How not to deal with Prime Minister Harper
OTTAWA — Canada could face an Arab Spring-style “uprising” if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t give a clear indication in his meeting with aboriginal leaders here Tuesday that he’s prepared to take their concerns seriously, a B.C. native leader warned Monday.
“We must do better. The honour of the Crown and the very integrity of Canada as a nation is at stake,” said Stewart Phillip, grand chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, in a news release issued by the Assembly of First Nations’ B.C. wing.
“Otherwise, an aboriginal uprising is inevitable.”
The PM’s response was utterly predictable, to those of us who study him.
Harper told chiefs that they should consider contacting their MPs and that he can’t just focus on Aboriginal issues because he has to run the country, according to three chiefs who were present at the meeting.
His comments left chiefs concerned the prime minister was not taking their issues seriously. …
When Harper announced the event in December, he said he hoped it would be “historic.”
The Prime Minister’s Office agreed to a meeting with limited number of delegates from each region. The parties met in a boardroom in the Langevin building, across from Parliament Hill, which houses Harper’s main office. The meeting ran from about 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. local time. …
Now, chiefs will wait to hear what the prime minister says in his speech Tuesday and what gets accomplished during sessions with cabinet ministers to gauge what to do next. They’ll either continue negotiating or take their issues to the streets.
“After all of that takes place, there is going to be reflection from the delegates,” said Phillip. “There is an incredibly high level of frustration and anger and resentment that has been expressed by our elders, our traditional leaders, grand chiefs, and chiefs.”
Yeah, I think that was rather dismissive even by Harper’s Toronto WASP standards. Bit of a burn.
Well, we’ll see — aboriginal issues are very important, and, self-aggrandizing chiefs notwithstanding, deserving of a good amount of federal government attention.