- Murray Dobbin writes about the significance of Idle No More as a shift away from the presumption that First Nations' interests are represented solely by elected officials:
There are some fascinating similarities between the Idle No More phenomenon and the Occupy movement. Both reflect a political dualism: they are focused on the lack of democracy, justice and equality for ordinary people and they are implicitly (and with Idle No More explicitly) telling conventional movement organizations that are supposed to speak for them that they have failed. And it should come as no surprise that most members of the leadership of Idle No More are women.- Meanwhile, Aaron Wherry interviews Romeo Saganash about his own path toward federal politics:
By the late 1980s government funding had established a mutually beneficial relationship between governments and aboriginal leaders. Into this status quo of continued poverty came native women's organizations which were genuinely radical (they had no big salaries to lose) and often critical of the totally male dominated aboriginal groups. They were the voices of aboriginal communities -- but lack of resources and bullying by the government-funded "official" organizations eventually prevailed. That they are back in leadership roles is one of the most important and positive aspects of the movement.
Idle No More is the most exciting development in aboriginal politics in two generations. It has rightfully scared the hell out of the entire First Nations leadership -- from Shawn Atleo down to the hundreds of chiefs, too many of whom do in fact live high on the hog while their band members suffer. And it has got the attention of Stephen Harper, a man who has dedicated his political career to the interests of the oil and other resource industries threatened by Idle No More. Remember that he cancelled the Kelowna Accord soon after he became prime minister. The only reason Harper met with First Nations leaders is because his intelligence gathering told him this could be real trouble. Let's hope it is.
I had a mission in life and that was to help building bridges between my people and the rest of Quebec and Canadian society. My whole purpose was that over the last 30 years. When Jack first approached me in 2006 to run for the NDP, there was still a lot of unfinished business with the Cree at that time, so I preferred to continue to work with the Cree until 2011 when I thought was the timing was great for me. The campaign slogan was travaillons ensemble and that was me over the years.- Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report on the continued investigation against Dean Del Mastro's 2008 campaign for breaking Canadian electoral law. And Jim Bronskill points out Jim Flaherty's misuse of his ministerial title and resources to try to influence CRTC licensing decisions.
The intent at that time was for me to run in Quebec City. I had worked from Quebec City for the grand council, my work base was in Quebec City and I had been there for 20 years, so I knew practically everybody in Quebec City. But Jack, and that was probably the only thing that he refused from me, said to me, no, my friend, you’re going back home. And I always loved the way that he explained his refusal to me. He said, look at this way: all of the challenges, the global challenges that we have today, the environment, climate change, relations with aboriginal peoples, the future of aboriginal peoples, resource development, the future of the north, the new geopolitical realities of the Arctic, you name them, they’re all in that riding. And he said, who better than you can represent that riding? And in a sense I’d never thought about it, because it’s so diverse in terms of population. There are Cree in my riding, there are Inuit in my riding, there are Algonquins in my riding, there are forestry workers in my riding, there are mining workers in my riding. More than half the province gets its electricity from that territory. It’s a huge riding, it’s the second largest in the country. And I know the riding very well. It’s a riding where the James Bay-Northern Quebec agreement, first model treaty, applies as well, more than half of the riding is covered by this constitutional arrangement. And I know that treaty very, very well. And I think Jack was right. And I’m certainly glad that he insisted.
- Finally, Michael Geist discusses how the Cons' anti-spam legislation remains in limbo after being passed years ago - and has given way to pro-spam regulations at the behest of businesses who don't want to have to justify loading up Canadians' inboxes with unwanted ads.