Justin Trudeau’s personal campaign slogan repeated this phrase: “… there is no relationship more important to me than Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people”.
But to date, the prime minister’s incompetent measures to address Indigenous issues have spent more money on public relations misleading the Canadian public, than what is actually spent on solving critical Indigenous issues.
In 2015, Trudeau planned an immediate public inquiry on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Trudeau’s Liberal government started the inquiry by handpicking commissioners, directing the terms of reference but failed to include a national police review.
The MMIWG inquiry has had high employee turnover — including losing a commissioner, bungling regional meetings, and triggering family survivor angst with ill equipped mainstream supports for a limited time period. The final act of desperation for this inquiry debacle was to ask for an extension.
Trudeau then spent time unilaterally framing ten principles that would direct the thinking of “nation-to-nation” talks. Following those ten principles, Trudeau split the Department of Indian Affairs into the Department of Indigenous Services Canada and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
One sided principles developed by the Liberal government without First Nation input is not exercising good faith or forging a “new relationship”.
Now, Liberals have tabled two pieces of Indigenous legislation that will assist, support or “save” our First Nation languages.
In the Indigenous Languages Act, federal control stays in the position of an appointed “commissioner”. The act includes wording to domesticate the international standing of our languages to come under the Canadian government and their interpretation of Section 35 of the Canadian constitution.
As time runs out in the first parliamentary session of 2019, Trudeau now wants child and family services (CFS) legislation passed through the House of Commons — effectively sidestepping the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s decision that the Federal government has discriminated in funding for off/on reserve foster care parents.
Trudeau’s “Indigenous” CFS legislation will maintain provincial controls and not equalize foster care payments for on/off reserve parents as ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
The Liberal government has denied repeated requests to equalize the funding, stating they need time to study this issue.
While “studying the CFS issue”, Trudeau’s government has been waiting on Indian Affairs bureaucrats to develop a new legislation that will continue to scoop First Nation children away from indigenous parents. This will ensure that family service networks continue to have “Canadian” employment while keeping genocide going in the industry of “taking care of Indians”.
First Nations have culturally relevant and millennia old systems that parent and nurture children. Jurisdiction of children is exclusive to each First Nation. Hasn’t the residential school experience shown that taking Indian children costs more for bureaucrats and politicians who attempt to better our millennia old practices?
Sadly Trudeau is not alone in this work to dupe Canadians and the Indigenous people themselves. Trudeau has found a willing partner in the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde to fool the Canadian people, the Indian Act chiefs and their bands of Indians.
Trudeau’s measures continue to build colonial structures (forts) with Indians standing around these forts or waiting on the federal government and the Indian Act for their sovereign rights, title and funds.
Russ Diabo recently stated; “It is the fiftieth anniversary of the announcement of Trudeau’s (the elder) 1969 White Paper policy.”
Meanwhile, the legacy of the original White Paper continues in current policies and legislation albeit in a piecemeal approach from this Liberal government. Fifty years later and Trudeau the younger is still brandishing recognizable colonial tactics.
Thankfully, Indigenous people understand the rhetoric, false promises and the repackaged policies that are the second coming of the same approach.
This approach is a national failure that enables an ongoing Indigenous genocide through poverty and other social ills.
Now we see that everything is not fine. Trudeau’s one shining Indigenous cabinet member, MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, was demoted from her position as Minister of Justice and Attorney General over to Minister of Veterans Affairs. Now there is scandal circulating that Wilson-Raybould may have been moved because of a failure to follow through on a request of the Prime Minister’s Office — to stay charges of fraud and corruption against a multi million dollar engineering and construction corporation from Quebec called SNC-Lavalin.
On Tuesday morning, Wilson-Raybould resigned and secured a lawyer to assess what she can and cannot say about the accusations.
Canadians need to critically think about this. The First Nations at Unisto’ten are land defenders trying to keep the dying petro-industry from killing the land and waters of this land. Is this purpose serving the public good? Are these people then, not working for the global good?
Trudeau’s agenda for pushing through archaic industries must be stopped. The federal purchase of the TransMountain pipeline took the democratic will of the people and replaced it with the corporate agenda of a few billionaires.
Trudeau and other pipeline proponents have quoted the “rule of law” to defend their position in tearing up the camp at Unist’oten. Where is this rule of law when there are two sets of payments for foster parents on reserve and off reserve? Where is this rule of law when there are ethical issues in the background of demoting an indigenous Minister in Trudeau’s government?
In 2019, it is time for the actual greater good to care about the environment, and to invest in the future of these lands and waters. That means returning to the ancestral teachings that sustained this land for generations. That means listening and adopting Indigenous teachings instead of legislating them into oblivion. We are not taking the legislative trinkets that will assimilate or terminate our people. We are the stewards and first people of this land and we will continue to fight.