, 2013
Student Number: 210045524
Professor: Jennifer Dalton

The Discrimination of Aboriginal and Muslim People In Canada: A Comparative Analysis of Discrimination and Rights Violations in Post-Colonial Canada

Introduction Canada is often hailed as a beacon of multicultural acceptance. According to Statistics Canada, between 25% and 28% of Canadians are foreign born, and between 29% and 32% belong to a visible minority. Canada prides itself on its acceptance of other cultures, and the equal rights that it affords to all of its citizens. However, there is an unfortunate disconnect between rights afforded and rights observed, particularly for Aboriginals, and recently, Muslims, within Canadian society. These two groups have been marginalized, deprived of some of their fundamental rights as Canadians, and their plight has been vastly disregarded or swept under the proverbial rug as the nation continues to claim that they provide a safe haven for all cultures. This paper’s central argument states that the Aboriginal and Muslim experience in Canada is marred by the Canadian government’s discrimination of Muslims and Aboriginals and by the systematic violations of rights that continue toward these marginalized groups. Using a neo-colonialist perspective, it will stipulate that both Aboriginals and Muslims have been made into colonial subjects. The paper will first discuss the pre-Confederation treatment of Aboriginals, which should outline the ways that a colonial subject is treated, which will further the argument that both groups are still colonial subjects and being treated under the neo-colonial agenda. This paper will then focus on the post-colonial era, and characteristics of the new colonial subjects, specifically covering the treatment of Muslim men post-9/11, and their unjust suppression because of security certificates and the Anti-Terrorism act. This paper will also examine current Aboriginal status issues, and argue that though rights have been afforded to this group, mainly the right to self-government or self-determination and the right to use and claim land through titles, these rights have not been respected, as proven by Delgamuukw v. British Columbia [1997] and Van der Peet. Finally, I will conclude with the argument that despite surface similarities, the experiences of these two groups in Canada are extremely similar, and conclude that Canada cannot claim to be a multicultural, accepting society if they use neo-colonial systems of oppression to subjugate any of its citizens. There are benefits in considering the case of Aboriginals and Muslims side by side. Though there are many marginalized groups in Canadian society – the elderly, women, those affected by mental health issues, those who live below the poverty line and the homeless, visible minorities – these two groups have many similarities that make them comparative cases. There are also a series of distinctions which make the case more dynamic – the fact that Aboriginals were the original inhabitants of Canada, versus Muslims, who are relatively new to the country, the fact that Aboriginals were systematically discriminated against and there has been a so-called “restoration” process to remedy these “past” discriminations, versus the Muslim situation, which has rapidly worsened since the events of 9/11, amongst others. Another important distinction is the form that these groups find themselves as “colonial subjects”. The Aboriginal peoples face colonialism more traditionally, in that they were the original inhabitants of the country, and were oppressed by the forceful seizure of their land by Europeans. Muslims have chosen to come to Canada and have been subjected to