I still have nothing helpful to say about the Covid-19 crisis, except to ask all my readers to obey the laws and to follow the advice given to us by medical professionals.
I will say that I worry a bit that a government that I believe is both inept and corrupt will recall Parliament and ask for extraordinary powers. But, it’s the government we have ~ freely and fairly elected by our fellow citizens ~ and it needs our support.
Roy Fox, also known by his aboriginal name Makiinima, is Chief of the Kainai Blood Tribe in southern Alberta and chair of the Indian Resource Council. He writes, in an opinion piece the Globe and Mail, that “The entire country has received a lesson in Indigenous governance this past month, especially regarding the difference between elected political and hereditary chiefs. In the Kainai Blood Tribe, I am both the elected chief and the hereditary chief. My clan has represented the political and economic leaders of the Kainai for more than eight generations, going back to the father of our great warrior Chief Stumicksoosuk. However, our nation decided to move to an electoral system in 1964, so that anyone could run for Council … [that’s as it should be, of course, but, he adds] … given how important democratic ideals are in Canada, I have been surprised to see how the voice of elected chiefs have been dismissed or even challenged over the course of the last month, as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline sparked blockades around the country. Elected chiefs and councils have been described as creatures of the Indian Act, accountable only to the federal government, with responsibility for reserve lands rather than for people. The voices of the 20 councils that had already approved that pipeline were largely marginalized.“
That’s exactly right! A small gang, five chiefs out of 13, of hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs who, it seems to me, don’t like what the elected band leaders decided, highjacked democracy and, with the active aid of the Trudeau regime, sidelined the democratic process in Canada. Chief Fox says that “Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, negotiated an agreement that affects the Wet’suwet’en people without any involvement of that nation’s elected chiefs and councils, for instance. And until he entered self-quarantine for the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been planning on hosting a First Ministers’ meeting with leaders of national Indigenous organizations. This can hardly be the nation-to-nation-relationship that we were promised. To me, this is one more step in a concerted effort to undermine the voices of chiefs who support resource development; because we do not fit their stereotype, we are ignored.” Exactly right, again! Prime Minister Trudeau has an anti-development vision is opposed to the democratic will of most First Nations peoples who want jobs, not handouts, who want independence, not the paternalism of the Laurentian Elites. They want democracy, not Justin Trudeau’s will.
I understand that the notion of a distinct third (fourth?) order of government, which is what some First Nations leaders say they want, is frightening. I’m sure that some First Nations people want a new, strange ‘order’ encompasses semi-independent nations (bands) from coast-to-coast-to-coast and is almost equal to the federal government, having rights in everything from fiscal policy through to foreign affairs. But, what I have read persuades me that most First Nations people aren’t seeking something that grand. They just want to manage their own affairs, locally, for their own benefit. Many leaders seem to want to be something akin to municipalities but with some additional influence in e.g. land use and education.
Suffice it to say that we have heard enough from one side …
… and now it is time to listen to the voices of the elected First Nations leaders ~ voices, like those of Roy Fox, above, and Ellis Ross and others, that are growing in strength:
Those voices want real change. They want First Nations to stand on their own feet, and to make their own choices, as proud, free Canadians, not as wards of a state that puts the interests of the CBC‘s Rosemary Barton, Stephen Bronfman and SNC-Lavalin ahead of those of ordinary Canadians, a phrase that includes the many, many First Nations members with whom I had the honour to serve, proudly, during a long military career. They, as Roy Fox says, have been “marginalized” by the unelected, hereditary chiefs who have been, actively, aided and abetted by the anti-democratic Trudeau regime. It is time for real change, for all Canadians.