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What qualifications did Harper look for when he picked his new Indian Affairs Minister?

Apparently, he decided to pick someone who had the most anti-First Nations statements in his past, and the winner was Chuck Strahl:

Here’s the best (or worst) of the lot:

On gravel excavation by the Cheam Indian band: “I do not even think the land they scalped the gravel from is theirs.” (The Canadian Index, May 17, 1999, Volume: Vol. 10, No. 14)

That’s a comment I expect to see from the far-right wackos in blogging land, and I dont expect to see someone who’s uttered it as an MP (which is bad enough) to then be picked to represent the Indian Affairs Department. A real ugly pick there for Harper, though I’m not particularly shocked, considering the at best indifferent attitude they’ve taken with the aboriginal communities.

Prentice was by all accounts at least a moderate in their Cabinet on this issue and in this portfolio, but considering how Strahl behaved while he was busy trying to manipulate the demise of the Wheat Board through devious methods, and from looking at the list of appalling statements he’s made over aboriginal issues, I’ll be surprised if you see a marked improvement in the relations between the Conservatives and First Nations groups. From the comments he made, I suspect you’ll more likely see a deterioration.

7 comments to What qualifications did Harper look for when he picked his new Indian Affairs Minister?

  • Timothy Webster

    A failed recollection,  Vellacott  should never have been chairman of the aboriginal affairs committee.

  • Maurice Vellacott as Indian Affairs Minister? I want what you're smoking.

    Vellacott will never get anywhere near the cabinet room. His odds of becoming a minister are even less than Cheryl Gallant's. Maybe even more than Rob Anders'.

    He was chair of the Indian Affairs COMMITTEE though …

  • slg

    I would say that Harper has no interest in the natives and their woes – not enough votes there.   I read where Tom Flannigan (indian hater from way back and Harper's mentor) felt that Prentice was getting too cozy and close to the natives.

    Hey, it's all about Quebec and votes.  Why are people, even conservative supporters, putting up with that? 

  • foottothefire

    The power base of the current Conservative caucus is blessed with a peculiar view of right and wrong, good and evil, jurisprudence and good government, all of which defies convention.  As a result history, fact and legal precedence impede Harper's objectives so he doesn't mind at all demonstrating "faux leadership" to make a point with voters.  The plan is to convince enough of them that he, Steven Harper, is not out of step with the world; it's the other way around. 
    Endless court challenges to legislation he cannot legally change, circus performances in the Senate,  outspoken rascial comments, prejudicial treatment of minorities, patronizing vested interest groups etc, all play to the  minds of the public, striking chords of truth with "faux wisdoms". 
    Something akin to, selling the sizzle, not the steak.

  • Timothy Webster

    This has been a job requirement for Harper’s Indian Affairs from the beginning. Harper’s first choice was Maurice Vellacott. Check out this Vellecott’s political history. He truly has his head deep in his own self righteousness. Vellecott is despised as an Indian Affairs Minster, for defending Saskatoon Police Officers who toke an Indian out of town and left to freeze to death.

    The question is why is Harper picking Indian Affairs Ministers who have shown themselves not worthy of respect by the very people they serve. Answering my own question, Harper is a deep supporter of Vellecott’s opinions and beliefs. Vellecott the first Indian Affairs Minister had to be moved aside when he opened his mouth and exposed himself.

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