Monday, May 13, 2013

FDA Podcast: Mr. Thomas R. Berger Interview

Mr. Thomas R. Berger is a Canadian authority on issues of the Canadian north, justice, and minority rights with emphasis on land rights of aboriginals. Most recently, Mr. Berger as council for the Manitoba Métis Federation won a case involving 5,565 sq. kilometers of land which was granted to the Métis. Mr. Berger is a recipient of the Order of Canada and Order of British Colombia, and he is widely known for his inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline and role as council in the Calder case.
Mr. Stephen Garvey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement, interviews Mr. Thomas R. Berger. Mr. Berger is an authority on issues of the Canadian north, justice, and minority rights with emphasis on land rights of aboriginals. Mr. Berger is widely known for his inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline and his role as council for the Nisga'a First Nation in the Calder case. In addition, Mr. Berger helped ensure that aboriginal rights were included in the Canadian Constitution of 1982, and most recently Mr. Berger represented the Manitoba Métis Federation in a law suit about 5,556 sq. kilometers of land granted to the Manitoba Métis through the Manitoba Act in the 1870s. Mr. Berger won the case, which is now subject to potential appeal by the Canadian federal government. In this podcast, Mr. Berger shares his perspective on aboriginal rights and aboriginals' place in Canada. Mr. Berger argues that due to aboriginals’ distinct cultures and ways of life, and the fact that Canada was their home before the French and English settlers arrived, that Canadian aboriginals deserve the same rights as all other Canadians and inherent protection of their distinct cultures and identities. Mr. Berger points out that up until the 1950s in Canada, aboriginals were disallowed by law from raising money for law suits pertaining to aboriginal title, and that the imposition of residential schools on aboriginals was a way to assimilate them into the setters’ culture and way of life. Mr. Berger believes that diversity is Canada's greatest strength, and that aboriginals are an integral part of that diversity. However, he says that Canada's multicultural experiment requires continuous struggle and attention as there is no perfect state of co-existence or model of governance. Overall, Mr. Berger shares his reasons and belief as to why aboriginal's culture and identities need to be protected and preserved as part of Canada's diverse identity. For non-mainstream, insightful, and provocative discussion from people working in the field of international politics, listen in or download the FDA podcasts.

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