, 02.25.2020 08:15 AM

My latest: police, politicians and protestors

Can the politicians tell the police to take down the barricades?

If not, why not?

Those are the two questions that have been mooted for more than two weeks now. Around the nation’s water coolers, in just about every Tim Horton’s, frustrated and angry Canadians – Indigenous and otherwise – have been wondering what, if anything, can be done. What can be done to make the trains run on time again? What can end this?

There haven’t been as many questions about the legitimacy of the protests, or the efficacy of our political leaders. A majority of Canadians apparently regard the barricades as worse than illegitimate – they see them as illegal.

And our political leaders? On that, there is consensus, too. Not one of our leaders has looked like they know what to do. Not one.

Justin Trudeau spent a few days pleading for “patience,” and – when it became evident that he did not possess a clue about how to actually solve the crisis, and finally reconcile with Indigenous Canadians – he did a volte-face and said he wasn’t going to be patient anymore. No, sir. The Prime Minister wanted the barricades down “now.”

That, ironically, was Andrew Scheer’s position. The soon-to-be-former Conservative leader wanted the barricades carted away “now,” too. But he stopped short of saying the police should be, you know, ordered to do so.

And, when he said what he said, the aforementioned Trudeau petulantly refused to invite Scheer to a meeting in his office with all of the other leaders of political parties. (Seriously.)

From the Liberals, then, inertia and platitudes. From the Conservatives, lots of tough-guy talk (as leadership contender Peter MacKay was, in a tweet applauding vigilante action) – but, um, not too much of it (MacKay later deleted the tweet).

From the other political leaders, much of the same. Words and contradictions. Piffle and bafflegab. But not a single, sensible suggestion about what to actually do.

An Ipsos poll suggested Canadians themselves were similarly conflicted. Said Ipsos: “As the indigenous blockade of key transportation corridors in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation continues for another week, a majority of Canadians [61 per cent] say they disagree that the protestors are conducting justified and legitimate protests.”

But, but.

But the other hand, said Ipsos: “Most Canadians recognize room for improvement: three quarters agree that the federal government must act now to help raise the quality of life of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, which is up 12 percentage points since 2013.”

Get that? Around six in ten Canadians say the protests are illegitimate. But around seven in ten also say Indigenous people have legitimate grievances, and deserve better.

Out of all this confusion, out of all the maddening political double-talk, one question persisted: can the police be ordered in?

Well, no. Not by the politicians, anyway.

For much of the country, the RCMP is the police force that would be called upon to shut down the barricades and arrest the protestors. And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, section five, acknowledges that the commissioner of the force is indeed appointed by the relevant cabinet minister.

But then section five goes on: only the RCMP commissioner “has the control and management of the Force and all matters connected with the Force.” Not, it should be emphasized, the politicians.

Last year, during LavScam, the Conservatives seemed to understand this distinction. They seemed to accept that no politician should ever, ever order police or prosecutors to do (or not do) something. This year, they have forgotten all that, because it is politically expedient to do so.

The Liberals, meanwhile, spent much of 2018 and 2019 attempting to bend the law to suit their political purposes. In 2020, not so much. With a straight face, they now insist they cannot tell the police what to do. Which is why nothing was done for weeks.

They’re right about that much, at least. If the standoff between police and Indigenous people during the 1995 Ipperwash crisis taught us anything, it is this: permitting politicians to order around the cops can have fatal consequences. In that conflict, former Ontario Premier Mike Harris was alleged to have said to the OPP: “I want the fucking Indians out of the park.”

So, an Ontario Provincial Police sniper team was dispatched to Ipperwash. Ojibwa protestor Dudley George was then summarily shot. The OPP thereafter stopped George’s family from taking him to the hospital, and he died.

If you think Canadian police officers didn’t learn a valuable lesson from the killing of Dudley George, you’d be wrong. They carefully studied the voluminous Ipperwash Inquiry report, and have heeded what it had to say.

Twenty-five years later, as more Indigenous protests (literally) grip the nation, Canada’s police forces are the only ones in authority who have conducted themselves with anything approaching caution and consistency. They, more than anyone else, know that someone could be killed. And that, frankly, should matter more than anything else.

As the 2020 barricade crisis drags on, the cops look like adults. The politicians look like idiots.

Trust the cops.

44 Comments

  1. joe says:

    So is it now ok for any group with a grievance to blockade rail lines or other infrastructure?

    How about if that group threatens violence? Do we expect the police to sit around? For how long?

    What happens when the police decide they won’t enforce the law? Who then can tell the police to act?

  2. Steve T says:

    With regard to the apparently-conflicted views of Canadians, I actually don’t think they are conflicted at all.

    Most Canadians want to help our Indigenous brothers and sisters achieve a better life. Revenue-sharing projects like the Coastal Link pipeline, and the Teck mine development, are perfect examples of the new way forward in a resource-dependent country like Canada.

    Most Canadians also see the blockades for what they really are: an illegal shakedown by small groups of people who believe they are above the law, and do not want to participate in mutually-beneficial solutions. Instead, these blockaders confuse “having a say” with “getting your way”.

    Canadians see the situation for what it is, but sadly are too milquetoast to make their voices heard. As is often the case, those who work and provide the economic backbone for the country are too busy to spend their entire day on a blockade or protesting.

    • lyn says:

      Steve T:Your right Canadians see the situation for what it is those who work and provide the economic backbone for the country are to busy to spend their entire day/night blockading or protesting. So where do these people get their money to live…from outsiders like Soros, Green Peace, Pembina Intsititute, WWF and Laurention Elites that want to stop oil and LNG to kill AB & SK. Then you have Trudeau and the Liberals doing the same thing.

  3. J.H. says:

    I suspect Trudeau adapted Scheer’s stance, when the LPC’s backroom gang saw their internal polls. Then the shite hit the fan and whoever is the latest puppet- master since Butts left, pulled the backbone string.
    Face it, all our leaders current and potential, are basically limp noodles as principles are sacrificed for expediency.
    Most won’t admit it, but secretly know that PMSH was the only recent leader we’ve had with guts.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      J.H.,

      Sure, guts but failing strategic abilities. How Harper must kick himself for 2015 because as he himself admitted, it was quite literally all on him — and his overly right-wing policies. I warned him up until 2009. Not so much thereafter. Also says a lot about his advisors doesn’t it. Exact same calibre as Trudeau’s PMO…in other words, really not worth two-shits. LOL.

  4. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Well, we all know how politicians are skilled enough to get the message across to police forces through official or unofficial intermediaries. That being said, with what you’ve said, I have more confidence in the OPP. But there’s no way that I’ll extend that to the RCMP or SQ — or any other force — until I see that they have also had the same kind of conflict resolution training.

  5. Pedant says:

    I wonder how Trudeau would react if this nation-destroying illegal activity were occurring in Quebec and negatively impacting Quebec’s economy?

    As mentioned above, the so-called police are flouting the law. I’m noticing a pattern – remember when the police were acting as bellhops to illegal migrants?

  6. Quo Vadis says:

    Warren interestingly you make mention of Ipperwash to further your argument but make no mention of the events and aftermath of the travesty and injustices committed in Caledonia. Both precedent events leading Canada to where it is today.
    Ipperwash has neutering police and elected officials to apply the law accordingly when aboriginals cross the line of what is proportional and “peaceful protest.”
    Wherein Ipperwash set the conditions for Caladonia. Caladonia has further emboldened (furthering the lessons of Oka) the aboriginals to act out knowing full well the consequences will be next to none.
    Unfortunately law-abiding citizens are caught in the middle.

  7. Wes W says:

    I thought the law told the police what to enforce.

  8. Steve T says:

    I have a further question regarding the alleged “solidarity” actions of the blockaders (I refuse to call them “protesters”): are we relying solely on their goodwill to not cause more harm to people?

    What if they decided they wanted to take a few random people hostage? What if they decided they wanted to “reclaim” some random swath of land they believe is theirs, even if there are private homes on it? All the while, flying the “protest flag”, and spouting generic comments about sovereignty and past transgressions.

    Some might say this would be going too far, as these actions would cause personal harm to other people. But what do you call the loss of thousands of jobs that has already occurred? What of the extreme mental anguish for the people who can’t get to work; can’t get to medical appointments; can’t generate an income and must go hungry; etc…?

    Make no mistake – personal harm has already been done by these blockaders. They are in complete control of the situation, and are slowly dispensing their brand of anarchy as they see fit. And idiotic people keep showing up “in solidarity”.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Steve,

      All the more reason to urgently make FNs full economic and educational partners by passing legislation to that effect. Right, Prime Minister?

      As for the scenarios you’ve sketched out, then they go to jail after hostages are released or rescued. Ditto if private land with homes was occupied. We’re not talking condo projects being built or golf courses here. Apples and oranges.

      • Steve T says:

        Full economic partners – like was done for the Coastal Gaslink and Teck mine project? I see how well that turned out.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Steve,

          You have a point but imagine how things would have been without proceeding that way? No equitable and fair solution comes with a 100% guarantee. Sadly so.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “All the more reason to urgently make FNs full economic and educational partners ”

        What does that even mean?

        “by passing legislation to that effect. ”

        Like, tomorrow, then? What government can do anything that quickly (other than a dictatorship)? In reality, this will take weeks, if not months. And it’s not a negotiation if one party is holding a gun to the head of the other, either.

        Take down the illegal blockades FIRST, then we’ll talk. And make sure that the people involved know that they will be arrested and they *will* be charged if they fail to comply. Enough is enough.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Of course, not like tomorrow but fucking bloody soon. Make it a priority damn it.

        • Peter says:

          Take down the illegal blockades FIRST, then we’ll talk.

          Talk about what? It’s already clear that many of the aboriginal peoples and almost all of their band councils are in favour of the resource development projects in question. The protesting hereditary chiefs are awash in ceremony, theatre and wispy abstracts like sovereignty and nationhood. Their objective is to oppose whatever is on the menu today, full stop. In this they have the support of many non-aboriginals preaching a kind of enviro-spiritualism and “solidarity” that is not grounded in any particular knowledge of the circumstances and needs of the aboriginal communities, but which can be counted on to oppose any resource development of any kind on principle. The idea that the parties can all sit down and negotiate better deals so we can get back to business is likely a fantasy.

          Some real insight here:

          https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jonathan-kay-canadas-cultural-elites-have-seen-the-enemy-and-it-is-canadians

          • Fred from BC says:

            Thanks, Peter. That was a great read. There was a lot of history and background there that doesn’t get mentioned often enough…

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Peter,

            Point is we need a national template going forward to at least limit if not, if we’re lucky, enormously reduce these kinds of sovereign protests. What we have in law right now that has a truly national application as regards proposed or actual resource projects is ZIP.

            Put another way: the counter-argument holds no weight so long as we do not address the principal legislative deficit. To suggest otherwise is like arguing who gets into the Titanic’s lifeboats (women/children/men or the reverse) when the central and big-picture question needed to be addressed before her first voyage is the necessity of mandatory lifeboat regulations to enforce their number, design and safety. It’s all about national codification that will expressly prevent governments and project proponents from not operating under a uniform national level playing field. The exact same base law for all FN disputes with either federal, provincial or territorial governments.

            Why so many people can’t see this entirely escapes me…

          • Peter says:

            First of all, Ronald, as resources and resource development are constitutionally the prerogatives of the provinces, your call for a national template is problematic right out of the gate. Do you imagine Quebec would submit to a national template for hydro development. Plus do you see one template for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal lands?

            But leaving that aside, and assuming you foresee cutting aboriginal peoples into decision-making in a major way, the confusion over who speaks for them is likely to make your quest stillborn. The locus of aboriginal authority is the community (over 500) and the communities have never shown enthusiasm for surrendering that authority to national or regional bodies. Quite the contrary. Plus as we are seeing, there are deep, sometimes even violent, divisions in many communities as to where community authority even lies. After Teck spent years successfully consulting the lawful band councils of communities and reaching participation agreements with all of them –in other words doing everything right–, it suddenly discovers authority may lie with hereditary chiefs who apparently have the support of huge swaths of non-aboriginal opinion among the bien-pensants and environmental fundamentalists. There is a long history of industry and government initiatives that had the initial interest and support of pragmatic aboriginal leaders being derailed by internal aboriginal politics when more radical or “pure” voices accused them of selling out aboriginal sovereignty or nationhood or some other such ethereal notion. We all would like what you seek, but I don’t see a lot of hope when the question of who can commit and agree on behalf of aboriginal communities is completely unsettled.

  9. Mike Jeffries says:

    This is a form of state-collapse anarchy where the rule of law is ignored both by the anarchists & the state!
    It’s a prelude to a revolution because the hierarchy becomes impotent and power transfers to the anarchists who then are emboldened to demand even more power.
    This is present Canada. A nation that is no longer a nation. Thank-you Ontario for this impotent federal minority liberal gov’t propped up by a useless NDP and an emboldened Bloc.

    • RKJ says:

      Mike, while I agree with your frustration towards Ontario, I’d also note Scheer “did to himself ” and to Canada by running a foolish campaign. Lots of Ontario voters wanted to support Scheer but in the end fled when he wouldn’t/couldn’t articulate his personal views regarding gay marriage etc. Furthermore, his U.S. citizenship stuff and his all-star plan to cut foreign aid by $2 billion was enough, I think, to send on-the-fence Ontario voters back home to daddy.

      A federal conservative leader should spend lots of time in the “Square One” mall in Mississauga (if anyone goes to the mall anymore) and listen to 905 voters. 905 voters may not be as foreign as others may think. Now, relating to downtown Toronto voters… well…. just remember they know what’s best for all of us…. and Justin suits them just fine….may not be worth wasting ones time there.

      • Mike Jeffries says:

        Ok, I’ll play. Sure, Scheer made mistakes *but* not as fatal as Justin. I thought Ontarians were smarter to see that the economy was more important than things settled in the past!

        • RKJ says:

          Fair enough. However, Justin understands the human side of politics. The games he and his party have been and are playing with Canada are now resulting in unintended consequences.

          The Conservatives ran a leader with a tin ear to the human side of politics and lost a very winnable election. Now, Canada is facing more of the same from “everyone loves me” Justin. Ontario voters can turn (see Doug Ford) but need a federal leader who makes some effort to understand how they tend to think.

          This current Canadian chaos is sad and needless. There was the opportunity for a respectful solution – which the liberal party, and Scheer, is incapable of leading.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Clinton, or more precisely Carville said, “(T)he economy, stupid.” We can fault Trudeau for how he’s handling it. That’s fair game but so is faulting Kenney for abrogating his responsibility for beginning now to take the first steps to develop a long-term plan for Alberta to transition away from basically a fossil-fuel economy. That’s way more irresponsible than what Trudeau has done because it deludes Albertans into thinking that the pie-in-the-sky concept that the Alberta economy based primarily on oil and gas can go on forever, when it can’t. They have no more than thirty good years left, even with a change of national government in the next election. The boom days are dead forever, even with the CPC in power in Ottawa. Clean and renewable energy are the inevitable future, not carbon-producing energy. No one knows that more than Kenney. But then he’s a classic politician, isn’t he, just like Trudeau?

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Mike,

      Your argument is far too simplistic: government and opposition parties are always exactly the same. When it suits their purposes they will argue A, if in power, while making the exact opposite argument known as B while in opposition.

      There is no greater example of this hypocrisy than down South what with the Clinton and Trump impeachments.

      The next Canadian example comes when the SCOC will rule on the carbon tax. Will the provinces opposing it says that the rule of law is both applicable and justified if the judgment doesn’t go their way? Don’t make me laugh.

      • Mike Jeffries says:

        These are crazy times Ronald. Crazy times call for drastic actions. Alberta is in trouble. They don’t want federal handouts! They want respect. Ain’t goin get it from JT. And if the Supremes don’t give it. Well, get prepared to laugh! But, it won’t be funny. Canada is broke. Maybe Ontario doesn’t get it?

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Let ’em never say that Kenney isn’t an optimistic kind of guy. One court in his favour and two against on the carbon tax. What will he do if the SCOC doesn’t go his way? At least his odds are fifty-fifty.

    • Mike Jeffries says:

      There will be some kind of referendum!
      It was in the throne speech. JT thinks Albertians don’t have balls! We’ll see.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Mike,

        Sure, Kenney has the balls but it likely will end up only as political theatre. Look at us in Quebec. We voted it down twice. It’s not an easy sell, even when you’re really hurting badly.

        • Mike Jeffries says:

          What! Go to Alberta Ronald and tell them how Quebec’s economy compares to Alberta.
          Sure, it may begin with political posturing but if a grass roots referendum gets going becuz Freeland turns out to be just a pretty talker and delivers nothing then Jason better either get out or learn quickly that Canadian federalists aren’t welcome in the nation of Alberta!

  11. WestGuy says:

    There was a saying that went something like “Any society, not matter how civilized, is only three meals away from anarchy.”
    People are all for cooperating and dialogue but, whether it’s laid-off rail workers, propane-rationed Quebec farmers , out-of-work Albertans, business owners who can’t get products to or from market – they’re all people who have (or are going to have) trouble putting food on the table – this government seems bound and determined to test that theory.

  12. Steve Teller says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read about this entire situation. It is easy to be a protester: it’s a lot harder to come up with tangible, realistic, implementable solutions.

    https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/gunter-now-that-climate-crusaders-have-ruined-the-economy-whats-their-solution#comments

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Steve,

      Once again, The Sun can’t see the forest for the trees. The top 1-3% in Canada pay no income tax because the best tax lawyers and accountants are on the pay roll to insure exactly that. Loopholes beget loopholes, not to mention deliberately shelled offshore income and laundered money through real estate. Ain’t being rich a gas?!

      • Fred from BC says:

        “The top 1-3% in Canada pay no income tax because the best tax lawyers and accountants are on the pay roll to insure exactly that.”

        So then, according to the article, it’s not the top 10% who pay 54% of all income taxes…it’s the top 7-9%? Okay…

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Kenney and MacKay on slippery slopes.

    Does Kenney believe that his Bill 1 will pass the constitutional test, when it clearly infringes on the exclusive jurisdiction of the Criminal Code? It strikes me as unconstitutional.

    Now to MacKay: why in the name of heaven would MacKay open the abortion pandora’s box? Geez, Louise. He’s opposed, he would make sure cabinet would be opposed but he would let MPs bring in abortion legislation that would try to add restrictions?

    Here’s why that idea is absolutely flawed: a lot of women will say MacKay is OK as will be his front bench. So far, so good. But other pro-choice women, skilfully aided by the Liberals, and other opposition parties, will plant the subtle kernel of doubt that you can’t really trust a potential MacKay government. And a lot of people will buy into that, arguing if a MacKay government is basically pro-choice, then why in the world is MacKay bringing this up? Simple deductive reasoning at work. Or, if you prefer, elementary my dear Watson.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I support MacKay’s leadership bid.

  14. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Peter,

    I don’t pretend to have any particular expertise in these matters, so correct me if I’m wrong but are not trans-provincial projects immediately subject to federal review, such as the NEB? Are not federal permits and environmental assessments required in connection with provincial requirements in areas of concurrent jurisdiction? That’s my impression as regards oil and gas projets that require transport across more than one provincial boundary.

    You make two excellent points about Hydro-Quebec, which exports electricity across both inter-provincial and international boundaries. Obviously, a federal legislative or regulatory authority, if it exists even on the margins and I have my doubts, would be as you say at least problematic. There are decades old agreements already in place with the Cree Nations up North. Very interesting theoretical question indeed.

    Now, as to application to both indigenous and non-aboriginal land, that’s also incredibly intriguing. I would come at it as follows: theoretically, in the search for uniformity, my answer would be Yes. That’s a strong argument in my book. But then you come to the scenario of what if: if there is scant or no history of non-aboriginal related blockades of rail crossings, roads and such, then in practical terms, one would not have to exercise that uniform template, or it would only have to be used sparingly. Logical conclusion?

    As to who speaks for whom, I don’t see it so much as a question of having, say for example the AFN, or the structure of regional grand chiefs speak for a particular large and distinct segment of FNs. I see it more as the template applying to individual FNs and to specific proposed or actual projects. IMHO, like you said, Teck did everything right but here’s an example where elected band councillors and other administrators clearly were not entirely forthright with Teck as to the unique structure of indigenous decision-making processes specific to that particular nation. In addition, the company wasn’t at a due diligence level where it would almost automatically occur to them that they needed to ask questions about the roles of hereditary chiefs and their power in particular segments of that FN before putting pen to paper, much less signing agreements. In short, to avoid such disaster in the future, it’s incumbent on project proponents to ask the right questions as regards each individual FN and also upon the elected FN’s leadership to be proactive as well as to the role of hereditary chiefs, matriarchs, etc. Failing to do just that only leads to replication of what we are experiencing now. In short, governments and proponents, know who all your potential interlocutors are, and do what is necessary to win at least a plurality of them over before signing an agreement.

    As for what do you do when a minority’s minority is resolutely opposed, I have no realistic answer there but would look to the legislative template in hopes of dealing with such an eventuality. Failing that, I would expect the courts to hash it out.

    • Peter says:

      I don’t claim any authority as to who is actually representative of aboriginal opinion in any one community, or in all of them, but it seems clear there is a serious divide and little movement to reconcile them. However, I share Kay’s point that, politically, the divide in non-aboriginal opinion may be a greater obstacle to the solution you are seeking. There appears to be some uncertainty as to how hereditary chiefs are chosen, but it’s not by popular vote or anything we would recognize as democratic. If polls are accurate, it seems 30 to 35% of the population (heavily weighted among elites) not only opposes just about any resource development on principle, they are lining up in support of a quasi-feudal system of government they would never submit to themselves. To my mind, this is just the latest in a long history of non-aboriginals romanticizing aboriginal culture and attaching itself to dreamy abstract “solutions” unrelated to aboriginal needs or opinion. All that traditional dress and solemn theatre we are seeing on the blockades has more of an impact than we realize. In any event, even if your idea of a national template did help build an aboriginal consensus, what makes you think it would do so with non-aboriginal opinion? Surely you see that the widespread principled opposition to pipelines and resource development is based on much more than putative aboriginal resistance? The alliance between aboriginal and environmental activism is definitely one of fair weather friends. Do you imagine Greta gives a damn about aboriginal opinion?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Peter,

        Yes, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that FN issues are not necessarily at the top of environmental groups’ agendas.

        However, most demonstrations on these issues seem to be based upon other races’ solidarity with FNs. If the latter’s disputes were habitually proactively well managed, one would think we would see far less of these kinds of sovereignty protests.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “There appears to be some uncertainty as to how hereditary chiefs are chosen, but it’s not by popular vote or anything we would recognize as democratic.”

        No, not even close. Even the word ‘hereditary’ seems to have been chosen at random; they just recently ‘fired’ two of their ‘chiefs’ who were in favor of the pipeline and replaced them with two others who were opposed, thus boosting their number to five opposed, rather than the previous three.

        ” To my mind, this is just the latest in a long history of non-aboriginals romanticizing aboriginal culture and attaching itself to dreamy abstract “solutions” unrelated to aboriginal needs or opinion.”

        Well said. I’m thinking that’s the biggest problem right there.

        And where are the elected Wet’suwet’en councils right now? I see plenty of supporters of the so-called hereditary chiefs (the young girl wearing traditional headgear and face paint was particularly amusing), but where are the voices of the others? What about the other *twenty* bands who stand to lose millions of dollars here…where are their interviews on national TV? Who speaks for the strong majority of natives?

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Fred,

          Is it so surprising to you that the other elected or otherwise FN leaders have chosen to basically remain silent? What does that say to you? To me, it says though they strongly disagree with the hereditary chiefs, they respect their position. In short, other than on pipeline and resource exploitation issues, they likely share other views on aboriginal sovereignty, land claims, education, clean water, etc.

          • Fred from BC says:

            “To me, it says though they strongly disagree with the hereditary chiefs, they respect their position.”

            To me, it says that there may be some extremists involved and that fear of possible violent action might be a consideration. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here; if the elected band councils really “respected” that position, it makes no sense to me that they wouldn’t come right out and say so.
            Why be silent?

  15. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    This two-day meeting with the Hereditary Chiefs is a good first step. But recognize from the outset that the federal and BC ministers may not be able to break the log jam. Remember that not all FNs view Bennett’s previous efforts on other files as entirely positive. There is a view that she simply doesn’t have the power to fully deliver. That’s why some FNs have been hesitant or not willing to meet with her in the past.

    The other thing we need to remember is that the PM and Premier have a special responsibility to personally roll up their sleeves and intervene in the event of a serious impasse. Otherwise, this entire effort will lack credibility in the minds of many watching this unfold.

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