01/14/2013 12:11 EST | Updated 03/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Don't Ignore the Red Brigades!

Tim Knight writes the regular media column, Watching the Watchdog, for HuffPost Canada.

Minutes from the meeting as imagined by Tim Knight:




Minutes of Meeting held at the Ministry

of Administrative Affairs, March 1, 2015

In the Chair: REDACTED


Secretary: REDACTED

1. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and REDACTED.

2. Matters arising:

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection REDACTED of Section D of Clause 228 of the Administrative Procedures (Canada) Act, 2001, it has been agreed that, insofar as the implementation of the statutory provisions is concerned, the resolution of anomalies and uncertainties between Her Majesty's government by right in Canada and the Red Brigades (formerly Idle No More) has reached REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED

The official report on yesterday's top-level meeting concerning treaties signed between the Crown and and First Nations has been released by the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Almost all of it redacted, as is the Harper government's custom. However, reliable sources inside the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) have leaked some details of its contents.

Here is a summation:

The first matter before the meeting, according to the sources, was this week's decision by the United Nations to offer peacekeeping troops to help contain and put down the First Nations' uprising, known as the Red Brigades, now in its second year.

Prime Minister Harper was reported to have angrily turned down the U.N. offer in spite of the fact that increasing numbers of RCMP and military are refusing to report for duty if it means confronting the Red Brigades.

Instead, the Prime Minister wrote to the Queen (once again bypassing the Governor General), requesting that two brigades of her Household Guards and the Black Watch be deployed to Canada as soon as possible, to be placed under the command of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Harper was quoted by one source as saying: "Maybe we can get some real soldiers from the Brits instead of those army clowns who've done nothing since Afghanistan but parade around in fancy uniforms and bitch about funding cuts."

However, another source denied this, citing the prime minister's famous adulation of all things military.

Meanwhile, the Red Brigades main force, already numbering thousands, is massing around the Kanesatake Mohawk reserve in Québec.

Kanesatake was the scene of the 1990 Mohawk rebellion that ended with the sacred burial ground, The Pines, remaining under Mohawk jurisdiction instead of being turned into a golf course for Oka, the nearby settler town.

It was at Kanesatake that the paramilitary Warrior Society became famous when it stood against the Sûreté du Québec and the army and refused to tear down barricades.

Today, Kanesatake is headquarters for the Red Brigades' high command, more than half of whom are believed to be women.

From there, guidelines go out to units deployed or training in every province and territory. Usually they're in Cree or Ojibwe, the two most widely spoken aboriginal languages in Canada. Since few settlers understand either language in spite of 145 years of European settlement here, protests, blockades and raids can happen without warning anywhere at anytime.

The month-long blockade and closing of Vancouver port, fourth largest in North America, and the brief occupation of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, are examples.

Around the country, the Red Brigades are believed to be gaining dozens of new recruits every day.

Most are young indigenous men and women whose fathers and grandfathers told them of the proud record of Canada's aboriginal warriors in both world wars and Korea.

The past wars, the Kanesatake rebellion and the legendary Mohawk chief Joseph Brant -- who fought alongside the British during the Seven Years War with France and the American Revolutionary War -- are inspirations.

But recruiting is no longer confined to First Nations. Dozens of sympathetic young settler men and women are joining the revolt too. They are placed under the command of indigenous officers and most given menial duties such as cooking and cleaning. But a few white Afghanistan veterans who pass the qualifying tests do join regular field units.

And all the while, growing ever closer, is the Red Brigades' high command ultimatum delivered to the Queen earlier this month:

"The time for talk is ending. The drums of war are already sounding. Unless we talk nations to nation, as equals, and all our treaties are respected, we will close down this country."

And they quote Georges Erasmus, then leader of the Assembly of First Nations, who 24 years ago warned that something like the Idle No More revolt was certain:

"We want to let you know that you are dealing with fire. We say, Canada, deal with us today because our militant leaders are already born. We cannot promise that you are going to like the kind of violent political action we can just about guarantee the next generation is going to bring to our reserves."

A generation ago, the chief warned us.

And it's come to pass.

Because we didn't listen.