Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Brazeau symbolic of Harper's indifference to First Nations
By: Don Marks
Posted: 1:00 AM
Senator Patrick Brazeau (CP)
The latest problems of Patrick Brazeau raise much bigger issues than his personal fall from grace and Senate reform. Brazeau represents all that is wrong with the Harper government's approach to First Nations.
First Nations have long claimed the Harper government doesn't take their concerns seriously and that they can't trust the prime minister. These feelings started when Brazeau was paraded out as the Harper government's "go-to boy" on all things "native".
At that time, Brazeau was "chief" of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; the derivative of the Native Council of Canada. Notwithstanding the fact CAP's credibility had been in decline for years, that its leaders were routinely re-installed by acclamation by a small control group of bureaucrats and that it loosely represented so-called non-status aboriginals in just a few provinces, the Harper government increased funding for CAP while decreasing funds for the official and accredited representatives of First Nations, the Assembly of First Nations.
Brazeau was completely in line with the Harper government's imposed policies of fiscal reform; a good Tory in all ways. First Nations people throughout the land decried Brazeau as an "apple" (red on the outside and white in the middle) but he was Harper's toady and the government was sticking with him.
Some concerns about misspending at CAP were dismissed by claiming they took place before Brazeau became chief, but with allegations of sexual harassment and drinking on the job swirling around, the Harper government decided to try and hide Brazeau in the Senate.
Despite the fact the Reform/Tories had campaigned against all things Senate, they tried to sell the idea Brazeau would provide value by providing them with expert advice about aboriginal affairs from the red chamber.
And Brazeau, ever the dutiful soldier, proceeded to criticize the Idle No More movement and make fun of Chief Theresa Spence. Unfortunately for the Harper government, Brazeau also got embroiled in charges he was falsely claiming his primary residence was back in Maniwaki, Que., which made him eligible for a Senate subsidy (as if his $132,000 a year stipend to set a record for not attending Senate meetings wasn't enough).
Then, on Thursday, he was arrested at his home in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa and charged with domestic violence and sexual assault.
Oh yeah, his salary is being garnisheed for falling behind in child support payments.
It is bad enough the Harper government trotted out such an individual as representative of First Nations and relied on him for advice on important issues; it was obvious to First Nations people the Harper government doesn't care enough about their issues to undertake even the most cursory research.
And it has continued to do this.
Everybody knows that changes were needed at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. So what does the Harper government do? It changes the name to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Anybody who knows anything about First Nations in Canada knows that the term "aboriginal" is on the way out. Yes, it is going to cost a helluva lot to re-print business cards and letterheads, let alone office signs, but the only reason most indigenous organizations are sticking with that name is because government is so choked up with it and that affects policies, programs and funding. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has gone so far as to say it won't do business with organizations that use the word aboriginal in their name.
Next move: The Harper government makes the request by First Nations to have the Governor General attend meetings appear naive and frivolous.
Yes, the Governor General has very limited power over Parliament, but the sacred treaties signed by First Nations were with the Crown, and the presence of the Governor General indicates the federal government, which represents the controversial Indian Act, is taking this process seriously and is willing to return to the treaty negotiation process seriously.
Impressions are important and if it looks like you don't care, then people will think you don't care.
The Harper government doesn't care because it appears not to care.
Don Marks is a Winnipeg writer and the editor of Grassroots News.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 11, 2013 A11
From: Terrance Nelson
Sent: February-11-13 9:27 PM
To: Gerald McIvor
Subject: Re: Redford says Pipelines will proceed to Quebec
To: Gerald McIvor
Subject: Re: Redford says Pipelines will proceed to Quebec
The attached article on Patrick Brazeau is written by Don Marks in the Winnipeg Free Press. The picture of Sandra Brand and Patrick Brazeau is attached. Sandra Brand is a Colombian who came to Canada in 2008. Brazeau is on a summary charge not an indictable offense. Perhaps a little favor from high up, a parting gift. Harper was given the gist of the 911 call made by Sandra. I am not sure if Sandra Brand has a Canadian citizenship but if she doesn't, she is likely to get one if she wants one. The 911 call is "privleged".
Brazeau's drinking history is well known and has been known for several years. Several incidents regarding women are known. There is very little sympathy for Brazeau amongst First Nations people in fact a lot of people are celebrating his fall. The Harper Government had been concerned with him for a while but he got in trouble when he went against the Harper Government in his public support for a National Inquiry on the Murdered and Missing Women. The cover for his actions seems to have disappeared since then.
I predict that Brazeau will beat the charges.
Sex, Politics and Power. A milder version but something like President Clinton and Monica. The Red Chamber doesn't get this type of attention on sexual stuff because most of the male Senators are asleep or in need of Viagra. I don't think the Tabloids in Britain and the United States even care about this one.
Harper survived the Colonel Russ Williams story. The pilot for Defence Minister Peter Mckay, killed two women, raped many women and broke into homes of women. He operated right in front of the Harper Government for a long time. A serial killer has just been caught in Ottawa but Ottawa has a lot of stories of M.Ps and Senators and Bureaucrats that never get in the news because the media refuse to investigate or file stories on the "private" lives of the powerful politically connected
If a National Inquiry into the 600 Murdered and Missing Native women in Canada ever was done, a lot of information would come out in public, something that many in Ottawa fear.
These are the same people who condemn the treatment of Iranian women. When I was in Iran, I saw many women who were part of all government departments; still I realize that every society can improve. Seventy percent of the University students in Iran are women. I wonder if other people in the world would condemn us for how women are treated in Canada. In Manitoba, the government licenses alcohol, gambling and cigarettes. They profit by hundreds of millions of dollars every year from all the "sin" taxes. To help bring in customers to the beer parlours where gambling is done, the Province also licenses nude dancing. What do Iranians think of our liberated women? Is it liberation or exploitation to be a nude dancer? Aren't Canadians great? They get to tell Iranians how they should treat their women. I think if enough women in Iran are educated, they will create the changes they want without us trying to force them to live like Canadians.
Brazeau is finished but the story of the 600 Murdered and Missing Native women is an unfinished story.The 600 Murdered and Missing native women died in as much terror as women stoned to death in Iran or raped on a bus in India but no National Inquiry will be called by this government. Whether the native women's groups put pressure on Harper on the Brazeau issue remains to be seen. Brazeau, the "scout" who was riding against his own people will now discover that once the white man tires of your services, you get to join the "Indians" on the Brazeau ride back to the reservation. Crazy guy, he may have pissed away the next 35 years as a Senator.