Thomas Mulcair and Theresa Spence

The NDP leader says Theresa Spence should end her hunger strike.

The NDP leader says Theresa Spence should end her hunger strike.

“I would sincerely call upon Chief Spence to realize that there has been a step in the right direction, to try and see now if we can keep putting pressure on the government to follow through,” Mulcair said during an interview with CTV’s Question Period. “The government seems to be moving so I think that the best thing to do would be to step back from that now.”

Mr. Mulcair is joined in this view by Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and by former national chief Matthew Coon Come, who was asked about Ms. Spence during a Sunday interview with The West Block.

Eric Sorensen: Do you support the hunger strike, or do you think that she should stop that now?

Chief Matthew Coon Come: Each person must decide what they think they need to do to raise the issues. I think she should stop her hunger strike because she already met with the governor general. There’s already a meeting with the prime minister. She may or may not have participated but that is fine. That is what she wanted.

Eric Sorensen: She should declare victory.

Chief Matthew Coon Come: I think she may have lost an opportunity to declare victory.

Ms. Spence’s spokesman says the demand is still a meeting between the Prime Minister and the Governor General and First Nations leadership and Ms. Spence seems to think the First Nations representatives who were present on Friday weren’t sufficient (“Thirty First Nation Chiefs don’t represent nor legitimize the mandate of all First Nations”). There were about 20 First Nations leaders in Langevin for the meeting on Friday, but not representatives from Ontario or Manitoba. Manitoba’s chiefs specifically pointed to the absence of the Governor General as their reason for not attending. Count Mr. Coon Come among those who find this a troublesome demand.

Eric Sorensen: At the end of the day, it seemed to come down to the governor general not being in the room. Why was that not a deal breaker for you? 

Chief Matthew Coon Come: Well personally, I think there is a misunderstanding on the role of the governor general. The Constitution of this country was patriatated and executive powers were given to the prime minister, and the prime minister will not transfer his executive powers to the governor general. So it’s symbolic.