A vice-regal compromise?

by Aaron Wherry

With the Manitoba chiefs having just announced that they will not attend tomorrow’s meeting unless the Governor General is present, the Prime Minister’s Office sends out a statement.

The Prime Minister has asked the Governor General to host a ceremonial meeting with First Nations leaders at Rideau Hall following the working meeting on Friday afternoon, and the Governor General has accepted.

And Rideau Hall confirms.

“His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, has accepted to host a ceremonial meeting at Rideau Hall on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 6:30 p.m., where First Nations leaders will be welcomed following the working meeting with the Prime Minister and Government officials.”




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A vice-regal compromise?

  1. Ta DA!

  2. Maybe they should invite Big Bird next…I think the ‘Bird is still around thanks to the Obama victory.

  3. This is a good compromise, given that the involvement of the effectively-powerless GG would be ceremonial anyways.

    • Exactly.

  4. Spence seems to believe that the GG has a real role to play (as he is “integral” to the meeting). So why should she be content with this compromise? Same for the Manitoba chiefs if they’re following Spence’s lead, which appears to be the case.

    Personally, I don’t understand the point of GG involvement – but that’s just me.

    • It’s symbolic Jim and it’s important to FN. Treaty 7 has “Her Majesty” 36 times and “Canada” 6 times. Treaty 11, done in 1921, has “Canada” 4 times and “Majesty” 40 times.

      • If indeed Spence and the Manitoba chiefs regard his presence as being purely symbolic, why would they try to tank the meeting if he’s not there? That’s not consistent with a symbolic view of him. Rather, it is consistent with Spence’s claim that his presence is “integral” (her word).

        Making his presence a necessary condition implies that it is not possible to achieve anything real without him. And that implies he’s regarded as much more than just a symbol.

        • Starting in 1701, in what was to eventually become Canada, the British Crown entered into solemn treaties, the GG’s presence is integral if the treaties are to be honoured by the Crown and Gov’t, it doesn’t matter he has no input per say. These founding agreements between peoples constitute fundamental, if neglected and misunderstood features in this unfolding drama, to be sure a modern and vigorous debate needs to happen and soon.

          • So there is an expectation that the GG will be there, but will do absolutely nothing of substance?

    • Aboriginal peoples consider themselves members of First Nations. Hence, the GG’s presence symbolically recognizes and acknowledges that the event is a meeting of heads of state. Simple.

  5. Very wise thing to do.

  6. Why did it take them so long…oh politics yeah!

    • Trying to pretend they were still in charge of the situation

      • You really should read Andrew Coyne’s piece in the National Post today.

        • For Coyne and Wells the train has left the station on this issue and they’re not on it.

          • Agreed. A good deal of shock and awe going on.

        • LOL Thank you, no.

    • Wasn’t it just yesterday that she announced she wasn’t coming and today the GG invited them to his place. How is that “so long”?

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