This week, a tweet sent from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's account lashed out at Senator Patrick Brazeau, calling him "a typical colonized indian asshole." A spokesperson for Chief Spence told Global News that the inflammatory "asshole" comment neither came from Spence, nor was it "something she would ever say." However, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine that relations between Brazeau and Spence can probably be described as chilly. Then again, who wasn't feeling a little frosty what with the frigid weather across the country.
Left-wing fundamentalist ideology is oppressing the very groups they claim to champion. Their rhetoric is anathema to the needs of those they claim to represent. The ideologues on the left are the ones who need to take responsibility for the poor outcomes for the aboriginal peoples.
If aboriginal Canadians question Chief Spence, ask questions about Idle No More, or express contrary opinions, they will find themselves targeted and marginalized. While I am untroubled by personal attacks, I am very concerned for those aboriginal Canadians who live in fear of speaking out.
Many Canadians have long lamented the plight of our First Nations population, but a clear solution has never been proffered. According to a recent Ips...
Protestors associated with the Idle No More movement disrupted traffic to the Ambassador Bridge today. The disruption was planned from 11a.m. to 2p.m. While disrupting traffic may seem harmless enough, it comes with substantial costs.
Today's "National Day of Action" gives Chief Theresa Spence another opportunity to declare a victory over holding the government to account and another opportunity to call off her "hunger" strike. By not doing so she risks further polarizing and dividing the movement and First Nations leadership. The government is left with few options. It must still negotiate with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and National Chief Shawn Atleo, as it has to be seen to be engaged and working to make change possible, sooner rather than later.
To suggest Harper has consulted with First Nations leaders because of the meeting on Friday is simply ridiculous. First Nations know the realities of what they are facing and the Conservatives' dishonest talking points, aimed at convincing average Canadians they are making progress, are further undermining what little credibility they have with Canada's indigenous population.
This week Prime Minister Stephen Harper granted Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's wish and met with First Nations Chiefs. But the still-hunger-striking Spence was one of many chiefs who chose to boycott the three-hour talks, in part because the Governor General would not be in attendance. So what to make of a leader who's willing to forego solid food for weeks to further her goal of meeting with the nation's leadership -- but who doesn't consider a conversation with merely the PM good enough? Apparently she's not an incrementalist.
If the million or so aboriginal Canadians together realized their joint power, they could change Canada into a totally different society. And there are indications that a strategy is there. Idle No More need not be a confrontational force -- it can be the catalyst to bring about real justice and fairness for all the nations of Canada.
The Deloitte & Touche audit of Attawapiskat is a textbook outcome of the fatal weakness in Canada's current model of First Nations governance, which is coded to fail. There could be hundreds of Attawapiskats.
Does anyone know what the average First Nations chief's level of training and management experience is? Or the average training and experience of band councillors? How many building inspectors live within 50 miles of Attawapiskat? How about CAs, CGAs or project managers capable of supervising and maintaining records on multiple construction sites?
All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence's and Elder Raymond Robinson's hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government.
What we have here is a woman who bemoans the impoverished nature of her reserve while she is partly to blame for it; a woman who has the ability to make things better, but won't because not everyone has RSVP'd to her invitation. What was once a justified pursuit to better the pitiful lives of the disenfranchised in First Nations communities has become a circus in which there is no possibility of dialogue unless every single demand is met. Spence is not a symbol to be admired. She is but one of the myriad reasons why First Nation communities exist in the sad way that they do, and it's time for her to go.
The jet lag has passed and the Christmas decorations (for some of us at least) are put away in storage. With 2013 stretching out before us, let's reflect on the year that was 2012 in Canadian politics. The best and worst political stories, the best and worst politicians and the biggest sellout.
Chief Spence's hunger strike is the perfect unexpected act; it is asymmetrical action in the face of controllable expectations. She is laying everything on the line to reclaim the sacredness of her community and she is succeeding. Use this as inspiration for your own acts.
The issues Chief Spence is raising -- terrible living conditions, deep neglect, poverty and powerlessness -- will not go away, and will not disappear in the face of attack. They are the shame of our nation and must be addressed. But the Conservatives have rejected replacing the Indian Act with a real transfer of power, and the implementation of the self government agreements which all Canadian governments agreed to in Charlottetown 20 years ago. They have offered nothing that even begins to address the issues. We shall all pay a heavy price for this lack of leadership.
At some point, aboriginal Canadians need to consider that the best hope of a future for their children may be integration into the mainstream of Canadian socio-economic life. They need also understand that integration is not the same as assimilation.