Charlie Angus writes about Attawapiskat and Theresa Spence.
The question is what role will the Prime Minister play this time around? People often describe him as a “brilliant tactician,” but tactics aren’t enough to run a country. From a tactical point of view, he will no doubt assume that Christmas is the worst time to mount a protest because the public’s attention is being diverted to home and family. He might also think that a winter hunger strike will sap the energy of the Chief quickly and bad weather will dampen public support rallies.
Yes, this is all true. But what Mr. Harper needs to understand is that he isn’t the one holding the cards.
Hunger strikes are very volatile and potentially divisive actions. They stem from desperation and a belief that all other attempts to negotiate in good faith have been exhausted.
Jim Denis champions the cause.
The fundamental issue is the nation-to-nation treaty relationship with Indigenous peoples that Canadian governments repeatedly flout by passing legislation without free, prior and informed consent.
Harper and the Governor-General (as Crown representative) must meet with Chief Spence and other First Nations leaders, to not only discuss this relationship but take concrete action to repair it.
And the CBC talks to Shawn Atleo.