Showing posts from March, 2012

Federal Budget 2012 - The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn

The Conservative budget was released today with most mainstream political commentators wiping their brows, saying "Phewf, we thought it would be much worse!" People like Kevin O'Leary were asking why the Conservative government didn't go further to open up Canada for international investment. Others were relieved that only 19,200 federal public service jobs would be lost as opposed to the 60,000 that were predicted. Still others were wondering what the streamlined environmental review processes might mean. The area with which I am most concerned relates to what was and was not in the budget for Indigenous Peoples. I am not surprised by this budget, in fact, it is just about exactly what I predicted it would be. What I am surprised about is how the Assembly of First Nations' National Chief Shawn Atleo could possibly think this was a good budget.

Maybe Oliver Needs a Job in Mining? Curing Conservative Dysfunction

Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver announced this week that amendments to Canada's regulatory process are needed to speed up the approvals of mining and other extractive industry projects. Part of his justification for speeding up approvals is to transform "aboriginal communities' which he considers to be "socially dysfunctional". The cure for this alleged social dysfunction is to take even more oil, gas, minerals, and other resources from their territories at a much faster pace. As Oliver's heart bled for the poor Indians, he said it was his goal to "give" aboriginals some hope. His plan, in fact, is to "move them from despair to hope" by giving Indians jobs in the extractive industry. I have to agree with Chief Clifton from Gitga'at First Nation that the language was "insulting". I would go further

AFN Election 2012: Stopping the Assimilation of First Nations in its Tracks

After we all heard the National Chief (NC) of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Shawn Atleo give his speech at the Crown-First Nations Gathering (CFNG), it became readily apparent that the 2012 election campaign for the AFN NC had officially begun. Up to this point, Atleo had done little but sing the praises of the Harper Conservatives (Cons). It looked like Atleo and the AFN were following in the political footsteps of former President of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) Patrick Brazeau and hedging their bets that sucking up to the bully would yield better results than standing on our inherent rights. Two things about this "strategy" (if you can call it that): (1) it may have won Brazeau  a cushy Senate seat (an immediate, individual gain), but it left the grass-roots off-reserve people with nothing but an indebted organization with a horrific reputation as being the mouth piece of the Cons with an anti-First Nation political slant (long-term, community pain); an