And that was the big Crown-First Nations gathering. Nothing agreed to, no deliverables, no concrete date to meet and
follow up in the future, and Harper getting praise because he *gasp* stayed the
whole day rather than taking off at lunch like he’d planned. Oh, but there’s a
lot of commitment to working on the process going forward and talk that the
relationship should return to the original treaty foundations, and the possibility of more funding for those First Nations that have their governance
But seriously – there was a lot of skepticism going into this from many First Nations chiefs that the plan before
them was just neo-colonialism, and I’m not sure that these concerns were really
addressed. More importantly, however, the government’s insistence on an
incremental, piecemeal approach to change reminds me of this government’s commitment
to Senate “reform” – piecemeal tinkering with no actual broad vision for what
they want the final outcome to look like, so it ends up creating some
demented lumbering monster. This process, without a clearly articulated vision of a final
outcome on the table, can produce only the same result.
Further to the discussion, here are some quotes on the aspect of the Indian Act and its role as a barrier in real change
to First Nations issues.
The New Democrats, meanwhile, are having their winter
“strategy session” here in Ottawa and report back that they want more funding
for First Nations in the budget, as well as healthcare, and so on. Turmel also
says that her support is solid, despite the losses they’ve taken in the polls
(and caucus). Also, during this weekend’s leadership debate, they plan to make
a few tweaks, including adding a question period-like segment. Because that will
make it all the more scintillating.
Speaking of the leadership, here is Pundit
Guide’s update on the race as it moves into high gear.
The New Democrats are recalling health committee
early to discuss the issue of healthcare funding – provided that the
Conservatives play ball and agree to do the study. (Why does the phrase “Good
luck with that” come to mind?)
Harper will be using his time in Davos to set the stage for the next budget. Because global economists love being a
backdrop for domestic issues.
ForestEthic’s criticisms of the Northern
Gateway pipeline has led to their being branded as an “enemy of the state” by the
PMO, with the government threatening their funding organizations, according to
an affidavit from a former employee. If this is true, it’s a pretty disturbing
picture of the way the government is trying to intimidate its opponents or
those who express dissent.
And Glen McGregor has fun with MP portraits
and facial recognition software.