Deceitful, deceptive, dishonest and dishonourable


Representatives from the Province of British Columbia and the federal government are meeting with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs behind closed doors. That is outrageous.

Reconciliation affects every person in Canada

Negotiations and decisions can have profound effects on provincial resource developments and our economy. The dispute between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and the federal government have nothing to do with pipelines. It is all about power and control of funds intended to support indigenous people. The chiefs and federal government representatives are not negotiating; they are a pack of wolves on the fringes of a flock of sheep discussing the lunch menu.

Reconciliation negotiations must be conducted in public.

There cannot be anything hidden in reconciliation negotiations or decisions. Every person, indigenous and non-indigenous is affected by the results. We have an open and public parliament to prevent our legislators from doing as they please in governance. Reconciliation decisions can have a profound effect on how we are governed and by whom.

Indigenous claims to land and rights must be dealt with in public, not behind closed doors. The federal government has no mandate to negotiate changes to the way we are governed if those changes have any effect on the powers and responsibilities set out in our constitution, which is the primary law in Canada and cannot be amended except under terms set out therein.

Honest and honourable claims must be taken seriously and neither party should have anything to hide from us.

Costs of providing services are high

The federal government is now asking for a $3.8 billion increase in services to indigenous people. That brings the costs of services to roughly $23.8 billion per year.
Reference here

 Let's put that in perspective. It is about $14,000 per indigenous person or $70,000 for a family of five. It is about $39.2 million for the 2,800 people living on land Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs claim.

That is not funding that indigenous persons receive.

Poverty levels on indigenous reserves clearly indicate otherwise. Those numbers include the costs of providing the services at the federal and local levels. The government is silent on the costs of operating its indigenous affairs departments. Indigenous chiefs are silent on the costs incurred in funding local operations.

The media is filled with misinformation about the dispute.

The media insists on referring to lands as if Wet'suwet'en land claims have been settled when they have not been settled. The media insists the dispute is over pipelines when it is not. The media fails to report on the indigenous people frustrated by hereditary chiefs crushing their opportunities for jobs, incomes and an economy in an area where economic opportunities are scarce.

The media does not report on the power struggles within the indigenous community or that the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs cannot be allowed to control government - indigenous relations for all of the 1.7 million indigenous people across Canada.

Unlawful blockades

The hereditary chiefs are not able to make threats, dictate terms or mount blockades while their land claims are unresolved. Their blockades are based on the fiction that their land claims will succeed, and our federal government is unwilling to take action to stop unlawful blockades.

ur Criminal Code is deficient in not making it clear that any person or group of persons blocking access to public infrastructure including public buildings and places, airports, roads, highways, streets, ports, railways and any other facility intended to provide services to the general public is unlawful and subject to fines of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 and/or jail sentences of not less than 30 days or more than 150 days per incident or occurrence.

No person or protest group, irrespective of cause, should be able to disrupt the peace and good order of our society. Giving in to blackmail through disruption is not acceptable.

The Province of British Columbia has no place at the table.

Indigenous affairs and lands set aside for indigenous people are a federal responsibility. Once negotiations are complete, the provincial regulation of resource development will be clearer. Horgan's heroes can only muddy the waters. Reconciliation covers all indigenous people from coast to coast to coast. No premier can make a deal that ultimately affects all people in Canada.

Ignore what they say, watch what they do

It is irritating to watch media coverage of "indigenous protestors" screaming about colonialism and the ills of free enterprise while piously claiming that they are the natural and sacred stewards of our air, land and water. These protestors leave their blockades and protests sites strewn with trash for others to clean up. Some stewards!
"Indigenous activists" bash corporations as the enemy of indigenous people but overlook the benefits they derive from public infrastructure and the consumer goods they have access to and use. Without free enterprise corporations they would not have access to any of that.

"Activists" have gone to great lengths to paint the Costal GasLink project as bad for indigenous people. They ignore the huge economic opportunities for the region. 2,000 - 2,500 construction jobs, $42 million annual in ongoing maintenance jobs, $21 million annual in property taxes and over $8 million in community investments (and growing) in northern BC. What will they replace that with? Further information here.  I cannot verify content of the linked article, and take no responsibility for content.

It provides insights not covered by our mainstream media, and strongly reinforces the need to conduct reconciliation negotiations in public.
The system is broken and needs to be repaired without further delays that only serve the vested interests of a few at the expense of us all. Expecting the bureaucrats at indigenous affairs to diligently dismantle the department that employs them is lunacy.

We must prepare to cast informed votes in the next election. Political parties are not credible or truthful during an election. Their sales pitches do not reflect their performance since the last election. That performance is what counts.

John Feldsted
Political commentator, consultant & strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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