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Carolyn Bennett, Danielle Takacs & Liberal candidates visit Six Nations for tour, roundtable

Yesterday, Liberal MP and Aboriginal Affairs Critic Carolyn Bennett visited Brantford-Brant riding for the whole day to participate in discussions on Native Housing issues as well as to tour Six Nations and New Credit territory (though she’s been here so many times, Chief Ava Hill of Six Nations said Ms Bennett could have probably lead the tour herself) and then to participate in a “listening” roundtable, where Six Nations leaders and people could express their issues and concerns.

Ms Bennett was accompanied by Brantford-Brant Liberal candidate Danielle Takacs for the whole day, and later on for the tour and roundtable, they were joined by LPC candidates Joan Mouland (Haldimand-Norfolk), […]


Harper / PMO: “The Inuit knew about the Franklin ships? Who knew?”

APTN demonstrates how low a priority First Nations relations are with the Harper government at the moment:

The Franklin expedition ship found by researchers on the Arctic seabed has a detailed and colourful history within Inuit oral tradition, yet the Inuit garnered only one 17-word sentence among the press releases and backgrounders released by the Prime Minister’s Office at the time after Tuesday’s announced discovery…the general public wouldn’t know about the key role Inuit oral history played in the selection of the search area by reading the information posted on the PMO’s website. There, the role of the Inuit in the Franklin saga is mentioned only in passing….The PMO did […]


Harper to First Nations: Bother my MP’s, not me, with your issues.

I’ve not seen another article come out yet on the meeting that Harper had with the First Nation’s Chiefs other then this one, but from the First Nations perspective, their concerns appear to have been taken rather lightly by the PM, to say the least:

First Nations leaders will be listening closely to the words Prime Minister Stephen Harper chooses in his speech at the Crown-First Nations gathering Tuesday after he left chiefs feeling underwhelmed by his response to their presentations during a special, two-and-a-half hour meeting with a delegation Monday. Harper told chiefs that they should consider contacting their MPs and that he can’t just focus on Aboriginal issues […]


Attawapiskat: the human faces to Conservative indifference.

This is a picture of children from the Cree community of Appawapiskat. The community and these kids have been advocating to the federal government for years for funds to help build a new school to replace their old one, which has been declared condemned. They had received promises from both federal Liberal and Conservative Indian Affairs Ministers that the school would be built, but nothing has been done. Now, however, the ultra-compassionate (said with sarcasm) Chuck Strahl has point-blank said that the school wouldn’t be built. Not on the priority list, according to Chuck, even though these kids have been without a school for eight years.

In the meantime, one of the kids, Thirteen-year-old Shannen Koostachin, has been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize for her efforts in getting the new school. That award is given out by the same folks who give out the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be a great honour for Shannen, and at the same time an extreme embarrassment to the Conservative government, if she were to win that award and the school had still been refused funding.

That isn’t the only action these kids have taken:

The youth have sent notice to the federal government, letting them know they intend to send a report to the UN detailing Indian and Northern Affairs’ failure to build a school. It will be addressed in the upcoming review of Canada’s obligations under the Conventions on the Rights of the Child. “We want what every other kid takes for granted, we want a new school,” said Shannen Koostachin, 14…The group would like to invite the UN to visit Attawapiskat and “walk a mile in our moccasins” to see what students are forced to live with every day — a request Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Chuck Strahl denied when students visited Ottawa.

Of course Chuck would deny the UN the opportunity to visit the community – because it would guarantee international condemnation (which it still might anyhow). It would show the world that while the Conservatives may mouth apologies for past wrong deeds and speak nice words (which still get sneered at by the likes of Pierre Poilievre), it can’t act on current wrong deeds.

H/T to Cam for highlighting the plight of the kids and community of Attawapiskat and asking if other bloggers would also highlight this to try and raise awareness. I’m happy to do so.

[email protected]:08pm: Robert over at Blast Furnace Canada has also blogged about this.

UPDATE [email protected]:11pm: I see that Troy had also bogged about this earlier. I feel a blogburst coming on.

UPDATE [email protected]:08pm: Impolitical joins in, as does Wandering Coyote in an addenum to a blogpost

UPDATE [email protected]:14pm: Jim over at the Progressive Right chimes in.

UPDATE [email protected]:50pm: Jim Curran doesn’t do a blogpost does a blogpost, which is a CC of my blogpost, and does put up a link and pic on his sidebar. Stageleft does the same thing at their site, and adds his own blogburst

UPDATE [email protected] 7,2008, 5am: More bloggers posting about this story here, here, and here.

UPDATE [email protected]:46am: Canadian Cynic mentions this here.

UPDATE [email protected]:06am: Jimbobby blogs about this situation here.

UPDATE [email protected]:30pm: Pogge and Skinny blog about this.

UPDATE [email protected]:35 pm: Dr Dawg blogs it.

UPDATE [email protected]:53pm: Saskboy blogs it, and to his credit, Darcey at Dust My Broom, a Conservative-supporting blog, does as well, though the commentators at his blog are for the most part, showing their ignorance typical of the right-wing these days.

UPDATE [email protected]:00pm: Paladiea over at her blog comments on this shameful situation.

UPDATE [email protected]:00pm: Northern BC Dipper and A Creative Revolution also chime in.


Can Pierre Poilievre, Part 2

Apparently, Pierre was even feeling heat from some of his own Conservative colleagues for his stupid remarks yesterday:

CTV parliamentary correspondent Roger Smith said many Conservatives are also angry at Poilievre. Certainly the content of what he said is very debatable, his timing was not very good at all, said Smith.

I have no doubt whether or not Pierre was speaking on his own and inadvertently let slip out what the Conservatives REALLY think of the First Nations peoples (note that he said in his comments yesterday that some of us are starting to ask are we really getting value for all of this money and is more money really going to solve the problem?’. Who was he referring to there, as Liberal Anita Neville rightly wondered.), or else he just went off message on his Cons. talking points, the Prime Minister’s Office probably wasn’t very happy with him spoiling their apology yesterday and making them look rather insincere.

I also have no doubt that led to a stern talking-to and was why Pierre rose today and made a Member’s Statement where he apologized for his remarks. I don’t have the context of what he said yet; I’ll be taking a look at Hansard or seeing if others have found it.

That isn’t enough for the Liberals, who are demanding Pierre be removed/fired from his Parliamentary Secretary position for the “intolerant remarks”, and insults toward the residential school survivors. Rightfully so. Harper however will probably claim that the apology is all that is warranted, which is his SOP when one of his MP’s or Cabinet ministers gets into hot water.

[email protected]:15pm: How predictable of Harper:

“The opposition called on Harper to dismiss the parliamentary secretary to the Treasury Board president, saying the comments were shocking and offensive on a historic day meant to engender a more respectful relationship between aboriginal Canadians and the government. Harper rejected the call, but said the remarks were wrong. “As all members of the House know, the parliamentary secretary has apologized for remarks that were wrong. I know that he has also forthwith contacted national aboriginal associations to indicate that,” Harper said.

(H/T Cam, who is now saying that he regrets giving Harper the benefit of the doubt yesterday in being sincere with his apology)


The Cons don’t even know how to do an apology correctly. Pipsqueak Pierre needs to be punished.

You know, I WAS going to say that the apology Stephen Harper delivered today to the First Nations people was a nice and long overdue gesture, but it sure would be nicer if the Conservatives matched their words with actions – something this government hasn’t done, or rather it’s done actions in the negative - as with the scrapping of the Kelowna Accord.

This evening however, one of the Cons. knuckle-draggers, Pierre Poilievre, decided to show in an interview that really, deep deep down, the Cons. think the natives are just ripping the taxpayers off, even those who endured the years of abuse and mistreatment in the residential schools:

“That gets to the heart of the problem on these reserves where there is too much power concentrated in the hands of the leadership, and it makes you wonder where all of this money is going. We spend $10 billion dollars – $10 billion dollars – in annual spending this year alone now, that is an exceptional amount of money, and that is on top of all the resource revenue that goes to reserves that sit on petroleum products or sit on uranium mines or other things where companies have to pay them royalties and thats on top of all that money that they earn on their own reserves. That is an incredible amount of money. Now along with this apology comes another $4 billion in compensation for those who partook in the residential schools over those years. Now, you know, some of us are starting to ask, Are we really getting value for all of this money, and is more money really going to solve the problem? My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance. Thats the solution in the long run – more money will not solve it.

The First Nations did not “partake” in the residential schools program. Partake is a synonym for sharing or participating in something, and the Natives certainly did no such thing. And, Pierre, that money is compensation for their ill treatment. What in the world does “getting value for all this money” have to do with anything? This looked like a nudge-nudge-wink-wink speech aimed at the likes of the SDA crowd, to reassure them that yea, we think that money going to the natives is a waste.

You wanna know what Pierre’s speech is the equivalent of?


That’s basically what Pierre is giving to the First Nations, on the day of what was supposed to be a historic apology for years and years of mistreatment, neglect, abuse, and attempted assimilation of a culture.

I agree with Cam (who has First Nations in his ancestry and is a lot more irate in his blogpost about this); If Harper and his Cons. want to show they are really sincere in their apology – they will discipline Poilievre.

(H/T Kady O’Malley for catching this idiocy of Pierre’s)

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