Shawn Atleo meets the PM

Tease the day: The PMO claims progress on the aboriginal file


CP/Fred Chartrand

Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper twice this year. You probably heard something about that first meeting, back in January, at the height of the Idle No More movement’s influence. Atleo met with Harper against the wishes of many vocal chiefs, particularly a Manitoban contingent, who wanted the prime minister and governor general to meet with then-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence—on their terms, not the prime minister’s.

Atleo and his aboriginal allies met with Harper and a team of federal ministers, and a major outcome of that meeting was further discussions down the road; a commitment to keep talking. For months, Atleo complained that no further meetings were on the docket, no movement was forthcoming. Earlier this month, Postmedia recalls, Atleo downplayed the significance of face-to-face meetings, saying they weren’t an indicator of concrete action. “Progress should not be determined about whether or not I meet with or talk with the prime minister,” he said at the time.

Then, all of a sudden, a second meeting between the two happened last week—very quietly, with no discernible media coverage. Postmedia reports on the outcome of the meeting.

Harper spokesman Carl Vallee said the prime minister and national chief discussed “the progress made since Jan. 11 on priorities we share with First Nations, particularly education and comprehensive claims.” Vallee said the prime minister noted the senior oversight committee on comprehensive claims is making “concrete progress.”

Concrete progress? The day after Atleo and Harper sat down, the country celebrated National Aboriginal Day. That morning, The Globe and Mail quoted Atleo as “talking less about conciliation and more about things that will be done to drive home the urgency of the [aboriginal] situation.” The paper said Atleo is “supportive of whatever peaceful actions are taken to make the point that the relationship is not working.”

The head of the Assembly of First Nations isn’t happy. The Prime Minister’s Office says progress is being made. It’s tempting to suggest that something’s gotta give. But will it?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the estimated $5-billion cost of the Alberta floods. The National Post fronts Canadian border officials’ wariness of a group of Iranian nationals who’ve attempted to enter Canada in recent years. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Mayor Rob Ford’s public dispute with Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa over a funding arrangement for the city. The Ottawa Citizen leads with a proposed TransCanada pipeline running through the outskirts of the nation’s capital. iPolitics fronts the benefits of walking away from a Canada-E.U. trade deal. leads with Canadian banks’ roles in moving money to and from offshore tax havens. CTV News leads with a deadly Taliban attack on Afghanistan’s presidential palace. National Newswatch showcases a Huffington Post story about how the Prime Minister’s Office was behind a recent protest of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Aboriginal relations. The prime minister met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo last week, a quiet meeting that was their first since a high-profile gathering in January. 2. Online voting. Ontario’s chief electoral officer wants the province to test online voting during a by-election. He admitted the process is fraught with challenges, but thinks they can be overcome.
3. Strike. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says she’ll introduce back-to-work legislation if striking construction workers and their employers can’t reach a deal within a reasonable amount of time. 4. Statcan. Canada’s chief statistician defended the voluntary National Household Survey, the government’s controversial replacement for the mandatory long-form census.
5. Lebanon. The city of Sidon has seen two days of clashes between Lebanese soldiers and the militant followers of Sunni Muslim cleric Sheik Ahmad Al-Assir. In total, 47 people have died so far. 6. Nazi. A 94-year-old Minnesota man is subject to a preliminary German investigation into his past as a Nazi commander in Poland. Michael Karkoc entered the United States in 1949.


Shawn Atleo meets the PM

  1. The Daily Telegraph is doing a week on Mark Carney – I think it started on Saturday – and who he is. I have learned more about Carney from reading a few articles in a UK paper than I learned in years with Canadian msm. Why have Canadian journos stopped writing about public servants and the institutions they work within?

    The Making Of The Boy From Fort Smith:

    Today, The Telegraph launches a unique series on the man who will be Governor. Speaking to friends, economic experts and those in the UK awaiting his arrival, a picture becomes clear of a man who is obsessed with policy, a markets man who is no stranger to the world of banking and a figure who knows his own mind.

    To understand how he will approach the job in Threadneedle Street you need to know about his career in Canada and what it tells us about his character.

    • “I have learned more about Carney from reading a few articles in a UK paper ”

      Reading the Telegraph explains so much of your “learning.”

      I stopped reading at “… Carney was
      born on March 16, 1965, in Fort Smith – a backwoods town of just 2,500 in
      the vast empty plains of Alberta.”


      Gawd, the Torygraph is a rag.

      • So you’ve got something against facts? Congratulations, you’re just like every other Liberal. Hate facts, challenge the credibility of anyone who doesn’t share your moronic worldview. Good luck with that.

        • Heh! You must get yer lernin from the Telegraph too.

          I guess we can add “Geography of Canada” to the list of topics NotRick hasn’t the faintest clue about.

          • That’s the joy of being a new citizen, I actually had to pass an exam on Canada and took pride in learning more about my new homeland. Fort Smith is close but it ain’t Alberta.

          • Never mind the fact that it’s in boreal forest and about 1000km from Alberta’s “vast empty plains”.

          • But it’s only a thumb length on the map :P

            I wrote a correcting note to the Torygraph, but whereas the Guardian is famous for its spelling errors the Telegraph is notorious for it’s factual deficit and its unwillingness to correct.

        • “Hate facts?”
          Nope just don’t invent our own that go contrary to reality. Ft Smith isn’t in AB dude… we progressives love facts.
          That’s twice now you’ve shown research isn’t your strong suit.

    • Maybe because our government doesn’t want its public servants talking to the press directly you don’t hear too much about them.

      If it’s not about Harper, it ain’t news according to this PM

  2. Why is any of this a surprise and the lanuage meaningless – quite simple really both Atleo and Harper have their own politicla agenda’s as well as constituencies – until a piece of paper is signed and a budget given to carry out an action item(s) it is all and I repeat ALL hyperbole and has little relevance. To parse speeches made by any party at this time is a waste of space, time and energy. Atleo has his cadre to manage with supporters here and detractors there as does harper and each respective one is much like herding cats!