Canada browsing by category


Are we Ready for Change?

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Peace Arch (Courtesy of The Province)

The lines to enter the United States never seem to get shorter.

Canadians queue up patiently along the highways at the border to be vetted for entry into The States for their milk, cheese, gas and a few bits and bobs they can find in Bellingham. A Canadian invasion is gentle and always ends in the dairy section. 

Life is imperceptibly different on either side of “The Line” to the cheap-gas commuter. Just don’t speed, because the cops are ruthless down there.  

We watch CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC and tut-tut at the polarization that has evolved over time and take note that the Land of the Free isn’t so free anymore.  

The War on Drugs is tearing communities apart while the drugs themselves continue to ravage across big and small towns and cities; gun violence is at an all-time high.  

Day trippers from Langley and Surrey might not see the differences but head on down the I-5 a thousand miles and then inland a few thousand miles more and it will be ever-more apparent. 

The Black Lives Matter movement exists because seemingly, there are places down there where black lives don’t matter at all.  

For those who line up to cross into the United States at the Peace Arch crossing just a handful of metres from the salt water of the Pacific Ocean, they pass beside a white stone shed-like structure that straddles the border itself. It is, “The Peace Arch”. 

Dedicated in 1921 by the first sitting President of the United States ever to visit Canada Warren Harding revealed the inscriptions etched into the inside walls of the arch: 

May these gates never be closed” 

The iron gates mounted below the inscription are bolted open- as if to say that they never can nor ever shall be closed.  

Other inscriptions on the monument read, “Born of a Common Mother“, and “Dwelling Together in Harmony“. 

The former alluded to the United Kingdom as the primary source of our first immigrants and values while the latter was best described by Prime Minister Trudeau-the-Senior as a ‘mouse and an elephant’ living together, where the mouse has to always be wary of the elephant lest it be trampled. 

These three inscriptions best sum up the quixotic relationship we have with our continental brethren to the South. 

With the election of Donald Trump, things have changed. The United States banned certain Muslim non-residents. The USA has unilaterally withdrawn from global initiatives it was spearheading just two weeks ago. It is building walls to its (other) closest neighbour instead of leading the charge to tear them down- as Reagan did in 1989 in Berlin. 

The United States is retrenching itself, collapsing under the weight of its own corruption, delusional paranoia, and civil strife. 

Figuratively, those gates at the Peace Arch are inching closed. Yesterday it was to Muslims. We shall see what tomorrow brings but the newfound trajectory doesn’t look good for others yet to be a target of Donald Trump. 

The United States has changed. But really, has the rest of the world? Must it? 

Canada cannot afford to retrench the way the US has. Strategically we learned a long time ago our place in global affairs both politically and in trade: we are a Middle Power and a trading nation.

We must get along with others, playing the role of broker to ensure the balance of power remains balanced while trading to ensure our exports continue fuel our economy. It’s why we are as active as we are at the UN and why we sign all these free-trade deals despite parochial or populist views that they are detrimental to our well-being. 

As the United States goes through the painful contortions of a country so terribly out of balance we cannot help but start to notice that it is not the same “Peaceful light on the hill” it once was.  

It’s time we recognized there is opportunity in all this unrest. Business- especially international business- abhors uncertainty.  

Just as the banks and others are being courted by Paris and Frankfurt from London as a response to Brexit, so we should be letting businesses and NGOs in the United States that do global work that Canada is a great place to move their operations.  

After all, why should global trade stop just because the United States is having an existential meltdown?

As more and more unilateral immigration restrictions and punitive tariffs are enacted by Washington, and as violence escalates (and I believe all three of these will happen) then we need to be ready to respond to protect the global economy and the values we cherish and benefit by. 

The physical location of the United Nations may be up for grabs no less as a siege mentality seeps into every nook and cranny of the American psyche. Even those Americans with a global outlook will have to turn inward to counter the rising xenophobia as it rears ever more prominently in civil society there.  

Never mind that the “American Dream” is more attainable here in Canada. Some of the workers involved with business and NGOs in the United States will be moving for their emotional, if not physical safety.  

Eventually some of those same organizations these people worked for will have to move as well, so why not here? 

These physical, people-employing companies and NGOs will bring outside money and philanthropy with them- not to mention the jobs their fleeing workers left behind- the same jobs they will be looking for when they get here.  

Might this get the attention and thus the ire of Donald Trump? Probably. But by being steadfastly pluralist in our politics, liberal on human rights, free-minded on trade, while preservationist with the environment, and above all multilateralist in our approach, we can sell these Canadian traits to all our other trading partners looking to keep the trading door open with North America. After all, they still value these traits despite the biggest player now closing itself off from the world.

At the same time, we can reach out to Americans who still want to trade with the rest of the world. They can move here to take advantage of our excellent trading relationships we have fostered and no doubt will work hard to protect. We could be the new light on the hill.  

The United States is a big market, for sure. But 350 million people is still a fraction of the 6.75 billion people not in the United States to trade with. 

We must look past our convenient proximity of the United States to economies and societies that still desire trade and good global relations. For example, Latin and South America’s 500 million or so, including Mexico so squarely in Donald Trump’s sights, would be a great start.

The global genie is out of the bottle and won’t be put back in. By choice now, the United States doesn’t want to play at this level anyway so Donald Trump’s wrath upon us would be diminished considerably. 

Even with massive change that has happened in the past where whole empires collapse and new ones form. The same happens in wartime between non-combatants: trade and emigration continue unabated. 

But to reap the benefit in all this uncertainty, we must set out a strategy to let everyone know that the centre of gravity in international commerce and relations is shifting.  

Being at the nexus of the new Technology Revolution but importantly being the non-American centre in the Silicon Valley, Seattle, Vancouver axis is a good launching point. 

Being very international in our makeup and outlook, equidistant from Europe and Asia with some of the best international airline connections in North America already and a temperate climate to boot, we are perfectly suited to become the next modern Geneva or Venice.

I see a day where the lines past the Peace Arch will be longer heading North.  

Those lines will be filled with U-Haul vans and families looking to fulfill their dreams to live in peace and prosperity.  

We can react with our usual complaints of fast growth and housing shortages. Or else we can proactively strategize; ready ourselves and yes, encourage Americans and others discouraged by the retrenchment of the once great United States to come here and share their prosperity here with us.

What about the $90,000?

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Why did Nigel Wright give a gift of $90,000 to a sitting senator instead of buy this pretty little house listed on in Maxville, ON for $89,999?. (Listing online on June 8th, 2013)


Regarding the Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright imbroglio, while the media are off chasing after various players and bystanders in this rotting, festering midden of fat cats and gentlemanly winks and nods, I can’t seem to let go of the motivation behind that $90,000.00 cheque.

Who in their right mind (or is that Wright mind) would give $90,000 to a sitting senator without expectations of a pay-off down the road? Who the heck can afford to give 11% shy of 100K to anybody else without expectations somewhere down the road?

Is the Prime Minister’s now-former Chief of Staff so utterly filthy rich and therefore out of touch with ordinary Canadians, that from his savings as well as his personal income as Chief of Staff in the PMO he can afford to give $90,000 away?

So I’m trying to keep all this straight. A businessman. A lawyer. Someone with great economic and financial acumen. If he wanted to maximize his nest-egg, or his retirement, or advance his ‘buy-a-house-in-the-Cayman-Islands’ fund, might he not want to invest his $90,000 in something that would give him a return?

How about some real estate?

While you might not be able to buy a house in Vancouver or Toronto for $90,000, you certainly can buy a house in Maxville, Ontario for that much.

Take this modest but lovely 1,350 square foot 2-bedroom house that sits on over a 1/4 acre of land in Maxville Ontario. It’s only 77 kilometres, or a 52-minute drive from Parliament Hill. Here’s the Google link to show just how easy and accessible it is.

Yes, there are places much larger and closer just across the Ottawa River in Québec but let’s just keep the real estate in Ontario where Nigel Wright is from, presumably where he already knows and understands all the real estate rules and laws.

Remember- this was not a loan. Nobody has said this is a loan. It was a gift. A present. No strings attached, supposedly.

Imagine yourself going to the Christmas tree and finding a box under it with a cheque inside, in your name, for $90,000. No strings attached. Just a gift. A present. How cool would that be?

Now unless your dad was Warren Buffet, the first thing you’d ask is who the hell is rich enough to give me $90,000? The second question would be, “Why me?” followed eventually by, “What does this person want from me?”

And then, of course, you’d cash it quick before it might bounce. ‘Cause who knows- you might be in the midst of an audit of your expense accounts and you need just that exact amount of money to cover a few ‘errors’ they found along the way…

…Unless you were honourable enough to say, “No, this isn’t right. I screwed up in my accounts and it’s up to me to clean up this mess- alone.” Where upon you’d rip the cheque up into a million pieces and throw them into the yule log fire.

But I digress…

Seriously, I don’t care how rich you are, $90,000 isn’t exactly chump change for anyone. Even Bill Gates would be looking for a tax receipt if he were to give a “gift” to a charitable organization for that much. He ain’t no fool.

So what’s up with Nigel Wright? What makes him so incredibly generous to want to underwrite a sitting senator already suckling at the trough of patronage par excellence, courtesy of your tax dollars and mine.

While Nigel Wright has resigned his post as Chief of Staff in the PMO, he is not off the hook. What was in it for him? Surely he didn’t cut a personal cheque out of the kindness of his heart.

I’m not in Ottawa. I’m not in Toronto. I have no access to the gated communities where Nigel Wright may well be sequestered. I’d sure like to see some reports from journalists much closer to the source of this $90,000.

Go pound on some doors. Rob Ford is a distraction for crying out loud. Go camp out on Wright’s doorstep. At least there you’ll be able to change the course of history. Canadians have a right to know.

‘Deep Throat’ apparently told Bob Woodward to “Just follow the money.” as dramatized in the 1976 movie All the President’s Men. The underlying stories are too similar to overlook the rest of the quote which I have paraphrased here: Because despite the myths surrounding the PMO, the people there aren’t too bright after all, now that things have gotten out of hand.

Please, someone do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknessess, Opportunities, Costs) analysis of this gift. There is much, much more to this than meets the eye.

What was/is Nigel Wright expecting in exchange for his supposedly benevolent, altruistic act of good will? The man gave a gift of $90,000 to a sitting senator!

Would you give even $900.00 to a sitting senator making more than twice your annual wages? How about to your neighbour who might be in the middle of a Revenue Canada audit? Somehow, I think your answer would be, “Sorry, neighbour, but your issues are your issues. Your financial mess doesn’t trump my own desire to get through to the end of the month.”

So why would Nigel Wright cut a personal cheque for $90,000 to Mike Duffy when he could have invested that money in a pretty little house in Maxville, in Eastern Ontario?

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Follow the money. It’s the path to the end of this horrendous, despicable government.

* * * * *

Here’s an image of the full listing for the house Nigel Wright could have bought as an investment instead of giving Senator Mike Duffy $90,000.

A sad prediction

Friday, January 18th, 2013

As I mentioned in my speech at the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings, I doubt that any of our efforts will have any effect.

I am utterly convinced that even if the Joint Review Panel decides that the project should not be allowed at all, the Stephen Harper Government will bully its way ahead anyway.

The Conservatives have stacked the deck of cards. In their patently undemocratic omnibus bills, they have changed many laws that would have once protected us from such fantastical and sinister projects, rendering them toothless. This project is going to go ahead no matter how bad this looks. After all, who really cares, right?

The thing is, Harper really has this wrong.

I foresee a War in the Woods the likes of which Canada has never seen. Survey pegs will disappear in the middle of the night. Trees by the thousands will be spiked. Equipment will be vandalized. Lives will be threatened and some, I fear, will even be lost.

The police will become involved, not as peacekeepers but rather as enforcers of Harper’s heinous laws and when they fail to achieve the goal that Enbridge wants, the military will be brought in as re-inforcements.

There will be ambushes on both sides. Harper will wish he had kept the long-arm registry.

Armed helicopters will patrol the surveyed right-of-way during the surveying, construction and subsequent operation of the line. It won’t be martial law but it will get pretty damned close in parts of this province that is supposed to be “True North Strong and Free”.

Hundreds will go to jail. Thousands will be vilified by Harper’s allies. Millions will be involved, one way or another.

British Columbians, fresh from an unprecedented fight over the HST are not shy to another fight to remind our governments that they work for us. The entire Enbridge fiasco, combined with any one of the myriad of sleights that British Columbians have had to deal with from the Conservative government has the potential of bringing us together in ways never seen before.

The solidarity against this project is only going to grow stronger and British Columbian’s resolve to stop this folly is only going to become more entrenched.

Do not be surprised if there is even a move made to have British Columbia secede from the Canadian confederation over this issue.

It’s extreme and it’s not pretty.

But unless we see a change in approach, I’m sorry to say it’s my sad prediction.

Speech to the Northern Gateway Environmental Panel

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Brian RevelToday I will be speaking before the Enbridge Northern Gateway Environmental Panel at the Sheraton Wall Hotel.

Below is the text of my 10-minute speech. Not much allowance for breathing but I’ll do my best to get it all in.

As always, I welcome your comments.

* * * * *

We have all heard the fable of the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg. Welcome to Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Welcome to the conversation that decides whether Canada is going to sacrifice Canada’s pristine coastal rainforest and grasslands of its Interior Plateau to sell its oil to China.

Members of the Board, before I begin my substantive points, I’d like to start by talking about two gorillas that are here sitting in this room.

First, I have serious reservations regarding this consultative process: It feels like these hearings are being treated as a necessary evil to get the public out of the way so the government and business agenda can go ahead regardless. The sterility of these public hearings has alienated the people from the process. And that, I am sorry to say undermines your credibility and weakens your authority.

The second gorilla is the fact that the people of British Columbia, including aboriginal peoples, are sovereign. Irrespective of your decision, opposition to this project is widespread. Battle hardened War in the Woods activists are ready. And the general population, fresh from standing up to our own provincial government that ran roughshod over us by imposing the HST, is not shy to another fight to remind our government that it works for us. Not only are British Columbians sovereign on their territory, there is strong solidarity and cohesion amongst otherwise disparate groups. I would strongly suggest to this panel that it heed the implications behind these facts.

Enough of the gorillas.

The purpose of these public hearings is to take the public interest into account.

Public Interest is defined as what is in the interest of the population.

Lets start with the population’s environmental interest:

The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment has said that Canadians need to make more of an effort to minimize Greenhouse Gas emissions. At best, Canadians will only be able to achieve this goal at the margin. What good is it for 30-sum-odd million Canadians to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and take transit whenever they can when we’re about to sell literally billions of barrels of oil to the billion-strong China over whom we have no jurisdiction to regulate?

How about the population’s economic interest:

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and others including Mark Carney at the Bank of Canada and economists at the Conference Board of Canada have all stated that we need to improve our productivity and become more innovative. And herein lies another contradiction: building pipelines and sending unprocessed bitumen overseas is not innovative. It’s just more of the same hewing of wood, drawing of water and, may I add, sucking of oil, that we have always done.

More immediately, why are we even considering selling our oil to a foreign country when we are still importing oil from Venezuela and elsewhere? Why isn’t Canadian oil being sent across Canada first?

What makes equally little sense is that there are people here in Vancouver who unknowingly purchase gas at local gas stations that is refined at Cherry Point, Washington.

Further, this region is facing a similar debate over tankers ferrying jet fuel from Cherry Point. So I ask this to you, the face of the environmental conscience of the entire energy industrial complex this country: What kind of insanity might you be thinking about perpetuating here?

Then there is the population’s political interest:

I know that there are people who share grave reservations about trading with the United States. Regardless of their concerns, I don’t understand why our federal government is so intent on getting this deal done with the Chinese. Yes, the Americans are down right now, their economy is in tatters. But they won’t be down forever.

And given a choice of the two giants I’d rather invest in, I’d rather be feathering my bed with the Americans. For all their faults, American values are much closer to ours. Their government is much more transparent and much more democratic.

Now I’d like to take a quick look at the project and the company that proposes it:

I am very wary of Enbridge. It seems to me that it comes across as a shifty card dealer in a shady casino. Everything it has done thus far has been a public relations exercise aimed to placate the population.

After being called out for pretending the Douglas Channel was a simple fjord, Enbridge says it will have ships with the most modern navigation equipment.

Do the people at Enbridge realize that by just saying that they will have ships with the most modern navigation equipment they insult Canadians’ intelligence?

A couple of cases in point: One year ago the day before yesterday the Costa Concordia ran aground.

Also the day before yesterday, the final chapter in the sinking of BC Ferries’ Queen of the North opened with the trial of Navigation Officer Karl Lilgert. The ship was the pride of the fleet. Sailed by British Columbians every day of their long careers in their home waters, it still managed to run aground.

And most recently, on December 9th, the MV Cape Apricot, bulk carrier smashed through the docks here at the Robert’s Bank Coal Terminal.

Notably, it was the first such accident in 8,300 simple dockings over 42 years. An otherwise ‘excellent’ safety record. 42 years without a ‘single’ incident. Would that be good enough for Enbridge? Methinks that for Enbridge it would be.

Sadly, for the environment, one single navigation error, one tiny hiccup in a very elaborate and complex network of systems and interfaces between temperamental technology and human fallibility and we will have a disaster that will change the course of history on this coast forever. I am not convinced. In 42 years the chance of a marine disaster involving the Northern Gateway project is almost 100%.

Never mind the inevitable questions about environmental impact during the construction, what about the grossly negligent management of their extant pipelines? Between 2000 and 2010 alone, some 132,715 barrels of oil- about 1/2 the capacity of the Exxon Valdez- have leaked from Enbridge lines.

What about the federal government’s commitment to BC?

Meanwhile, just as these environmental challenges mount, the federal government has closed all of its western offices established to deal with oil spills that happen in federal jurisdictions. It’s showing its cards on the water too.

The Coast Guard is closing down its one and only station in Vancouver, reducing it to a summer-student project. In short, the presence and the relevance of the federal government to actually deal with any potential trouble has been cut- leaving British Columbians to fend for themselves- yet again- if something goes wrong.

To close

I sense these hearings are all a charade, no matter how well intentioned you as committee members may be. I fear for your reputations as I believe the Harper government is setting you up to be stooges. Sadly, even if you do recommend that this project not proceed, your recommendations will be swept aside and the project will go ahead as planned. To great detriment.

Our democratic process using public hearings will be discredited not just by the government but worse, by the population.

Our economy will be steered off-track because we will be ploughing our future into oil and pipelines rather than innovation and higher productivity.

Our environment will see significant destruction, one way or another, as there will be localized destruction to the coastal rain forests and high grasslands during its construction.

There will be leaks- inadvertent, accidental, one-in-a-million, but inevitable- leaks that will enter into our pristine watersheds and destroy salmon runs and hence entire eco-systems for generations to come.

We will see a further increase in greenhouse gasses. Even if Canadians stopped driving altogether, lived out the long cold winters sitting, shivering away in the dark- and even stopped raising cattle that fart in the fields, supplying bitumen to China is going to make the greenhouse gases that originate in Canada worse no matter what we do here in Canada.

And finally, British Columbians, sovereign on their land, do not want this project. Period.

And so as we look toward the abyss that follows your decision, I recall Aesop’s Fable, The Goose that laid the Golden Egg.

Keeping the moral of this fable in mind, you will know the risks associated with Enbridge Northern Gateway project far outweigh the potential benefits. I urge the panel to reject this proposal outright.

We do not inherit the Earth from our forefathers; rather we borrow it from our children.”

* * * * *

Useful links:

I would like to thank the Westcoast Environmental Law Society for alerting people about the public hearings. This has been a very long and drawn out process where I had to register about this time last year to be able to speak. Because of their forethought, I have this opportunity to speak at the hearings. I only wish that the general public could attend as well, rather than be shut out of the process using closed-circuit television.

What can I say? Apart from the fact that our own government is trying to stifle dissent and conversation, there’s not much else to say. I just hope my efforts and the efforts of those others who are speaking to the panel don’t go ignored as well.

The Province is the Problem at the Marpole Midden

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Demonstrators at Marpole Midden

I dropped by to visit the demonstrators outside the HQ Living worksite beside the Arthur Lang Bridge on Southwest Marine Drive today. Boy were my eyes opened.

Off and on, they have been outside this worksite for a couple of months. A small rabble, huddled under the Arthur Lang Bridge against the driving rain.

“Save our Ancestors!” say their signs, “Musqueam History is BC History!”

Yeah, whatever, one might conclude. Whatever the problem, there is no workable solution. Enough of this appeasing of ancient history when progress calls for development!

Call me naive, but I was shocked to hear what I was told.

Before I go on, let me ask you if you value ‘due process‘?

Due process is important in our society and in our government because it is a check on arbitrary decisions and a way to mitigate adverse consequences when tough decisions need to be made.

Imagine how you would feel and what you might do if you were to learn that your house was to be torn down because your city’s planning department didn’t like the color you painted it.

Moreover, imagine your state of mind if this decision was made and a letter was sent to you informing that this decision was pending while they knew you were on holidays and out of town.

Then, imagine how you would feel and what you might do if the house was torn down before you even had a chance to repaint it… and that any avenue of appeal fell on deaf ears?

It is due process that ensures that these sorts of egregious decisions are never made or carried out.

But in effect this is exactly what has happened to the Musqueam and their documented long-standing efforts to protect their former town-site. And when I say long-standing, I mean 80+ years.

I’m not going to bore you with a detailed timeline- at least not here and now. Suffice it to say, although the land in question is not actually privately held Musqueam property, it is one of 127 parcels of land that the Musqueam consider to be culturally relevant.

Since the 1930s this parcel of land has been considered to be an historic site and an archeological “No Digging” covenant was placed on the property at that time. Much of the land was paved over behind a building built on shallow footings at the time so it has not been much of an issue.

Until now.

Despite the covenant that was written into the deed of the property, the current owner maintains that he was not aware of the covenant when he bought the property expressly to build a condominium development with underground parking.

He says that the original owner of the property did not tell him about the no-digging clause. As an aside, it makes you wonder whether developers actually care about these “details” or whether they neglect to conduct due diligence when making multi-million dollar investments in land. In either case, the ultimate responsibility for ‘not knowing’ is the person who buys the land- not the person who sells it.

Why do I say this? I say this because if it was the responsibility of the guy who sold the land, there would be a law suit between the seller and the buyer, where the buyer would be trying to reverse the sale.

But let’s put these doubts aside and presume only good will and the best of intentions on the part of the developer, Century Group Ltd.

So what about the due process that presumably exists to ensure that nobody is run roughshod by faceless bureaucrats?

When the property changed hands, the archeological branch in Victoria served notice that the developer intended to dig into the parcel of land with the intention to develop during the weeks in December they knew the Musqueam office would be closed. How could they not?

By the time they opened and read the letter, the dig was already underway.

Fast forward just a few months later to the present day, and several developments in the story have taken place.

The Musqueam Nation and the developers have arranged a land swap. The developers will be able to receive land at the foot of Kerr Street in exchange for this parcel adjacent to Montcalm Street. The Musqueam are even prepared to sweeten the pot with financial incentives. With this parcel of land, they intend to create a memorial park to preserve the sanctity of the village site.

The sad thing is that the swap cannot happen until the Archeological Branch approves it.

What is worse, the Provincial Government- both at the leadership level as well as at the Archeological Branch is dragging its heels as it has remained completely silent.

The government maintains, as it did in the Legislature today to an audience that included dignitaries from various First Nations, that it is “fully engaged”, working with all parties, through a special facilitator to resolve the issue.

All of this is complete platitude because nobody even knows who the facilitator is. No member of the Archeological Branch has spoken to the issue-  let alone acted.

The developer is getting frustrated. He is losing money with every passing day he cannot get his development built. The Musqueam know this too and are sympathetic with his plight.

But the longer the provincial government sits on its hands, the more volatile the situation is going to get. According to a source at the protest site, the developer is trying to provoke a confrontation with the protesters to put pressure on the provincial government to act. Even the Vancouver police see it this way.

And all of this is so unnecessary.

The City of Vancouver is onside. The developer, with the best of intentions moving forward, is onside. The Musqueam Nation is onside. The Marpole community is onside. So where is the provincial government?

Since December, the Musqueam have been shut out of any due process. Yet they are doing what they can to work with the developer to find a reasonable solution.

But the provincial government, responsible for the breach of due process has yet to step forward. The provincial government, whose responsibility it apparently is to ‘protect’ the site but isn’t, is not doing what it can to help undo the mess it has created. Indeed, it has nothing at all to alleviate the situation at all.

To me, this is just a continuation of the past how governments that presume to speak for me, mistreat our aboriginal brothers and sisters.

It is quite unfair to assert my judgement on those who came before me for their racist attitudes and their transparent mistreatment of the “Indians”. There is nothing I can do to unring the bell in these instances.

But it is quite another for me to stand by today and watch silently the same institutional mistreatment, the same ‘convenient’ ignorance of previous agreements and treaties, the same short-circuiting of due process in the Law, the same marginalization of an oft-ignored community within our ranks- actions that we all find so repugnant in our past.

This cannot continue. It is time to do something different.

It is time for the provincial government came to the table to solve this issue before it becomes a crisis. The time for dithering is over.