Native governments are elected on the Reserves which sometimes leads to corruption, but even on the best Reserves at least in the North leaves the local chiefs and tribal council dealing with all aspects of government from accounting to budgeting and implementation of all social services. This is a formidable task, particularly when you're not acquainted with the different tasks in an isolated environment, and your education background and experience is limited.
The individual councils elect central councils and chiefs and they in turn elect the council and chiefs of the NFA- the National Chiefs that deal with the Indian Department, bureaucrats and elected officials. Metis,half Aboriginal and half white, have never qualified under the Indian Act. But the Supreme Court recently ruled that they are entitled to all benefits under the Indian Act. This change, a change in numbers, along with the discovery of resources in the north has super charged the situation with the bands wanting to share in theses discoveries. By in large the aboriginal approach to the earth is one of reverence, not exploitation, so they're natural conservationists, especially the young. This is not the case of resource companies who are all prepared to desecrate the earth.
Some of the young through insurmountably odds are educated. Lawyers,
Stephen Harper currently has a majority government in Parliament. Previously he was in a minority position and was thus kept in line by the opposition parties. The omnibus bill masquerading as a budget bill contains amendments to the Navigable Waters Act, reducing the number from some 3 million to about 100 with environmental protection. Thus making it easier to build pipelines, dams or whatever.There are also changes to the Fisheries Act removing protection from streams, lakes, and rivers. It also contains changes to the Indian Act concerning land leasing of reserve land which reduces the numbers required to agree,and allows the Government to convene the meeting. All this done with no consultation with Aboriginals.
The much vaunted balancing of our budget will not occur as promised, a pipe dream if ever there was one; in fact, more like an outright lie. Cutting civil service numbers resulted in the worst out break of contamination in the beef industry in Alberta, and a foreign take over of the largest meat plant in Alberta. The acquisition, or non-acquisition of the new fighter jets is three times as high as initially estimated, and he hid the real figures up to the end. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, a type of ombudsman, who reports to Parliament only,has the Governmental in court in an effort to get information that is being hidden by Harper. Conservative (Harper's party)budget irregularities in ridings are currently under review by the Federal Electoral Officer. A citizen's group has the Conservative party in Court over the robo call scandal. Calls were placed by call centers advising electors of false information, and polls which prevented them from voting. Our foreign policy is laughable. On hearing of the the first revolution in Egypt Harper made his tooth paste comment effectively saying now you guys have done it. On the vote in the UN recognizing Palestine as a quasi state he withdrew our representation.Then was left with more egg on his face when Israel expanded the settlement areas. He could have just abstained. I'm sure we've lost any credibility there. In trade, he negotiated a treaty with China which is an abomination, which remains unsigned. He refused Australia's bid to take over the Potash Corporation, but Ok'd China's, take over of a tar sands oil company. The Chinese company is of course a state owned company and we have no policy on state owned companies,which we need. In a recent bid to find another trading partner he signed an agreement to supply India with uranium, and I think nuclear technology, without an oversight clause. The last time we did that India developed a bomb. This list could go on, but it's depressing how stupid he is. At the NFA meeting he agreed to allow more oversight from his office and The Privy Council. Idle No More, of course, promised more action and more elected chiefs are supporting the group.
So how did we get ourselves in this Harper fix where everything is a fight to stop his policies. Well, a previous Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau who repatriated our Constitution initiated a couple of changes. The first provides money from the Government to parties on a proportional basis for election expenses .This limits outside contributions to the parties from lobby groups. Thus stopping the US situation where lobbyists hang around the capital with wagon loads of cash to get their policies in place. The negative is that it makes the party leader king. If you're not in his favour no money. This means leaving the party and becoming an independent, and maybe a candidate as an alternate leader is impossible.. So we need a constitutional change to allow sitting members bolting a party to take their allocation of funds with them. While we're at constitutional changes, we need to institute recall for the Federal arena by constituency, and by office. Thus you could recall the PM as PM, or as a sitting member. If he can't re-win his seat he's gone.
On the Aboriginal claims which are Federal matters, everybody who wants justice for them is going to have to climb on the bandwagon and support them irrevocably over the next four years. By everyone I mean the environmental groups also. Protection for the environment is still possible at the Provincial level. The fight will have to increase at that level.
A post to I'd Rather be Birdin,Our World Tuesday and WBW.
For further information on Idle No More, Google the same and you will get their site as well as other CBC stories about them. On their web site, please support them.
|River in the sun|
|Raven in Flight|
|Reflection on the river.|