Sunny ways won’t improve ‘nation-to-nation’ relations – by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail – March 2, 2016)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is to meet with First Nations leaders in Vancouver on March 2, might want to have a chat with Chief Ron Tremblay.

Mr. Trudeau wants a new “nation-to-nation” relationship with First Nations. He hopes that this new relationship will allow things to get done where previously they have been blocked.

Consider the Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick that, if built, would assist the finances of a Maritime province deep in the red, losing population and without serious economic prospects apart from energy development. A chat with Chief Tremblay about Energy East would reveal what Mr. Trudeau’s “sunny ways” approach faces.

Mr. Tremblay, on behalf of the Wolastoq Grand Council representing bands along the St. John River, has declared Energy East to be an affront to “Mother Earth.” The Grand Council “unanimously” opposes the project to protect our “non-ceded homeland and waterways.” The council’s declaration stated that the “capitalist system and all forms of devastation, exploitation, abuse and corruption have caused great ruin, damage and destruction of Mother Earth.”

The Wolastog Council would be willing to meet federal officials who have a “legal duty” to do so – not so that they can exchange views, but so that federal officials could provide a “written acceptance of our traditional philosophy.” Perhaps one of Mr. Trudeau’s ministers would like to offer the “written acceptance.”

Several years ago, other New Brunswick aboriginal people set fire to five RCMP vehicles as part of a protest against seismic testing, claiming that this was happening on their “unceded land.”

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