Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Throne Speech: Whither the First Nations?

Despite growing civil conflict in South-Central Ontario (never mind poverty unknown in the rest of this country), Aboriginal people garnered approximately one sentence in the throne speech. It is as follows:

“ …[we] will seek to improve opportunity for all Canadians, including Aboriginal Peoples and new immigrants.”

I am wholly unsurprised by the Tory tendency to abandon these issues; I understood what this party was before it was elected. What is astonishing to me is their inability or unwillingness even just to toss out empty platitudes.

Harper, Prentice et al have made no secret of their disinterest in the “expensive” promises made by our government to First Nations communities. First Nations leaders have reacted with little surprise – not exactly the first instance of failing to honour promises. But this is simply unacceptable – at least something must be offered in the short term to indicate good will. That something cannot be self-government accountability (not bad legislation, but it is offensive and illogical to prioritize it). So I humbly submit one promise to be met in the first budget: Residential Schools compensation, coupled with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This is not the $5 billion commitment made at Kelowna. It is a relatively minor expenditure, but one that will have a fundamental impact.

The importance and effectiveness of this fairly simple legislation will be developed in future posts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 2 responses for you.

1) Maybe when the native bands allow us to audit their books we'll take them more seriously. The native issue is the same as the healthcare issue. No solid direction. Just throw money at it.

2) Although this might be hard for Liberals to understand but the Conservatives ran on a 5 point platform that got them elected. And in the throne speech they actually mentioned all 5 items. What a concept . . . promises made during the election that are actually going to be kept.

7:12 PM  
Blogger decoin said...

The CPC has not committed nearly enough to aboriginal needs - a minimun of $10-$20 billion over the next 5 years is mandatory - $30-$50 billion over the decade thereafter - and then a serious address of aboriginal land claims -aboriginals own - with minor exceptions - the entire land mass of British Columbia - compensating the current residents of the Greater Vancouver region alone for the loss of their homes will require in excess of $3 trillion minimum and this will necessitate dramatic financial support from all provinces and the federal government - the CPC seems to think it can avoid paying the piper. Big mistake!

7:51 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...


a)You've been drinking the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation koolaid and have not a clue what you are talking about. Why don't you read the Auditor General's Report that pans the federal government for imposing upon First Nations governing bodies a plethora of constant audits, draining resources that could be used for rectifying some of the absolutely massive social problems. According to the Auditor General, First Nations governments face completely acceptable accountability requirements, and then some.

b)The Residential Schools plans could not be more solidly rooted in direction. They have already been developed extensively in a step-by-step manner, as well as completely costed. These two plans (for compensation and a TandR Commission) have been substantiated in far greater detail than any of your beloved 5 points.

2. The Conservatives did not run on a 5 point platform. They prioritized 5 points (assumedly to make things easier for your lesser lights). Jim Prentice also promised to uphold the "spirit of the Kelowna Accords." That was a promise, and one that we will hold him to.

7:53 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

That was directed towards anonymous, if there was any doubt.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Just to the general notion that anonymous points to in point #2: A government can't just choose 5 things and somehow deserve credit for focussing only on them! Nor is pandering strictly to your base a higher calling. And what a strange concept, an opposition that opposes. Why, I seem to remember the Liberals getting elected on legalizing same-sex marriage, and bringing in national childcare, but I didn't see that stop the conservatives, and I'm sure yourself, from opposing these initiatives (even when most people voted for them!) to the point of bringing down the government. So if a promise made a promise kept is all that concerns you (and nowhere here is it being said not to keep those promises), why were these iniatives so opposed? Because conservatives believed in their democratic right to disagree? Heavans no.

9:47 PM  
Blogger decoin said...

"Ignatieff's "Kool-aid drinkers" (not exactly the nicest metaphor)."
No, not very nice, and worse, trendy and unoriginal.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Auditor General has given the First Nations a clean bill of health, why do we keep hearing horror stories like the Virgina Fontaine Center in Manitoba? And why are the average reserve natives living in terrible conditions while the chief and his cronies are having meetings in southern climates? There is absolutely no mechanisim in place to find out where most of this money is going. And another thing, the Conservatives major platform had 5 key points. They promised some more but their focus was on the 5 key points. Unlike the Liberals, they didn't throw in the kitchen sink into the throne speech. They only put in what they think they can deliver. And finally, I am not a member of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation nor am I that familiar with them, but I guess they are not well liked by Liberals because they tend to expose government abuse and the Liberals wrote the book on government abuse.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"decoin". I have seen your posts numerous times and I just thought you were a short-sighted, ignorant Liberal. After seeing your post in which you say the Liberals implimented the GST, I can now add "stupid" to your title. I enjoy posting on these blogs because it's a great way to have an exchange of ideas even though we might not come from the same political stripe. But you're just too stupid to even enter the conversation. Maybe read the "Red Book" and study it before you blab on about things you have no idea about. By the way, what flavor is your Kool-Aid?

6:49 AM  
Blogger decoin said...

One correction Anonymous - you meant to say "the Liberals implemented the GST" - not "the Liberals implimented the GST".
Also, you are entitled to support Prime Minister Tubby, but that doesn't render differing viewpoints stupid. Although it goes against the Conservative grain, please exchange ideas respectfully.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Zac said...

Wow, what a discussion. I'm a little intimidated to jump in but I'll give it a shot.

There is no doubt in mind that the regressive conservatives are planning to scrap or greatly diminish the financial committment of the Kelowna Accords.

Harper has a long list of spending priorities which includes tax cuts. There's nothing more selfish in my mind than prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy over the valuable committments such as the Kelowna Accords.

Prentice was not assigned the portfolio to enhance the lives of aboriginals. He's there to negotiate ammendments to treaties to facilitate oil piplines going through aboriginal lands. There is a double agenda here.

Oh, and on the five points thing - Harper hasn't even begun delivering on his points - all he's done is talk about them thus far. Plus, to say that there are only five priorities facing Canada is narrow-minded as stupid.

8:54 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I suppose you will have to ask Auditor General that, although I'm partial to believe she has a strong answer for you. It may go something like this:
- The Virgina Fontaine Center in Manitoba was an abusive governmental regime. What is irrational is to extrapolate from this instance and generalize that every government presided over by First Nations individuals must cease all activities and deal only with accountability. That is the extrapolation being made, because First Nations governments occur in a wide variation of forms, one very dissimlar from the next. You can understand why that is offensive and illogical. When abuses were discovered in the Federal government the response was inceased accountability measures for that government. The response was not halting all revenues to all instiutions of government presided over by white people. Provinces, municipalities, and even the feds themselves were able to continue dealing with the life-and-death issues that faced their constitutents.
And the average income level of Chiefs doesn't even begin to approach that of a simple MP in the federal government (amongst the top 2% of earners).

Acknowledgin the Aboriginal people in the Throne Speech is hardly "throwing in the kitchen sink." We're talking about the single most salient social and economic problem that this country faces. To fail to address it on any level is simply bad governance. Yes, the party was elected on a mandate. But now that it is the Government of Canada, it has to govern for all Canadians - not just the self-interested hockey dads that elected it.

9:04 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

decoin -
For clarity's sake, the quote you tossed at me was not written by me at all, but by my co-contributor. Admittedly I don't fully understand why you are attacking me for the language I use debating someone that calls you "too stupid to enter the conversation." I would suggest that this isn't the House of Commons, and we should be more concerned with substance than style.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Decoin-yeah learn to read buddy. I don't know what I have to do I even sign the damn posts "Steve." I'm not SteelCityGrit. It was me who said that about that metaphor, and I didn't write the comment you're responding you're totally wrong.

We don't like live together and jointly post every comment nor are we like the borg. So nice try.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Anonymous-I'm quite satisfied that you basically had no ability to respond to my rebuttal.

But otherwise, its interesting you say you have no knowledge of the CTF but somehow are well aware of their activities, that's called a contradiction. And again, citizens are not expected to just accept what the government decides it can deliver on, particularly when focussed on a certain segment over others. They take different sides, they deliberate...that's called politics. And you still can't explain what was different about the liberal situation. But I guess I adressed that at the top of this comment.

12:09 PM  

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