Obviously, Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Clarke was not at the Liberal Party of Canada’s recent convention in Ottawa to hear former Prime Minister Paul Martin speak about the Kelowna Accord’s legacy and what that would be for First Nations people:
“What happened at Kelowna was a very different approach. For 200 years, Canadian governments have been telling First Nations what the priorities are. Never again will a federal government be able to say ‘it’s our way or the highway’, never again will a federal government say ‘we will not work with you’.”
Perhaps Mr. Clarke should have attended the convention and heeded the former Prime Minister’s words. It’s quite obvious that he did not consult with First Nations’ leadership – or his predominantly First Nation constituents in the sprawling northern constituency of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River - when he introduced his Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons last week to repeal the Indian Act of 1876.
Perhaps if he had attended the convention and engaged his constituents as a Member of Parliament should, his actions might not have drawn such scorn from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations or from First Nations’ Chiefs and leaders across Canada. Perhaps if he had, First Nations’ leaders would not be looking at each other this week saying “that’s not what the Prime Minister said“… at the Crown-First Nations’ Gathering in Ottawa on January 24th.
Perhaps again, we’re seeing how Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government really intends on working with First Nations of Canada.
We observed the Conservative government’s lack of respect when they – along with their new-found friends in the NDP – scrapped the Kelowna Accord in 2006. There was no consultation with First Nations’ leadership there.
We witnessed the Conservative government’s lack of respect when they placed Attawapiskat under Third-Party Management for declaring a national emergency. There was no consultation with First Nations’ leadership there.
We’re seeing the Conservative government’s lack of respect toward radical environmentalists and First Nations with the Enbridge Pipeline in BC. There’s no effective consultation with First Nations’ leadership there.
And again, we’ve taken notice when a Conservative Member of Parliament attempts to scrap the Indian Act. Again, no consultation with First Nations’ leadership there either.
Most importantly, by not engaging with First Nations, Mr. Rob Clarke, MP is giving us a ‘Blast from the Past’ and the Conservatives, through their unilateral actions, are again demonstrating their blatant, shameless contempt for the First Peoples of Canada.