January 10th 2013
Dear Prime Minister Harper
Years ago when you were first elected as Prime Minister you made a statement that the Government of Canada spends $16,500 for each First Nations man, woman and child. The same message was delivered by the then Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice. This was great PR for your government and it helped get the Conservatives elected as a majority government but we know that this is not really a lie, just a bending of the truth. See attached 2008 letter to Minister Strahl where I destroy that statement.
The reality is that you can go down in history as the most reviled Prime Minister in history or tomorrow you can make the inroads needed to solve the issue of indigenous peoples in Canada. Remember that Brian Mulroney stated during the Oka Crisis that Canada spent $13,500 per First Nations man, woman and child. The Conservatives were reduced to two seats because they didn't manage the press. You have a bigger problem of the internet and some massive expectations. You do however have options that make sense.
You have over 10 billion dollars per year available to spend if you change the way it is delivered to First Nations. You need to change the message to Canadians. The Taxpayer Federation message needs to be changed. You need to make a bold action to dismantle Indian Affairs oversight and send the money directly to First Nations. Years ago, it was not called funding, it was called "Indian monies". The 10 billion per year has to be pledged to banks multi-year so that First Nations can plan bigger projects. Revenue sharing will happen but not immediately, if you do not have an immediate action plan that is realistic, you will not succeed tomorrow.
Shawn Atleo and the B.C. Chiefs cannot deliver the Treaty 1-11 First Nations. The pipelines are in the three Prairie Provinces and Ovide Mercredi cannot deliver Chief Fox and the other Chiefs in the area. Unless you meet with Chief Fox, Chief Day and a few others, you will not be able to settle this issue down. The public show is tomorrow, the quiet work will follow.
Blockades will occur on January 16th if you do not succeed tomorrow. Bloodshed will occur, make no mistake. The level of hatred that one third of white Canada has against indigenous people is real and if you cannot manage this situation, you will go down in history as the Prime Minister that turned Canada from the most peaceful country in the world to another Yugoslavia. The Americans are not going to let this continue without some security for trade.
The time to dismantle Indian Affairs is now, not just another Liberal press strategy but a real action plan. I still thank you for converting the 75 acres near Winnipeg for Roseau River and I thank you for the 1903 Surrender. You have a good man in Wernick in the discussions. I don't know Clement but Duncan needs to be strong in wanting to dismantle Indian Affairs. Either Mulroney didn't listen to his advisors or he had poor advisors. Whether you are another Mulroney will be seen tomorrow. The message to white Canada is not needed right now, There is more than enough accountability, you have three years before the next election, don't waste your chance to be the Prime Minister that kept Canada the most peaceful country in the world. None of the Chiefs in the Prairies want violence or to damage the economy.
Copy of Assembly of First Nations Draft Policy
The pre-existing Aboriginal title and rights of First Nations must be reconciled with the asserted sovereignty of the Crown. Efforts to do so following the Crown-First Nations Gathering on January 24, 2012, have not yet been fulfilled. The following interests / outcomes have been identified as a priority going into the January 11, 2013, meeting with Canada:
1. Any process aimed at reforming the Comprehensive Claims Policy (CCP) must be guided by an ongoing political dialogue at the highest level (i.e., the Prime Minister’s office). Oversight cannot be relegated to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development or any other bureaucracy.
2. Discussions with respect to the reform of the CCP would include (but not limited to):
a. Fiscal arrangements;
b. Shared territory;
c. Recognition / reconciliation;
d. The status of lands;
e. Self-government; and
3. Any process to reform the CCP must:
a. Be based on the principles of recognition and reconciliation, rather than extinguishment. As a result, Canada must unequivocally reject the doctrines of terra nullius and discovery as a basis for engaging First Nations in any forum;
b. Respect the differences between First Nations, their interests and aspirations – the policy cannot be one size fits all, therefore it cannot be based on pre-determined outcomes, formulas, or unilateral impositions by Canada;
c. Be jointly developed and implemented subject to the approval of First Nations themselves – as a result, Canada’s purported “results-based” approach to treaty and self-government negotiations must be rescinded;
d. Provide the ability for all First Nations to pursue the negotiation of modern treaty and self-government arrangements, including the ability to negotiate interim measures / arrangements;
e. Accept that the Crown’s policies / processes must remain consistent with the Common / Civil / Indigenous Law (including case law arising from Haida, Delgamuukw, etc. ), international human rights law, and the Constitution;
f. Lead to the unequivocal recognition of First Nations title on the ground in a manner that does not lead to “postage stamp” parcels of land.
4. The Constitutional nature of Aboriginal title and rights requires Canada to consult with First Nations on any policy, regulation or legislation that has the potential to affect their rights whether or not a First Nation is engaged in a process of negotiation with the Crown.
5. First Nations are entitled to free, prior and informed consent as referenced in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted by Canada in 2010.
6. Many First Nations in Canada have incurred significant debts in their efforts to negotiate meaningful CCP settlements. These debts must be forgiven and a new process must be implemented that incorporates adequate non-repayable resourcing for the negotiation and implementation of agreements.
7. Immediate priorities in First Nation communities cannot be displaced by these higher level processes aimed at reconciling First Nation rights and title through a reformed policy (e.g., health, housing, etc.).