Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Canadians for Kelowna - coming soon

Shortly, we will be going live with a new project - Canadians for Kelowna.

The concept is a simple one. We want to try to develop popular involvement in the pursuit of justice for Aboriginal peoples. This has remained a peripheral policy issue, despite what I believe to be a fairly significant popular will. We are going to try to tap into that will. The Kelowna Accord is no silver bullet, but it has given us a single cohesive policy document to rally around.

I hope to launch a website soon, that will accompany an online petition. From there, we can go any number of directions with it. It's to be a non-partisan affair - the issue is too important to play games with, and there are many in all parties who want to see this happen.

I'm posting this heads-up, as I'm really hoping for some support in the blogging community.


- Mike (SCG)


Blogger HearHere said...

I wonder if you personally have read the "Kelowna Accord".

I have. It is about a 26 page discussion document or, if you like, a "Wish List" that was compiled to begin negotiations towards an action plan. There was no action plan. There were no measurable results or timelines, and this discussion paper did not include about 70% of Aboriginals who live off reserve.

The Wish List was endorsed by the various groups at the table - but Quebec boycotted the meeting so they are not included.

The called "Agreement" reached at this brainstorming session in Kelowna does not exist. Paul Martin wrote a figure of some $5.2 billion over 5 years on one piece of paper that noone signed.

The Liberals then put out a press release.

And then the election was called.And the money was not set aside in any of the three Liberal budgets in 2005. This would have called for at least 1 billion of new money in 2006 over and above the $8 billion the aboriginals already receive.

The Conservatives added MORE than that $1 billion in the 2006 budget - but this is for specific projects - water treatment, northern housing and off reserve housing and services. They All of these "wishes" were in the Kelowna discussion paper and they are the top priorities.

So, if you want Martin's one page unbudgeted un-approved by parliament election promise you actually get nothing. Lobby away.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Prairie Kid said...

The Kelowna Accord wasn't the only thing the Liberals hastily threw together before the election. In Manitoba, Reg Alcock and Premier Doer crowed about funding for the floodway. An equal partnership was mentioned by Alcock conerning funding of over $600. million. Now it turns out it was a complete lie and Alcock had only committed about $125. million. Same is true for childcare and Kyoto. The Liberals put so many deals together before the election that might as well been written on napkins that we are now finding so many holes in them they are virtually worthless.

11:06 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

It would be pretty stupid of me to launch an advocacy project without reading the accord, eh friend?

The First Ministers Meeting that resulted in the accord was not a beginning - that is empirically wrong. It was the culmination of over a year and a half of communications and development on the part of all First Nations involved. If you had the easy authority which you purport to having, you would know that the wheels have been in motion for a very long time.

Quebec is not included. Gasp. Quebec has yet to endorse the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Next.

Anyways, the fact that you lambaste this agreement - which you name variably as a 26 page discussion document and a 1 page election promise, which begs in our minds how familiar you truly are with it - and then congratulate the Conservative party on prioritizing parts of it indicates how goofily partisan your comment is.

I could rush to Paul Martin's defense, I could explain to you how when you are in government it becomes your responsibility to budget for new initatives, I could refer to the fact that it has the support of all major parties in all provinces with VERY few exceptions, but I frankly have little interest in debating with party spokespeople.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Looney in Lotusland said...

Before the election Prentice and Harper publicly supported the nuts and bolts of the Kelowna agreement but disagreed with the implementation strategy. Budget funding for the deal was split into the departments of Indian Affairs, Health, and Housing. It is about a billion dollars light of the Liberal one pager. The cash that the middlemen would have access to. Note that Phil Fontaine had nothing but the "highest regard and respect for Prentice" in a post budget interview. Prentice described his role as "putting the wheels on the agreement".

1:06 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Phil Fontaine has also called the Kelowna Implementation Bill C-292 "the right thing for Canada," saying "The approaches developed in those agreements will close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians within a decade and will ultimately benefit all Canadians by strengthening the economic and social conditions in this country as a whole.” (This is one quote of a billion that promotes the Kelowna Accord over the bits-and-pieces Conservative approach)

First Nations leaders have picked up on the "wheels" comment as well:
“The Conservative’s budget today takes the wheels off the commitments made in the
Kelowna Accord,” said Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit
Political Executive. “It looks to us like a budget for the next election campaign. Today’s
budget, combined with the government’s disappointing throne speech, will do little to
strengthen the federal government’s relationships with First Nations”.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Zac said...

Great idea Mike, I'm on board.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Joe Edmonton said...


I've been trying to track down info on the KA for a while now.

Any chance someone has a link?

3:06 PM  
Blogger robedger said...

I'm on board. E mail me if you need anything.

4:10 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Thanks guys, I'll do a follow up soon.

Joe - here are a couple of quick links. I haven't looked at them too closely but they may be useful:

4:42 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Power to you, obviously.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some facts:

1. There are approximtely 1.3 million aboriginals in Canada.

2. We spend approximately 10 billion dollars on aboriginals a year.

3. That works out to $7500. for every aboriginal man, woman and child.

My question is simple. Where is all that money going? A family of 4 should get about $30,000. a year which is higher than the national average for Canadians. And we want to keep shoving money down this dark hole?

8:00 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I love that little factoid. It's so remarkably stupid. Here are some facts:

- we have a redistributive system i.e. money goes where there is need.

- Endemic poverty amongst Aboriginal people is an empirical fact

How much to we spend on cancer patients per year? Probably significantly more than the Canadian proper. Is that reverse discrimnation? Once again - money goes where there is need. You are racializing a very logic relationship.

Secondly, it's a bizarre way to approach a policy issue - one that we don't replicate in any other instance. You are confusing means with ends. The money that is currently spent is not an end onto itself. It is spent for a purpose: to relieve the empirical standard of living gap. If it isn't doing that - which we all know it isn't -then the dollar figure we currently invest is completely irrelevant.

We don't talk about medicare in terms of how much we already spend on it. We talk about the problems that exist, and how they can be solved.

And no, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be any accountability, blah blah blah. But why don't we approach the Aboriginal file like we do anything else - try to fix the problems we know exist, rather than deny them or bury them under pitiful "poor taxpayer" weeping.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Sholdice said...

Mike, you just tagged-teamed the Canadian Right by yourself.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Hamilton Solidarity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Hamilton Solidarity said...

Hi there,

I'm with a group here in Hamilton called Hamilton Solidarity with Six Nations. We were surprised to hear that you guys are planning an event at the same time and place as ours! We will be in Gore Park on the 29th at noon distributing information around the present land reclaimation at Six Nations as well as Canada's responsibilities to live up to its obligations and honour treaties. I sense the interests of our two groups dovetail to a large extent,m although we have some trepidation about the Kelowna Accord which we would look forward to discussing! In any case, we'd love to hear from you - we can't find any contact info on the internet, but you can get in touch with us at

All the best,

3:18 PM  

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