“True leaders don’t give consoling answers, they take constructive actions.” ~Amit Kalantri

From UK media today:

“One of British Columbia’s most influential First Nations chiefs has turned down an invitation to participate in a reconciliation ceremony with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to Canada, describing the symbolic ceremony as a “public charade” that papers over the Canadian government’s failure to keep its promises to indigenous peoples.”

~snip~

The staff is currently adorned with three rings, representing the province, Canada and the link to the UK. Prince William is expected to add a fourth ring – engraved with eagle feathers and a canoe – that will symbolise First Nations in the province.

“Reconciliation has to be more than empty symbolic gestures,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs in explaining his decision to decline the royal invitation.

He had been asked to hand the ring to Prince William and invite the royal to affix the ring on the Black Rod. Last week he and the chiefs of the 115 First Nations represented by his organisation decided it would not be appropriate to attend or participate in the event. “The Chiefs-in-Assembly just didn’t feel that it was appropriate to feed into that public illusion that everything is okay.”

When the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, swept into government nearly a year ago, there was a sense of great hope within the indigenous community, Phillip said. Amid crushing levels of indigenous poverty, sky-high suicide rates and thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women, Trudeau had campaigned on a renewed relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples. He vowed to repeal legislation that failed to respect aboriginal and treaty rights, committed to closing the wide gap in education funding for indigenous Canadians and pledged to address the lack of clean water and dilapidated, overcrowded housing that plagues many First Nations across Canada, among other promises.

“Yet that hasn’t happened,” said Phillip. Instead, the Liberal government has repeatedly ignored a ruling by the Canadian human rights tribunal that found the government was racially discriminating against aboriginal youth by underfunding the welfare system. Its first budget – billed by the government as making “historic investments” in indigenous communities – will not deliver the bulk of the funding until after 2019. “We’re sick and tired of the lofty, eloquent rhetoric on the part of Prime Minister Trudeau,” said Phillip.
A similar situation has played out at the provincial level. “The British Columbia government has proven to be absolutely adversarial to the rights and interests of First Nation people in the province,” said Phillip, pointing to the province’s efforts to fast-track the Site C hydroelectric dam, a C$9bn (US $7bn) project that will see an area roughly equivalent to about 5,000 rugby fields flooded in north-east British Columbia. A campaign launched globally by Amnesty International last month calls on the federal and British Columbian governments to withdraw all permits and approvals for Site C, over concerns that the mega-project tramples on the rights of indigenous peoples in northeast British Columbia.

Philip said the hypocrisy of taking part in a reconciliation ceremony was laid bare last week as the organisation’s chiefs gathered for their annual general meeting. “There were tears and gut-wrenching first-hand accounts of the tragedies in our communities. At same time we’re asked to participate in a reconciliation ceremony that for all intents and purposes would suggest there is a very harmonious and robust relationship between the First Nation people and provincial and federal governments,” he said. “And that’s an illusion. We decided that for us it wasn’t appropriate to participate in such a public charade.”

He wasn’t sure if other aboriginal leaders would participate in the event and stressed My tathe decision was not meant to disrespect anyone. “I apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused with our decision.”

 

The entire press release from the UBCIC can be read here: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/royalreconciliation

 

Now here’s my view.

I was frankly overwhelmed when I read this. Let me tell you why… and in all honesty it’s a bit sad that such moral courage is so rare to see in leaders these days, that it leaves me rather amazed by it all.

I was in the courtroom the day the ruling came down on the Site C campers at historic Rocky Mountain Fort, an entire part of this saga that many new to the Site C debacle are completely unaware of. You can read the posts here for some back history https://lailayuile.com/the-case-to-stop-site-c-construction-links-news/

Grand Chief walks the walk. He is as unpretentious and real as it gets. I saw his reaction then and this is a man who feels and thinks very deeply. And clearly this was not an easy decision when faced with social and political pressures to partake in a ceremony clearly designed to show that things are different now…

Only they aren’t. And Grand Chief didn’t partake in the ceremony for the reasons so eloquently mentioned in the press release and the story above.

I wish we had a premier in BC with this kind of substance. And after an immense amount of reflection today I don’t think there is a leader of a political party in BC today.. and clearly not our new Prime Minister….that has this kind of moral courage either. I see a lot of selfies and photo ops but little substance. Little direction. So very little of that ‘real change’ Canadians were promised. Too many are distracted by the celebrity cachet of his looks and smile…and its getting old.

Nevertheless, Stewart Phillip gives me faith and hope… not for our elected leaders, but for those unsung among us who are working hard to stop what is wrong and make things right. Grand Chief, in not taking part in this ceremony while so much strife and as Jody Wilson Raybould once said, running roughshod over First Nations is happening… shone a light on all that is fake, all that is wrong and all that government will do to pretend it is all ok.

In fact…the ceremony went on and although Justin Trudeau has tweeted little of the Royal visit ( you know how he hates the spotlight) BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald tweeted this tonight:

Imagine that. BC Hydro, who has a ruling against Rocky Mountain Fort campers, who is suing, in addition to the campers that included Treaty 8 women exercising their treat rights,a woman who simply collected donations of food in a freezer on her private property for the campers, was represented at the reconciliation ceremony reception tonight.  They are tossing rocks in the river, logged acres years before it was needed and are running roughshod over the First Nations most directly impacted.

If that doesn’t tell you how out of touch this government is…. nothing will.  Anything for the photo op.

Now imagine if the elected members of political parties who were opposed to this project in opposition to their parties stance ( Jody Wilson-Raybould) , who wanted to see real change, actually found the courage to stand up and say ‘I will not support what my party has done’.

It would be a game changer.

 

16 thoughts on ““True leaders don’t give consoling answers, they take constructive actions.” ~Amit Kalantri

  1. nonconfidencevote

    Trudeau, Clark, et al….
    None of these people have the integrity of the Grand Chief’s left toenail clipping..

    Speaking of which.

    I’m amazed that Christy Clark wasnt there……wasnt invited?
    Or was she too busy taking Hamish back to remedial “Formal Manners Class 101” to teach him how to keep his hands out of his pockets while “on stage” at public events involving TV cameras and Royalty.
    Must have been quite a dilemma for the Preem but I’m sure her BFF Chris Gailus,
    ( Provincial press secretary in waiting), gave her sound advice.

    Like

  2. It’s been noticeable for years; almost all the progressive-for-the-people leadership in this country and province for the past decade or longer has come from First Nations. We have spokespeople for institutions and corporations, of course, but most statements of leadership, courage, vision, dreams, hopes and even down-to-earth plans have been made by First Nations. It is they who protest, win court battles and stop pipelines. It is they who get their message out. The only time the rest of us spoke up was to defeat a tax. I do not like, love or support people based on their ethnicity but this is obvious: First Nations are doing a helluva job for themselves and for the majority of us as well. I’d swap CC, her party and even a few first round draft picks for Grand Chief in a heartbeat.

    Like

  3. Debbie McBride

    Prior to the visit I had sent a message to Michael Smyth of the Province wondering how Clark would finagle her way into the massive media coverage generated by the royal visit. Let’s give her, Global TV and Chris Gaius credit for being very creative in giving Clark her royal associated photo op. I had never thought They would use son as a prop but hey, the Liberals have dumped a lot of money for ads on Global. A politician and her hacks gotta do what they gotta do

    Like

  4. Salal

    Christy’s hanging around the Royals this trip is an embarrassment to herself and her party. My May 9th, 2017 wish? If we can’t put a new party in power can we at least remove this unqualified individual? Her disrespect for the law and for taxpayers should be reason enough. Her disrespect for our environment should seal the deal.

    Like

  5. Salal

    Federal government approves liquefied natural gas project on B.C. coast with 190 conditions
    Project would build a liquefied natural gas terminal on coast and pipeline spanning province
    By John Paul Tasker, Margo McDiarmid, CBC News Posted: Sep 27, 2016 4:36 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 27, 2016 10:49 PM ET

    Can civil disobedience be in our future? Government won’t listen to scientific reasoning….what else is left to us? Justin and his sunshine band has been bought. Up next? The TPP = democracy in the rear view mirror.

    Like

  6. Evil Eye

    I said on another blog Trudeau the Younger and his cabinet just did what their puppet masters told them to do. In Canada today, those who donate to political parties do it as an investment to ensure that what they want will happen.

    Photo-op has taken it a step further by taking $50K of political donations as a salary and those donating know that a portion of their money that they donated ends up in the Premier’s pocket!

    Now this bit of tawdry Canadian political fact over shadows the fact that both the federal and provincial governments treat the First nations” peoples (I wish they change that) as nobodies, with no agendas except collecting money. Treaty rights are to be ignored because government does not care and until the courts give direct orders to government, they will be still ignored.

    I am afraid that the only way to change things is massive civil disobedience and maybe more active disobedience because our elected officials are deathly afraid when the “peons carry pitchforks”, as it makes them look “not Canadian like” internationally. Why do you think the courts came down so hard on the Vancouver rioters, they were told to do so as the elites of Canada do not like the peons revolting.

    It is time to take off the gloves and have some old time Canadian nastiness on the front lines as it is the only way government will listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. e.a.f.

    Stewart Phillips did the right thing. Why pretend everything is all nice and fuzzy when its not. First Nations are being ignored as are their needs. Their rights are being ridden over. Things aren’t being addressed as they should be, so might as well just be open about it. Let the world know this is not a nice place if you are First Nations.

    Like

  8. The fact that Evil Eye failed to point out is that the $50k that Photo Op benefits from the ‘donations’ is in fact donated by the taxpayer. Those ‘donations’ are tax free, meaning that the donors receive a tax benefit from them and we the tax payer are on the hook! Makes me shake with rage when I discover I’M paying for those First Nations embellished frocks that adorns herself with.

    Like

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