Harper Blinks - Sorta - Now First Nations Must Demand That the Kelowna Accord Be Re-Instated

This morning Harpo blinked - sorta - and agreed to meet with aboriginal leaders on Jan. 11 in large part no doubt to stem the flood of pressure he and his cronies are under from around the globe. Now, after this current success at blink-manship, the next test for Shawn Atleo the rest of the First Nation's leadership starts. This meeting is crucial not only for the hunger strikers and 'Idle No More' but for all of us everywhere.

The First Nations leaders understand only to well that actions speak far louder than words. Here in Canada, and around the globe, Indigenous leaders have signed agreements and treaties with colonial occupiers only to see them abandoned as soon as those occupiers had the upper hand. Generally those agreements/treaties stipulated that in exchange for the title to vast amounts of land and the rights to the natural resources they contained the newcomers would provide the indigenous people's with services like education, housing and health care in perpetuity. Then, as history clearly shows, once the newcomers become numerous enough and powerful enough they just abandon those agreements.

Most Canadians will remember The Kelowna Accord, an agreement negotiated by then-prime minister Paul Martin with the First Nations leaders and the provincial and territorial governments back.in 2005. That agreement which Phil Fontaine, then National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called the deal a breakthrough for his people was immediately abandoned as soon as Harpo and his ilk took office. That agreement followed years of extensive consultation between all the 'nations' as opposed to the current government's dictatorial omnibus Bill C-45. This time around the First Nations must not agree to anything that doesn't mandate consultation and consensus.

The Kelowna Accord, which created specific, co-operatively developed programs to address the areas of education, employment and living conditions was a viable plan and the re-adoption of it by the current government [which most all folks agree will happen right after hell freezes over] could be a one huge step toward a way out of the current conflict and toward a future where First Nations everywhere regain control of their destiny and culture through honest negotiation not authoritarian dictate.