Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Dear Romeo Saganash....
RE: Bullying Fellow Indigenous Candidates
Unfortunately the last two days have witnessed some extreme pettiness from the NDP benches because of Bill C-51 (the legislation relating to stronger/stricter laws on potential terrorist threats). As many of us know there are flaws with this legislation and I completely agree with the fact there are flaws.
While the Liberals have expressed their intention to support Bill C-51, because of the extra security and safety it may add for the innocent on Turtle Island, Trudeau and the Liberals have admitted there are issues with it. In fact they offered amendments to C-51, although voted down by the Conservatives, and promised to still make amendments to the legislation after obtaining government (if they were to win the October 2015 election).
In response to this ‘controversy,’ Robert-Falcon Oullette, an Indigenous Liberal candidate for Winnipeg-Centre, stated:
“I strongly believe in protecting the right to protest, the freedom
of speech and association, and political activism. I will stand with
you and walk beside you in peaceful protest. If they come for you,
then they will come for me.”
Now, the NDP have opted to vote against Bill C-51, which is their right to do and may be reliant on their supporter base (albeit the NDP have been criticized from becoming extremely insular amongst some of the Caucus, Muclair and his specific inner-circle), but Muclair has expressed if he formed a government in October 2015 he would amend it and thus keep the legislation …
In other words, whether the NDP or Liberals formed a government in October 2015, both would amend Bill C-51 to reflect their views but not abolish it. In other words THEY WILL DO THE SAME BLOODY THING.
Yet, the NDP are now viciously attacking the Liberals for supporting the bill – even though the NDP also do not plan to abolish it if they formed a government. Confusing? Yes. Why? Because the same END RESULT will exist. Whether the NDP vote yes or no – or whether the Liberals vote yes or no.
Now, I don’t like the bill – but I wasn’t going to weigh in until NDP MP Romeo Saganash uttered these words:
“Indigenous Liberal Candidates endorse a threat against Aboriginal
rights by supporting Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to back
the Harper government’s anti-terror bill through the House of
My eyes widened and my mind yelled “What the Hell!?!?!
Thus, according to Saganash, Liberal Indigenous candidates are impeding on Indigenous rights and sovereignty because they stand by the Liberal Party of Canada Leader, Justin Trudeau, on Bill C-51 – even though all but one are not sitting MPs. I think Saganash’s comments are problematic and here is why:
1. If we go by Romeo Saganash’s logic, can Indigenous peoples thus state that he himself infringes on Indigenous rights and sovereignty, as an NDP, MP, for opting to run for the NDP following their decision to VOTE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES & BLOC QUEBECOIS on pushing the Matrimonial Real Property Bill into second reading in May 2009? (Todd Russell, then Liberal MP for Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Critic for the LPC, moved to have the legislation effectively destroyed – the NDP opted to VOTE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES rather then follow the wishes of Indigenous peoples to have the bill voted down/destroyed). Thus Mr. Saganash, can we blame you for the NDP’s assault on Indigenous rights and Indigenous sovereignty?
2. What about in January 2013 when Thomas Muclair endorsed Stephen Harper’s working relationship with Indigenous nations? Following the very controversial and timid meeting with some of the AFN Regional Chiefs and Band Council Chiefs – the FNCM Meeting, Muclair endorsed the working relationship … and since Harper is imposing private property, colonial rules, and other patriarchal structures on our nations, communities, and peoples – while also making it harder for Indigenous peoples to vote in Canada’s elections if they so choose. Thus, why has Muclair not rescinded his endorsement? Why has Muclair not apologized for his endorsement? Thus, by Mr. Saganash’s view, can we not blame him for Muclair’s ‘approval’ of Harper’s imposition on our rights and sovereignty as Indigenous peoples?
3. What about the New Brunswick Provincial Election of 2014? Do we recall the protests and anger over fracking? What about the Comments by the NB NDP leader that referred to the protestors, mainly Mikmaq peoples, as terrorists? Yet, Muclair endorsed him and campaigned with him – pushing New Brunswickers to vote for a man who called Indigenous peoples terrorists…. For standing up for their treaty rights … for their sovereign rights. Thus, again, Mr. Saganash – are you complacent in this as an NDP Indigenous MP?
4. Or what about the NDP’s stance on Quebec sovereignty and separation? The NDP believe Quebec has a right to separate by 50% plus 1 … In other words, the NDP is ok with Quebec separating if they achieve this level …. To separate …. With unceded/treatied Nehiyaw, Maliseet, Wendat, Mikmaw, Haudenosaune, and Anishinaabe land… Mr. Saganash – you are a Nehiyaw/Quebecer Member of Parliament …. Does this not seem like a slap in the face of Indigenous peoples and nations who Quebec shares territory with? Does this not undermine Indigenous treaty rights and sovereignty? And again, going by your logic towards LPC Indigenous candidates in relation to Bill C51, are you not at fault for this infringement and potential appropriation/degradation of Indigenous rights and nations?
In following your logic Mr. Saganash, yes – I can look at you as endorsing the infringement and degradation of Indigenous treaty rights and sovereignty because of you doing the same thing as LPC Indigenous candidates. In other words, your logic and attacks are heavily flawed and very hypocritical.
So, such a flawed logic made me wonder: What are the other possible reasons of such an uptick in bullying towards the Aboriginal Peoples’ Commission, and Liberal Indigenous Candidates, from Saganash, and even Nikki Ashton? Perhaps, if one looks at where LPC Indigenous candidates are, alongside the increased support the LPC has obtained and the loss of support for the NDP, we can see a clearer picture.
Quebec: Michele Audette, the former President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, has the opportunity to upset the NDP in the riding she is seeking (Manicouagan). It would be an Indigenous candidate vs. an Indigenous candidate between the two parties, but there is strong potential … at the expense of the NDP. Lets also wonder, why was it the NDP could not bring Michele Audette (The Native Womens' Association of Canada's past-president and a major force in pushing for attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) into their fold?
Manitoba: Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre), Dan Vandal (Saint. Boniface-Saint Vital), and Rebecca Chartrand (Churchill). All three can not only upset incumbents, with two being NDP, but also eat heavily into their votes. Chartrand, a well respected individual in Cree territory and the riding of Churchill, amongst Indigenous peoples and community. Vandal, a Metis individual with great connections amongst the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous community in Winnipeg. And Ouellette, a Winnipeg Mayoral Candidate who made a massive dent in former NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ bid for Mayor and brought many Indigenous supporters to his side. How did the NDP not pick up any of these individuals to represent them for 2015?
Saskatchewan: Lawrence Joseph (Desenethe-Missinippi-Churchil River); Lisa Abbott (Saskatoon-West); Ray Fox (Battlefords-Lloydminster) and Marcel Isnana (Regina-Qu’Appelle). All four are well known in their communities. Abbott is a well-respected Lawyer, Fox a town councillor, and Joseph a respected leader AND former NDP candidate … all in ridings that the NDP, for the most part, did better then the Liberals and risk losing support. Isnana and Abbott in their ridings no longer make it a two-way race between the Conservatives and NDP; Joseph’s move to the LPC takes away the massive gains the NDP made in DMCR in 2011.
Alberta: Daniol Coles (Edmonton-Griesbach). A Metis individual who works as a Health & Benefits Consultant and has been working hard to not only represent Edmonton and Indigenous peoples but also Alberta. Another well respected individual who risks taking the NDP from second place in the area to third if he taps into the various populations in the riding. Thus, it doesn’t look good for the NDP in this situation either.
British Columbia: Louis De Jaeger (Chilliwack-Hope), Karley Scott (Central Okenagan-Similkameen-Nicola), and Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville). All three are respected and known in their communities. Perhaps, the most known is Wilson-Raybould, the head of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations. Wilson-Raybould is a well-respected, honoured, and cherished leader amongst the Pacific Coast Nations. Has done much work as a lawyer and Indigenous leader for Indigenous peoples. Again, how can the NDP, if they ‘represent’ Indigenous peoples on such a ethic level, have not obtained her as their candidate in Vancouver-Granville?
This discussion doesn’t even include Yvonne Jones, Phillipe Archenbault, as candidates, or other potential nominees under the Liberal Banner – which equals well above 50% of total Indigenous candidates between all four major parties). So, why were the NDP not able to obtain these candidates – why do the NDP seem to only have two Indigenous candidates at this time (Saganash and Genest-Jourdain)? Who knows.
Perhaps it has to do with the strong work of Indigenous women and men, as well as Non-Indigenous allies in the Party that brought them into considering a run as a Liberal candidate; perhaps the early endorsement and support on bringing forth action on #MMIWG; Nation-to-Nation relations; Outreach to the AFN and communities, supporting Idle No More far more quickly than the NDP, etc. OR, perhaps its because of the support the LPC has shown in the last few years and the fact that Justin Trudeau is listening to them – rather then ignoring them, as some claim Muclair to do – remember what happened to their Edmonton-Centre Candidate…. Just Saying. In other words Mr. Saganash, there is no need to cast stone's at your 'glass house,' you broke it on your own.
So Mr Saganash, you question the integrity of Indigenous Liberal candidates who stand by Justin Trudeau and you wonder why? Its called faith – faith that the Liberal leader will indeed bring changes to the laws if/when he becomes Prime Minister …. Just as you must with Muclair as he too would simply amend the laws rather then repel. So you, like the Liberal Indigenous candidates, adhere to faith in your leader. Your point, argument, and attacks are excessively hypocritical. Therefore, perhaps you and the NDP should focus on the NDP and Muclair's misgivings towards Indigenous rights and sovereignty before mudslinging.