Aboriginal Self-Government and the Construction of Canadian Constitutional Identity


  • Michael Asch




In this article, the author examines the need for constitutional recognition and protection of the political collective rights of minority groups in Canada, particularly those of Aboriginal nations. The author asserts that Canada's present constitutional approach to minority collective rights is one of "indirect consociation," an approach which embraces the ideology of "universalism" and does not expressly recognize or protect minority ethnonational communities. This is ineffective as it generates political instability. He examines both Canadian constitutional thinking as well as the thoughts of Aboriginal nations on the right to self-government and discusses the conflicting theories behind each position. Finally, the author suggests that the solution to resolving this conflict between minority and majority political rights is for Canada to adopt a "direct consociation" approach. This approach would recognize expressly and protect the political rights of Aboriginal nations and other minorities, based on the concept of equality, as opposed to continuing colonialist or assimilationist approaches which only serve to heighten inequality and political tension.




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