An important moment, if it happens

by Aaron Wherry

A senior government source tells the Star that the Prime Minister understands the importance of Friday’s meeting with aboriginal leaders, but the Globe wonders if the meeting will happen at all—some chiefs apparently agreeing with Theresa Spence that the Governor General must be present. Or, as one chief explained to APTN, “If there is any honour in this Crown the governor general better get his ass there.” (I believe the proper phrasing is “his right honourable ass.”)

There is a lot of history between First Nations and the crown—some of First Nations leaders have requested a meeting with the Queen later this year—but it’s not clear to me what the Governor General could be expected to do here. If this were a larger summit or gathering, you might imagine the Governor General participating in an opening or closing ceremony. But this is said to a be a working meeting—Shawn Atleo has specifically noted the difference—and the Prime Minister and his cabinet are responsible for government policy.

In that regard, APTN lists a few potential demands that are being considered.

According to a draft position from Manitoba’s Southern Chiefs Organization obtained by APTN National News, it appears First Nations leaders are planning to put repealing the Bill C-45 and Bill C-38, the government’s omnibus budget bills on the table.

The draft outline, which APTN National News was told broadly, reflected the direction of discussions, also called for Canada to set a timeline and process to scrap the Indian Act and replace it with a “Treaty Recognition and Implementation Act.”

Fully repealing 900 pages of legislation—the combined extent of C-38 and C-45—seems a rather large request at this point, but the Indian Act is already up for debate and there seems unanimous agreement that it must (somehow) be replaced.




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An important moment, if it happens

  1. If the GG welshes on doing his job his ass won’t be ‘right honourable’, it’ll be kicked.

    • Really? That section of the Canadian Constitution seems to escape me. Care to elaborate?

      • It’s not difficult. The GG is the Queen’s representative in Canada. Talk to him, and you’re talking to her.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • So gracious, so respectful…to some. You must be a giggle, the centre of attention at your local pta, or legion?

          • Go back to your cups, Sot.

        • Wow! So you believe in the Holy Trinity of the British Empire! Well done old girl!

          • No, I’ve never been pro-monarchy….but a monarchy is what Canada currently is, so those are the rules we’re playing by.

    • How come you haven’t yet called the Governor General a “hater” and a racist? You scream it everywhere else.

    • Kicked by whom? By the intelligence of people like you?

      I know, it’s scary!

  2. I’m not sure that the GG would be useful at such a meeting. He can’t offer anything of substance. That said, if his presence makes creates a more congenial attitude, what’s the harm in including his presence? I hope the short-pantsers allow him to go, if only to insure that the talks do take place.

    • Agreed. Now that Spence has said she won’t attend, and been exposed as grossly inept at her job, I almost think it would be best if both sides decided to take a couple of weeks to let this calm down a bit, consider what they actually want to achieve out of this meeting, and then go forward with a plan of action. As it is, it seems that neither side really has any idea what they want out of the meeting, and it will end up being just another meaningless meeting that will achieve nothing.

      But of course that won’t happen. Couldn’t expect sides to have calm heads, this is race driven politics, after all.

    • I have outlined several times on these Wherry posts what beneficial role the GG could play.
      To help you get the drift, he would start like this: “I bring you greetings from Her Majesty the Queen who wishes you great success in these very important deliberations”.
      He then utters a few more fatherly platitudes about the good of the country and leaves having made everyone feel less hostile, more patriotic, and in an overall better frame of mind.

  3. 24 hours before the meeting, and they don’t even know what they want out of it. And some people wonder why most of us don’t take this PR stunt seriously? There you have it.

    • A whole lot of people can’t yet reach consensus…there i fixed that for you.

      Consensus is hard. Apparently ramming 900 page omnibus bills through our house of democracy is easy. Who are the democrats here again?

  4. I am anglo and Natives and their ideas leave me flummoxed but it should not matter what a bunch of white people think about things. Politicians specialize in holding pointless, insubstantial meetings so I think GG and PM should accommodate Native wishes a bit more. It is obvious that Natives put great importance into relationship with Crown that many rest of us don’t understand but if we are actually a tolerant Nation than GG should have some Native leaders over for tea and a chat and then Harper and his minions can take over.

    Msm doesn’t mock Elizabeth May when she writes to Queen complaining about things so white journos shouldn’t mock Natives and their beliefs either because Natives do actually have reasons to believe they have relationship with Crown while Ms May is just a kook.

  5. I find it astonishing that our national politics can screw this up so badly. We seem to delight in doing things the hard way[ like our hockey] Surely it would have cost little to accommodate chief Spence out of respect for what she has come to symbolize to FNs – even if you find her motives or behaviour repugnant? Five or ten minutes with the GG for a bit of nation to nation rhetoric is all it might have cost…no need to have a signing ceremony or fly the queen over. Maybe a 5 minute shared solemn opening of the working meeting at worst, a bit of flag waving and maybe a quick smudge.
    But no, we got to “grind” it out in the corners…cross check the other guys…cut em off at the knees …drop the gloves even by outing someone with staged leaks or smears.
    We might even find the chiefs push back and don’t attend…there, that’ll fix everything!

    Sometimes i think Canada is still a political infant, or a two year old. And what of our lovely media…too broke or limited by its ADD to focus and really get to the bottom of this story.
    Our national politics has hardly ever looked worse on us.

  6. Perhaps it is time to take a serious look at the role of the Governor General – what is political and what is not? It would be interesting to know what rationale lay behind his pardoning of the grain farmers, for example.

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