*** BREAKING NEWS *** ‘Harper to meet with First Nations leaders on Jan. 11 … The meeting will focus on treaty rights and economic development within First Nations communities.’ The CBC says ‘Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence says she will join a “working meeting” between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a delegation of First Nations chiefs, but is not ready to give up her hunger strike.’ image by fred chartrand from the globe and mail.
Don Kossick, Saskatoon, writes (2012-12-28), ‘Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Christmas message of Canada as a place of “bright hope” rings hollow in light of his refusal to meet with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence to discuss improving the plight of her community and aboriginal communities across Canada…. Mr. Harper needs to show true leadership and act on behalf of a Canada that treats all of its communities with respect, and demonstrates recognition of their inherent rights.’
Curt Shalapata, Oshawa, writes at the same time, ‘the last thing the Prime Minister should do is meet with Chief Theresa Spence. Rather than engaging in this cheap publicity stunt, Ms. Spence needs to end her hunger strike, show some leadership and work to fix the problems of Attawapiskat, which has received more than $90-million in taxpayers’ money since 2006.’
So, who ya gonna trust? Thing about comments, about blogging, about the internet in general, anybody can say anything. And the corollary is you can find just about anything on the internet. So sometimes you really gotta dig; sometimes you really gotta know yourself–if you gotta recant, or you gotta stand firm.
Here are more thoughts….
Elizabeth May, a former hunger-striker herself, of The Green Party says in an email that ‘The Green Party of Canada has fully supported Chief Theresa Spence’s and the Idle No More movement from its onset: http://elizabethmaymp.ca/news/publications/press-releases/2012/12/19/green-party-supports-the-idlenomore-movement/. Stephen Harper’s record on Aboriginal Affairs is shameful and contravenes the direction set out by the Supreme Court of Canada. Canada has been directed to uphold the honour of the Crown by meeting its legal treaty obligations. Governments have been warned by the courts to avoid sharp dealing with Aboriginal people. Bill C-45 is a glaring affront to Indigenous rights as it was passed without consultation with Indigenous peoples and without regard for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The #idlenomore campaign protests the attacks on First Nations’ rights by the passage in the House of Bill C-45.’ image by Karen Fox.
Last week she wrote that ‘meeting Chief Theresa Spence is an easy thing for the Prime Minister – and he should do it sooner than later. As a “demand” it is hardly onerous. It is a nation to nation request, and, to the extent it sets a precedent, it is circumscribed by the fact that this is a request from a Chief of a recognized First Nation. We are still in the Christmas season, and will be until January 6th and Epiphany. Certainly, a spirit of compassion can overtake the politics? I have called the Prime Minister’s Office to request that he meet with Chief Spence as soon as possible. Ending her hunger strike is only the first step. Once that is done, we need a meaningful engagement on the wide range of critical issues being raised from coast to coast to coast. For that we need leadership, and right now, that leadership is coming from flash-mobs of drummers and blockaders, aboriginal women and youth. It is coming from Chief Spence. Can we not hope that leadership might come from 24 Sussex Drive in response?’
Thomas Mulcair, NDP, says in an email ‘the NDP believes that we must all work together to fight inequality and find a path towards justice for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Many Canadians are looking to Prime Minister Harper and his government to live up to past commitments and begin to forge a more respectful relationship…. in a recent letter to the Prime Minister, I urged him to make good on the promises his government made to Aboriginal leaders in January 2012 – including a commitment to do better by working in partnership with First Nations Canadians. You can read the full text of my December 18 letter here: http://www.ndp.ca/news/letter-leader-official-opposition-to-prime-minister-regarding-rights-first-nations.’
I have yet to have responses from the Liberals or my MP, Bruce Stanton, a Conservative.