Throne Speech 'colonial': Madahbee
UOI OFFICES, Oct. 17, 2013 - Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee sees a colonial agenda in Wednesday's Speech from the Throne.
"This government has done us no favours in passing legislation on First Nation priorities," says the Grand Council Chief who represents 39 First Nations in Ontario. "They'll say all the right things in the media and in their messaging, but when you read the fine print you quickly get a sense of an agenda on repeat here."
Yesterday's Speech from the Throne was delivered by Governor General David Johnson on behalf of Canada.
"A few years ago the Harper government began talking about safe drinking water for First Nations, they said everyone should have access to clean, safe drinking water, then they passed legislation that contradicts all First Nation treaty laws and illegally imposes provincial regulation within First Nation boundaries, but our communities today still have unsafe drinking water," says Madahbee.
"When the Governor General mentioned more effective, more accountable on-reserve education systems, to me that sounded a lot like former government messaging when they were legislating residential schools for First Nations and we all know how that turned out," Madahbee continued. "They know we have our own education mechanisms developed already, so if they're genuine about a more effective education system they'll transfer proper resources to First Nations and then move out of the way so we can educate our children our way - we've already seen the results of their way on First Nations."
The speech mentions the government's treaty relationship, comprehensive claims, job training and education for First Nations.
"I have yet to see any evidence of a government that is willing to work with First Nations as a true treaty partner. Treaty discussions should happen between the Crown and First Nations directly, not with bureaucrats and political organizations. They mention comprehensive claims yet they'll do nothing to fix a specific claims policy that legislates their negotiators to demand land surrenders from First Nations before they'll even come to the table.
"The speech boasts about how great their forefathers were in setting a colonial agenda that continually sees First Nations lead every ethnic group in Canada in homelessness and suicides while conservative senators have multiple homes and rock-solid pensions, and they'll talk about the $30 billion a year in resources that are stolen from our land, but no remorse in increasing the incarceration rates of First Nations women and youth in federal prisons - quite frankly I don't see anything different from 19th century legislation to today's legislation," says Madahbee.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.