Who said what about #IdleNoMore - Macleans.ca

Who said what about #IdleNoMore

Politics on TV: Strategists and pundits on what it all means


Message of the day

“There is an agreement to a high-level process on treaty implementation.”

Events as they unfolded:

  1. Before the meeting ended
  2. After the meeting ended

Questions not answered

  • Will AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo’s position be in trouble because he attended the meeting?
  • Was the question of the duty to consult on the omnibus budget bills actually answered?

Before the meeting ended:

Power & Politics started off with CBC’s Terry Milewski, who recapped the awkward press conference with Chief Theresa Spence, the demonstrations, and the arguments of chiefs who went into the meeting despite calls for boycotts. Hannah Thibedeau then spoke with Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Neepinak and Mushkegowak Territory Grand Chief Stan Louttit. Neepinak said that they came together in unity and with a consistent message, and that they are standing behind Chief Spence because she is “living by the natural law.” He said that their people are together in numbers and reinvigorating their songs and ceremonies. Louttit said that he was disappointed that there was unity and one voice before the National Chief and others decided to go ahead with the meeting. He felt there should have been more discussion and unity around the table, that there will be fingers pointed at Atleo in the future, and that Spence would continue her hunger strike as her conditions have not been met.

Power Play first heard from Mercedes Stephenson, who described the scene of the protests before Don Martin spoke with AFN Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy. Beardy said that he felt it was necessary to boycott the meeting because of the respect for Chief Spence’s demands that the Prime Minister and Governor General be at the same meeting, and Spence is an Ontario chief. Beardy said that the Idle No More movement was a catalyst to the meeting, because they are becoming aggressive in demanding changes.

Thibedeau then spoke with Ryerson University professor and Idle No More spokesperson Pam Palmeter, who said that the core message of the day was a positive one because of the grassroots turnout. Palmeter described frustration because Atleo went outside of yesterday’s unity on who would attend the meeting and where it would be held, and that he sided with a minority despite his lack of independent political power. Palmeter said that consensus still exists with regards to dealing with crisis issues and the treaty relationship, and that any escalation of actions and protests would be done peacefully. Palmeter said the movement is trying to send a message to Harper that they have power, and accused him of undermining and picking off individual chiefs.

Martin spoke with Liberal leader Bob Rae, who said that there is a sense of going back to the days of the Charlottetown Accord when there was an opportunity to endorse self-government and a process of transferring resources, and there was another commitment in the Kelowna Accord, which was abandoned. Rae said that Harper sees First Nations issues in a narrower cast and trying to solve what he is able to, but that there isn’t an attitude of respect. Rae said that while Chief Spence is determined, he told her that they need her around to continue to speak in the future because she got results with the meeting.

Rae was later on Power & Politics, where he added that Spence took over Attawapiskat at a time of financial difficulty and that many of the problems with the Deloitte & Touche audit happened before her time. Rae said that his conversation with Chief Spence was candid and that he laid out his concern that governments don’t respond well to threats, even though it did eventually prompt the meeting. Rae said that he couldn’t see why they can’t figure out how to get the GG into the meeting (never mind that it would undermine the principle of Responsible Government because it was a working meeting). With regards to the threatened protests, Rae said that people can’t disrupt endlessly, and that the rule of law must prevail.

Martin spoke with NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder, who said that her party supported the call for the meeting and that their requests were reasonable. Crowder said that the Idle No More movement has been building for months, and while Chief Spence didn’t start the movement, she has galvanized it. Crowder also decried the racist comments coming out of the reaction to the movement.

Martin turned to expert observers Mark Quinn, a former chief of staff to Indian Affairs minister Robert Nault, and to Carleton University Professor Jane Dickson-Gilmore. Quinn said it was better for chiefs to be in the meeting than outside, and that there is a lack of trust on both sides. Quinn said that while there needs to be a way to de-politicize the process, it can’t be left entirely to the courts. Dickson-Gilmore said that if they could come out of the meeting with a clear process with timelines, it would be a win, but processes can be a way not to do anything. She added that the AFN has always been somewhat controversial, and that the fracturing shown yesterday demonstrates the frustration within Aboriginal communities.

On the Power Play strategists panel, Gerry Nichols said that Chief Spence is both a success and a failure – she brought the issue to the limelight, but her behaviour in the last week has undermined her credibility. Anne McGrath said that she’s not sure that Spence’s audience is the general public or the media, and that she has been successful. McGrath said there is a deep well of misunderstanding around some of the issues, including the role of the Governor General. Marlene Floyd said that the Idle No More movement needed a figurehead, which Spence provided.

Power Play’s journalists panel of Craig Oliver and Stephen Maher weighed in, where Oliver said that we may be witnessing the birth pangs of a new Aboriginal nationhood in Canada, which could be a positive development. Maher said that the movement offers the best prospect of changing the fortunes for the youth of First Nations, but that there is a challenge of leadership for the federal government and the Aboriginal leaders.

On P&P’s Power Panel, Wab Kinew said that the division in the AFN was because the chiefs who boycotted wanted to set the agenda, and that it is unlikely there will be any immediate movement against Atleo because there are calls for a cooling-off period. Kinew called the meeting one between politicians and is separate from the Idle No More movement. Greg Weston said that Harper’s invitation was for an AFN delegation, which meant that Atleo had to be at the table, and that any movement for change needs his involvement. Martin Patriquin said that Idle No More is a leaderless movement, and that when it started, it was about challenging both the federal government and aboriginal governments.

For his Last Word, Martin said that Shawn Atleo has been a superior voice of mediation, who supports realistic reform rather than revolutionary action, but that he now fends off a mutiny in the AFN leadership and that radical elements are now drowning out his agenda.

Post-Meeting Reaction

Once the meeting let out, Thibedeau spoke with Grand Chief of the Northern Quebec and James Bay Cree Matthew Coon Come, who said that he was torn going into the meeting, but he wanted to be there to build a bridge and put certain demands on the table. He said that he was surprised by the reaction of the Prime Minister, who moved a couple of posts forward, that included agreeing to a high-level process on treaty implementation. With regards to resource revenues, Coon Come said that Harper was open to facilitating that dialogue with the provinces, and that he was willing to carry out his duty to consult on the items in the omnibus budget bills. On the issues of violence against Aboriginal women and education, he said there was a commitment to move forward on those issues.

During the John Duncan/Greg Rickford press conference, Duncan touted the “full and frank meeting” with all participants, the constructive dialogue, and that more work to be done about living conditions and economic development. Duncan said that the meeting was focused on treaty implementation and economic development, and that they agreed to meet with Atleo in the coming weeks for a high-level meeting on treaty implementation. Duncan said that the government looked forward to working with chiefs to create jobs and growth in communities. Duncan characterized the duty to consult on the omnibus budget bills as having been fulfilled already, despite Coon Come’s characterization of the conversation.

After the press conference, Thibedeau spoke with MPs Crowder and Carolyn Bennett, where Crowder said that she disagreed with Duncan on the government having fulfilled their duty to consult, and that there was little new in the talking points. Crowder said that the commitment to a high-level meeting on treaties was encouraging, but there needs to be more concrete timelines. Bennett said that working groups need to be struck because the needs are urgent and that gaps need to be closed by the 2013 budget.

Filed under:

Who said what about #IdleNoMore

  1. The Idle/Occupy movement does not have the support of Canadians and will fail. The leaders of this movement need to be jailed, along with anyone who breaks the law going forward.

    • Jailed for what…pissing you off? Maybe we should jail you for making uninformed comments?

      • As you appear to be one of these useless tools, it probably would appear to be lawful blocking something for your type of magical thinking.
        You get to make change via the ballot-box, and if that does not work for you, then you can leave (and take your friends along for the hike).

      • Or have your mental capacity checked to determine why you do not understand the basic laws in this country and how they apply to everyone.
        Your home-schooling in the bush country appears to have stopped before you hit the course on Civics and how to behave in a normal society.
        Wearing dreadlocks, smoking weed, and passing STD’s to each other does not qualify.

        • Let’s review what you said. “The leaders of this movement should be jailed” And now you say i don’t understand the laws of this country!
          The racist assumptions at the end i take as standard fare for conbots such as yourself..

          • Racism would apply if there was a reference to your intellectual shortcomings being a constant of a specific race, which there are none. Your dismissal of the rule of law is an individual burden, along with the others who share your position.

            The other constant in these discussions is the use of the word `Racist` by those who: A) Do not have a solid position to defend and feel the need to try and intimidate the opposing viewpoint`; and B) Spend too much time on the Toronto Star, Huffington Post, CBC websites and are spoon-fed their beliefs by someone who also struggles with facts or realities. Just because you want something to be some particular way does not make it legal or correct.
            You`rè a fairly simple person, and the watering-down of what used to be a significant term amplifies your lack of credibility.

          • Yes, the burden of the law is on the individual, but your definition is too narrow. It does not allow for legitimate dissent or civil disobedience.[the burden on the individual to pay the price for breaking existing law is still there even if it’s unjust.]
            I take reasonable care to not use the term, believe it or not. I’ve been the victim of reverse racism[i’m a white male] i don’t like it any more than you do.
            Essentially my rationale for why so much of the low level carping against FNs seen all over the media right now is racist at worst, ignorance at best is based on one basic fact. Poverty is the root cause of much of the dysfunction in society. [not all but that’s another debate]But poverty is not in any way inimical to any race or culture – i’ve seen old mining towns that have lost their economic base – Low and behold you see the same things you see on disadvantaged reserves – dysfunctional people, garbage and cars in the back yard. It is just exponentially worse on reserve due to their history. Not an excuse, just fact!
            Look, i provoked this nasty exchange, but if you want to continue don’t dismiss my intelligence on little or no evidence and i’ll do my best to reciprocate.

          • Fine.

            My initial comment stands, in that individuals who promote or knowingly participate in the acts of lawlessness need to be incarcerated.

            Having personally witnessed the occupants of 3 reserves growing up, I have a very solid understanding of what the root-causes were from those I went to school with and played sports with, and that was a corrupt leadership and an unwillingness on the part of the elders to create a sense of pride in the people of the reserve.

            Most of those on the side-lines clapping like seals to the Idle-Occupy movement get their knowledge from people like Pam Palmater, who is a total joke and sore-loser to Atleo. Academia has a way of distorting the truth, especially to those with the same agenda (anti-Harpers, Suzuki-ites, Occupy Anarchists).

          • I see Coyne’s Palmater Sore Loser meme has made it’s way to the bots.

          • You should call yourself Really Large Brain so the rest of us know what we’re dealing with, CC.

          • Judging by your anti-Harper rhetoric and glibness of commentary, I would have to hazard a guess as to your status as being the polar opposite.

            Smug righteousness does not replace a solid conceptual position. Maybe spend some time off the pipe and become the adult the rest of society might find useful.

      • If the residents who pay for the police services sit “Idle”, then anarchy will be the standard on both sides.
        Not sure it has to go there. Just enforce the laws.

  2. The heckler doesn’t care about “where’s the money?”

  3. In the first clip, Neepinak states that there had initially been meetings, and they had a achieved a high level of unity among the gathered, presumably the various chiefs and other interested parties. He seems to see Atleo’s attendance at the meeting with Harper as a break with that unity. Yet there were only 3 chiefs who chose to boycott the meeting with Harper. Why does Neepinak not see his choice to boycott the meeting as a break with unity with his fellow chiefs?

  4. I also found Neepinak’s comments at the end of the interview to be quite disturbing. He seemed to be suggesting that there would be violence, yet he would not come right out and say it. Was I misreading him?

  5. If the comments on this peice are a reflection of the eurocentric views of most Canadians, I want out. I’d like to cash my chips in please. Maybe a more enlightened country, like Guatemala would make room for a political refugee.

  6. Just watched the interview with Matthew Coon Come, and i agree with him wholeheartedly on the need to meet and talk face to face. He comes across as very reasonable and open to communicating in a calm and dignified manner. He expressed regret that other chiefs missed this opportunity to meet with Harper.This is the first spark of optimism I have felt in a while. I hope Coon Come can convince others to follow his example. This is so much more productive than threats to “bring Canada to it’s knees”. My opinion.