Politics on TV: Aboriginals in prison, Venezuela, and Keystone XL

The three things you need to see

Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. Report on Aboriginals in prison
  2. Venezuela condemns Harper’s condolence letter
  3. Selling the benefits of Keystone XL to the States

Aboriginals in prison:

Power Play had a preview of a Correctional Investigator report on how the Aboriginal prison population in prisons soared to 23 per cent when they represent only four per cent of population, as well as only modest progress on providing alternative forms of Aboriginal justice. Don Martin spoke with Christa Big Canoe, legal director of Aboriginal Legal Services, who said that the figures should shock the population but are not surprising. Big Canoe said that crime isn’t necessarily higher among Aboriginals than non-Aboriginals, but that they have been over-incarcerated historically, and that Corrections Canada should be providing more culturally appropriate services like healing circles as they have a legislative mandate to.


After the Venezuelan Deputy Minister for North America, Claudia Salerno, denounced Harper’s letter of condolence as being inappropriate, Power & Politics summoned an MP Panel of Deepak Obhrai, Paul Dewar and Dominic LeBlanc to discuss it. Obhrai said that the government stands by Harper’s remarks and points out that Chavez was a controversial leader who had been accused of human rights abuses and curtailing freedom of speech. Dewar pointed to his own letter, which was focused on condolences for the family and the people of Venezuela, and said that Harper overreached by going into politics. LeBlanc said that while Chavez’ record was a mixed one, he became a larger-than-life figure in his country, and that the government was correct in saying that it will be time to build on the relationship with Venezuela once the period of mourning is over, but that the letter could have been more sensitive.

Pitching Keystone XL:

With political leaders in Canada taking to the US to pitch the green message for Keystone XL, Hannah Thibedeau heard from an MP panel of David Anderson, Megan Leslie and Kirsty Duncan. Anderson said that it was about market diversification for Canada and market stability for the US, before delivering the standard “sector by sector” lines. Leslie said that she disagreed with the US State Department report, and that approving the pipeline would lock-in expansion of the oilsands, while the government was in “panic mode” with their “greenwashing” tour in the States. Duncan said that the government has been misleading with their record, that their sector-by-sector approach is not comprehensive but a delay tactic, and that their oilsands monitoring plan is just a showpiece as it has no governance structure.

Worth Noting:

  • La Presse reporter Joël-Denis Bellavance spoke about the case of Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu and his relationship with assistant (now ended) which is against Senate rules.
  • Preston Manning spoke about big ideas versus incremental change as Stephen Harper has now been Prime Minister for as long as Manning was Reform leader in the House.