Indians are also Canadians.

The continuing embarrassment of how Canada treats its aboriginal population seems to have hit a Conservative wall. As luck would have it for our Indians, Prime Minister Harper wants something. The chiefs have a chance in the next while to pull off the deal of a lifetime. It will probably enrage those who think fairness should run both ways but Harper has no time to do things properly.

And Harper will make sure that all the blame for the outrageous settlements involved will rest at the doorstep of the current crop of chiefs. And the Indians will play right into his game. This “Idle No More” movement, for example, is the latest in a long line of aboriginal based movements that think they can get the attention they want by inconveniencing and pissing off other Canadians. What they fail to realize is that it might produce steps to stop their antics but will never get anyone to address the very real problems among our indigenous population.

The main problem is that the tribal chiefs and the elected leaders among the aboriginal groups make it a power game wherein they can squabble over their shares of the Indian Affairs pie. Many of these people are actually well meaning but the system is designed to defeat the altruistic.

It is like the carefully leaked audit reports of Deloitte & Touche. Who would be under the impression that Chief Spence of Attawapiskat has a chartered accountant at her right hand to make sure that all transactions meet Canadian accounting standards? They do not and she will not and nothing will be resolved until all sides deal in the real world.

But Harper realizes that at both ends of the country, he needs to deal with Indians to get pipelines pumping tar sands bitumen to ports for foreign markets. Luckily he has the resources of Canadian taxpayers to buy some Indian cooperation and he will not be shy to make the commitments.

But, just to confuse an already confused scenario, the federal courts have finally ruled that non-status Indians and Metis also have status—probably doubling the numbers that Harper has to buy off.

Meanwhile Harper and friends are making a shambles of proper negotiation with our indigenous peoples by disrespecting Shawn Atleo the elected chief of of the Assembly of First Nations. By doing that the government is helping create more “Idle No More” movements and making resolutions of Indian problems even harder to reach.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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