Dear PM Harper:
Today is the last day of 2012, a day to wrap up old business and so on January 1st, a new year can commence without the baggage of the last.
I am asking you again to set up a meeting with the Chiefs as per Chief Spence request. This request is imminently reasonable and within your duties to do so.
You had a Crown First Nations gathering in 2012 to begin the dialogue, a second Crown First Nations gathering in 2013 makes sense, to continue the dialogue, what was done right, what can be done better? What is the action plan for this year? Tangible goals that everyone can see and work towards and then at the end of 2013, you can say in good conscience, that we had made efforts to improve relations with First Nations. If you had made any progress in this year, Chief Spence and Ray Robinson would not be on their 21st and 20th days respectively, of a hunger strike and willing to die for their people. An important part of any evaluation of progress is how the other party perceives that progress.
Relations with First Nation are critical in this country due to our rights which are enshrined in the Constitution Act and the legal duties of consultation and accommodation as per the Supreme Court of Canada's rulings. Your economic agenda is dependent on First Nations relations and inclusion in decisions being made which affect our rights, our way of life and in BC, the issue of aboriginal title. First Nations in BC are opposed to pipelines and the likes of this organized opposition has not been seen before and will only increase as public support grows.
First Nations are taking action in courts on Bill 38 and 45 which of course are now laws. First Nations are bringing action against the Canada China Treaty and against other major projects in this country. You can operate in uncertainty with these court cases slowing down development or you can chose to find ways to work with First Nations on how things can proceed in a more collaborative fashion.
First Nations are taking to the streets, the malls, the rail lines and highways as a means to voicing their frustrations at the status quo and being pushed into a corner by the imposition of laws over which we have not had a meaningful say. This will continue and many, many events are being planned.
First Nations are using international mechanisms to bring complaints to the United Nations about Canada's conduct. Social media and the internet have reach many thousands of people world wide who know of Chief Spence and the IdleNoMore movement. Support, interest, opinions are growing and you are not being seen in a good light.
We are using many mechanisms to fight our cause and will use whatever else we can find to do so but I can tell you that many of use would rather be using that energy to advancing good governance, economic development, saving our languages and culture, improving out education systems, etc., etc., etc.
The implications of Chief Spence dying because you would not establish a meeting with the Chiefs which is a good move on your part anyway, are beyond imagination.
No one can predict the backlash from the grass roots or the leadership. This country could turn into chaos. Or it may not, no one knows or can predict. I do know the IdleNoMore movement will only continue to grow and strengthen and the blame of her death would lie with you. Another black mark against Canada.
I do know that the relations between First Nations and your government will be irreparably altered and may never recover. Is it worth your being stubborn to tear down the relations you have with First Nations for the sake of not acceding to the wishes of Chief Spence?
I watched Ghandi again and the man in charge of India said, "do not arrest Ghandi, I do not want to make a martyr out of him". I say do not let Chief Spence die, you do not want to make a hero out of her, because she is and will always be the symbol of the people's movement. She is the one that helped inflame a fire that was already burning. Something large has been unleashed in our people, like I have never witnessed before. Let us turn that energy into positive change and the desire to make the changes we need in our communities.
I appeal to you on this, the last day of 2012 to please set up the meetings with the Chiefs and hope that such a meeting can create a working relationship that will advance the social, economic, governance and cultural aspirations of First Nations people, which will only benefit the rest of Canada.
As tensions build across this country regarding Chief Spence, I wrote another e mail to Prime Minister Harper which I am sharing with all of you and hope that every First Nation Person, every Canadian, every leader of any party, group, every person within this world that see the injustices within Canada will add their e mails, phone calls and use of media and social media to appeal to Harper to set up a meeting as per Chief Spence's ask. I thank those in leadership and everyone who have sent in e mails, made phone calls, wrote blogs, etc. support Chief Spence and the IdleNoMore Movement. Together we can change this world.
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