ONTARIO REGIONAL CHIEF STAN BEARDY SAYS CONSERVATIVES’ THRONE SPEECH ONLY FANS THE FLAMES OF FRUSTRATION
(THUNDER BAY, ON) October 17, 2013 – Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy has heard all the same rhetoric before. Yesterday’s Conservative government’s throne speech was not significant to change that opinion. While the prime minister promised more support for Canadian middle-class families and building Canadian patriotism, the federal government’s lack of action on murdered and missing Indigenous women, and its dismissive statement that Canada was “empty” before the pioneers arrived only fans the flames of anger and frustration.
“It’s the federal government’s implementation plan to detribalize our nations. And our leaders, our Elders and our young people are frustrated but determined,” said Beardy. “References in the throne speech to ‘Canada’s Aboriginal people’ and ‘Canada’s natural resources’ is indicative of the continuation of the colonial attitude and is simply wrong.”
Beardy is calling yesterday’s throne speech a backwards attempt at appeasing the general public’s call for middle-class security, consumer rights and national pride while it ignores basic human rights issues and opens Canada’s natural resources to the rest of the world when it has yet to lawfully consult with the First Nations.
“They called Canada a model of the world but look at the way the government treats its indigenous peoples. Our people are living in third-world conditions. Where are the human rights for Indigenous peoples? The speech promised that it will focus on international relief – but ignore First Nations’ third world conditions? What are the government’s priorities?” said Beardy. “This is not a credible government for all Canadians.”
The throne speech comes on the heels of a United Nations rapporteur visiting First Nation communities to report on the federal government’s lack of response to First Nation issues and priorities. “If this is all the prime minister’s office can come up with on his to-do list for his final two years in office, even after the UN rapporteur’s recommendations, then we believe Canada is heading for a collision course with First Nations.”
This throne speech marks Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s final two years before an expected 2015 federal election.
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.