Last week, the CBC Radio’s Metro Morning made space on their platform to bring forward the story of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council opposing the cutting down of trees at Osgoode Hall.
Lawyer Tim Gilbert of Gilbert’s Law, the HCCC’s current law firm of preference, opened the segment and the host then welcomed in HCCC Chief Roger Silversmith.
That is when the interview took a steep nose dive from competent explainer into an embarrassing example. The following is a transcript of the interview.
CBC: Why is it so important to you to see these trees stay up?
Silversmith: Because that’s our people. Our people are connected to the land and to the trees. And to see that little bit amount of trees destroyed for somebody’s project is really hurtful to our people.
CBC: Metrolinx does say this new subway line will serve hundreds of thousands of people. They say it will reduce crowding on subway lines. What’s the balance between protecting nature and making transit better here? Chief?
CBC: Chief Silversmith?
Silversmith: Yeah I kind of lost you there.
CBC: Oh sorry, what I was saying was that Metrolinx does say that this new subway line’s gonna serve hundreds of thousands of people. It’s gonna reduce crowding on subway lines so how do we find the balance. What’s the balance between protecting nature and better transit here?
Silversmith: The better thing to do is to deal with the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, the HDI so we can make these agreements go forward. Right now it’s only one-sided it seems to me and it’s not good to do things like that without engaging with the treaty people. Like our treaties are right there in Osgoode Hall, you know.
CBC: What kind of communication have you had with Metrolinx? What do you make of the communications you’ve had with the agency?
Silversmith: Well there was good engagement at the start. Metrolinx was working with HDI and signed an agreement with HDI already so we thought it was the start of a good thing and then somewhere in there, uh…
CBC: What happened?
Silversmith: I don’t know what happened.
CBC: How did things change?
Silversmith: *silence again* uhmmm… things changed. I’m not uhhmm… things changed on their side I guess because uhhh…they don’t want to be honourable to treaties to our people.
CBC: And exactly how? What indication have you received form them that they don’t want to be honourable to the treaties?
Silversmith: *silence, third time* well from what I understand they were supposed to be in talks with HDI and they went ahead and cut trees down without our consent.
This is when the show dies. The CBC host essentially gives up — lets a beat of dead air hang on the aftershocks of Chief Silversmith totally bombing the whole segment — and then pivots to HDIs lawyer for the story to be explained.
Add this to the list of comms disasters the HDI is facing when it comes to their “engagements” with Metrolinx.
Couldn’t the HCCC afford to get the Chief a one-pager so he wouldn’t stumble on live air and be left without any key facts or talking points here? It’s the most basic part of media training for politics: when you get the mic and you don’t like the question or don’t know the answer – you pull out your canned answer to tell the people what you want them to hear.
Instead — the Haudenosaunee people were again spoken for by a white lawyer.
What is HDI doing with the money they got from Metrolinx anyway? According to HDI lawyer/director Aaron Detlor the money was given to “daycares and health facilities” on Six Nations.
Former HDI corporate director Elvera Garlow chimed in on social media last week — saying HDI gives their education-focused engagement money to a Cayuga language daycare run by HCCC Secretary Leroy “Jock” Hill. And also to a culture and ceremony school run by HCCC Secretary Leroy “Jock” Hill on Sixth Line. And also pays for the HCCCs administrative offices which are, you guessed it, also run by HCCC Secretary Leroy “Jock” Hill.
If you do a basic google search on “engagement meetings” that HDI/HCCC is having with proponents you can see the direct conversations HCCC is having with developers are with Leroy “Jock” Hill, who is not a Chief. And he is also the signatory on all cease and desist letters where developers and municipalities are being directed to work with, and pay, HDI.
And now, at least according to Garlow, he is also on the receiving end of those payments.