Jordan: Every election campaign features promises lots and lots of promises some of those promises though are more solemn than others.
News Clip: It is time for a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations people. One that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of first nations in Canada are not an inconvenience, but a sacred obligation.
Jordan: In 2015, Justin Trudeau vowed to do better than his predecessors when it came to Reckoning with Canada’s historic failure to work with indigenous peoples Trudeau promised respect. He promised action and he promised Truth and Reconciliation. He was genuine enough that he was joined in this call by some of the highest profile Canadians to speak on the issue.
News Clip: He cares about the people way up North and we were trained our entire lives to ignore train our entire lives to hear not a word so it’s not on the improve and we’re going to get it fixed. We got the guy to do it just start to help.
Jordan: And on Election Day Trudeau won an overwhelming percentage of votes from indigenous peoples across the country now was four years ago, and yes promises were made. You can read and listen to an awful lot of opinions on how many of them were kept and how well but the people to whom those promises were made a week from now, they will demonstrate exactly how they feel about it.
I’m Jordan Heath Rawlings, and this is the big story Todd Lamirande and is the host and producer of APTN’s Nation to Nation.
Todd: Hi, Jordan.
Jordan: Can you start Maybe by explaining where the the term Honouring Promises comes from?
Todd: Well, I probably have to ask Perry Bellegarde that my interpretation of Honouring Promises. Is a lot of promises are made in 2015 election. Some things removed on will bring up water for example promisin 2015 election that within five years.
They’re going to get rid of all boil water advisories. That schedule hasn’t been kept to I think they’d gotten through half and if you listen to Trudeau, he says by 20 21 22, they’ll get through all of. So Honouring Promises is to from the Assembly of First Nations is to make sure that that.
Promises Kept and if you look at their document, they got two and four-year plans on a whole host of issues from water housing Healthcare education. Again, these are promises made the 2015 election and major in the first term of the Trudeau government. So it’s just from their perspective. It’s just keeping those promises.
Jordan: Well, you’ve gone through the document and on the whole. How much of some pretty substantial promises you touched on just one that the Liberals made have they delivered on in the view of the First Nations?
Todd: Well, that’s again if you talk to Perry Bellegarde and I can only base this on what he said like I don’t work for the Assembly of first nation.
Of course, I report on them occasionally and that’s about it. Let’s take healthcare for example. This is another one where more needs to be done. Certainly when comes to mental health of all the suicide crisis that seemed to happen from time to time in remote Northern First Nations. So obviously there’s always been promises to do something about this and.
Well has anything been done arguably not much has been done in the first four years in the first Mandate of the liberal government, but we did have a week ago in Thunder Bay. The Prime Minister said, well, I’m going to develop co-develop with my or indigenous Partners a health plan some sort of Health legislation that I’m assuming we’ll try and honour these promises again that were made not only during the election campaign 2015, but throughout the first four years of their mandate.
Jordan: What is your sense from reporting on this document and the reaction to it of Trudeau’s image in the First Nation communities across Canada? Because I mean he sold himself that way in 2015.
Todd: Well, there’s quite a difference. In fact, you may not be aware of this but aptn the commission and by ronix research to conduct a poll for us.
We’re from indigenous peoples perspective Trudeau support from indigenous people has collapsed. Yes, it’s in 2015. We’re talking just over half of indigenous people supported Trudeau and the liberal government. And actually I should just I should quantify or clarify that statement. This is from election Canada.
So they’re getting the 51% from on reserve voting.
Jordan: Okay. That’s oh that’s hard numbers.
Todd: That’s a hard number four on reserve voting. So the entire –looked at it more broadly because Indigenous people includes Inuit and Metis. For example, I’m Metis, Red River Metis and you know when I went to vote in 2015, nobody asked me my identity.
So that hard number comes as I said from on reserve. That’s substantial 51% I mean how many writings across Canada get 51 percent support? Yeah to get elected. So that has collapsed. It’s in the 20s. Now. In fact, the conservatives are slightly ahead now as far as support. So what that says is a indigenous people don’t really trust Justin Trudeau.
So that a lot of the good will it happen in 2015? And there was a ton of it. I mean there was so much excitement over the election of Trudeau. It’s hard to describe. I mean there was all kinds of talk about voting for the first time in 2015 and when he got sworn in the rear all kinds of indigenous people and leaders actually went to Rideau Hall and and just a witness all this.
So, where’s it all gone? And why has it it’s a little more speculation. A lot of people don’t trust him as I said and as to why don’t they I mean they have the half moved forward on some promises. They have moved forward on getting rid of boil water advisories, but you know people thought it would be faster.
That’s one thing. So if you live in a community that’s been in a boil water advisory for decades and some of them have for literally decades and you know, Still haven’t gotten to us, you know, what’s up with that? Right? But I think what are the watershed moments that’s happened in just the past year that really turned indigenous people against Trudeau and the liberal government was the treatment of Jody Wilson rebuilt.
Jordan: Yeah. I was going to ask about that.
Todd: This was somebody who was. Very well-respected somebody who even before she got elected when she was still a regional chief for the Assembly of First Nation. People saw somebody with a lot of Integrity who worked harder job. So to see what happened to her for basically sticking up for her principles to see her thrown under the bus kicked out a caucus that made a huge difference people just couldn’t believe what was happening to one of their own.
And the treatment of her
Jordan: Well my other question based off the pole you just described is. How is Andrew sheer doing Beyond kind of the numbers among First Nations people because I don’t know what he’s been saying that would speak to them. I don’t know what he’s been promising them. But if you say he’s ahead of Trudeau in support, that’s fairly significant.
Todd: Well, I think it’s just because that’s the case how far a Trudeau has fallen because indigenous people in general and I should quantify again qualify that metis for example support the conservative party far more than First Nations people. So what does Andrew sheer have to offer well for Metis
it’s about you know, supporting small business. For example, you know, that’s something that may tear the certainly not against but when it comes to a lot of other things first Nations people certainly don’t trust Andrew Scheer. I don’t know again. If your listeners remember the First Nations transparency act tell me about well, it was a piece of.
Legislation from the Harper era to most people just know it as trying to get Chiefs and councilors to disclose their salaries because we didn’t know sometimes band members didn’t know what they were. And when the Trudeau government that’s just one aspect of it, but I just want to simplify it and when the Trudeau government got into it, I mean the the ACT is still on the books.
But they decided not to enforce it. Now. I’ve been told by several people Kathy McCloud was often on our show as a conservative Member of Parliament on our MP panels has said if they get elected they will start reinforcing that piece of legislation. And also, of course, you know Andrew Scheer wants to create a war room to get energy projects through.
And again that raises a lot of red flags for First Nations people if we have a duty to consult us and we disagree with you. Are you still going to round this pipeline or whatever energy project through
Jordan: So what are some of the reasons that Trudeau has seen his popularity declined so rapidly among First Nations.
Todd: Well, we only have to look at something. That was very recent think it’s just a few week ago. Now where they decided to appeal the human rights tribunals compensation order this happened. Oh back in September and they have 30 days to do it and the Friday before the Monday. Of course, they did say they’re going to appeal it or what I should say.
They’re going to have a judicial review and they want the order. Set aside or dismissed and what’s kind of interesting about this is that the leaders debate Trudeau was asked about this and said well, we do want to compensate children families caught up the child welfare system. We do want to compensate them fairly.
But at the same time. You’ve got this judicial review that you want to do. So, I mean, I wish I could have asked in the question. I was in line to ask my question will I did get a chance to in the scrums after leaders debate, but what’s a fair compensation than five ten fifteen thousand dollars.
There must be something that you think is fair and that that 40,000 must be too high because you’re. You want to review this again when it goes to your question about so, you know, why is liberal support collapse. This is just another brick in the wall. So to speak I mean the went up over social media and you know indigenous people go no.
Well, this is Justin’s true colours, you know, you can use buzzwords like reconciliation and how no relationship is more important than the one with indigenous people. But how can we believe any of this when you do something like this because of compensating children and families who went through this horrific thing should be a no-brainer.
Jordan: One of the things that we did on the lead up to this election as we spoke to people from every Province and territory in Canada, and we spoke to a journalist from Nunavut who talked about the frequent apologies that Trudeau has made. To First Nations people to the Inuit Etc. He described it as not being lip service and that he’d attended some of them and that the feeling in the room was that he was really genuine.
And so when I think about Trudeau’s promises to Canada’s indigenous people, I’m kind of torn between the idea that he’s saying all the right things and doing nothing and the idea that what he’s saying is actually making a difference. Does that make sense?
Todd: Yes, I would say it does and I guess that’s why I’m so many indigenous people are you know, they can’t make up their minds is this guy legit or not?
And because indigenous people have been disappointed so many times Well hundred and fifty years promises have been made over and over and over again. Doesn’t matter which government it comes from they have a tough time is he legit or is it just more of the same that we have heard for decade after decade after decade, but you mean I will say this the indigenous leaders believe there has been progress.
You know, I’ve talked to Perry Bellegarde. I’ve talked to you at a period kind of Tommy president the town Obed and certainly the Metis National Council has made it known that they support what they’ve done when it comes to. Access to the Prime Minister it’s been unprecedented attack on Obed said the access to the Prime Minister into his ministers.
And if you talk to Perry Bellegarde not only, he’ll say the same thing but it’s been unprecedented how much money has been allocated in the last three Federal budgets. I think it’s 21 to 22 billion dollars towards trying to close the gap to honour the promises. The Assembly of First Nations like to see in awe in a whole host of things that I listed off earlier in our conversation.
Jordan: Beyond Trudeau and Scheer what are the other leaders promising?
Todd: Well, I suppose the biggest thing from their platforms that I seen the green party and the NDP is can I don’t know if you remember or your listeners remember Bill c262 to Bill c262 to was to make the laws of Canada to come in line with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous people and it was a private member’s bill by real NDP MP bromios a ganache.
Liberal government didn’t support the private member’s bill got his way to third reading in the Senate and conservative senators. Basically stalled it and it died on the order paper. So what I’ve seen from their platforms that are both the greens and the NDP is that they will fully implement this as part of their platform and that they fully recognized indigenous rights.
The inherent rights of indigenous people have in Canada. Of course, the you know, indigenous people indigenous voters are realist or not. Stupid that’s for sure. They realize that the NDP and the green party probably are going to form government anytime soon. So that’s why I would you know voters when we talk about a lot of digits voters are they’re fed up with Trudeau, but Scheer is not an option but to fight for green and NDP when I know that they’re not going to form government and its you know, this is the problem that indigenous voters are facing right now in this election and.
Doug cut hand, I believe he’s the columnist for those Saskatoon Phoenix who came out aptn news a couple of months ago. And he may have said a said it best, you know indigenous voters may just sit this one out. And I’ll be very very interesting because in 2015, we had a record number of indigenous people came out to vote.
Like it jumped 14 percent for on reserve people voting right? That’s a huge increase. Will it go back down 14% or even worse and that’s it be very interesting to see what happens is that will say a lot.
Jordan: That brings me to my last question. Would you just kind of touched on which is you described a feeling at the beginning of our chat of indigenous voters voting for Justin Trudeau and 2015 and feeling really good about it.
How rare is that for indigenous voters in Canada in general? And as you kind of already touched on I guess they won’t have that feeling this time.
Todd: I have to say it’s pretty rare. I mean, you know, I haven’t been looking closely at just how they voted for. All the elections going back, but certainly you didn’t have it with Harper or any of the liberal leaders around against Harper certainly not with Michael Ignatieff, maybe a little bit with Paul Martin because back at the time.
He did promise a lot of he promised new funding there was a big conference in Kelowna and out of Kelowna came something called the Kelowna Accord at these 2004. So to get back to your question, I don’t know. I mean there was a bit of trudeaumania. I would go out go out on a limb and say it when he got it as leader of the liberal party because even then he was making promises if elected we’ll do this and this and yes, I would say that I mean there were a lot of people who wanted to take selfies with them.
There was a lot of excitement. I remember a lot of. Rock the Aboriginal vote campaigns that we’re going on in 2015 and I would suggest that that was because the him that there was excitement that there was going to be a real change that this was the guy who’s finally going to do something. So, you know it close the gap in the socio-economic Gap that is between indigenous and non-indigenous people that when he talked about reconciliation he was
being genuine and honest and that that I do day was Dawning that that baby. They’re just people could you know become full Partners in this great experiment that we call the nation of Canada.
Jordan: Feels like a long time ago.
Todd: It does when it’s wasn’t that long at all. You’re right. I don’t know if expectations are too high or you know the realities of governing Came Crashing Down.
I don’t know but it’ll be interesting. It’s gonna be an interesting to see how this election turns out.
Jordan: Thanks a lot Todd for the time today.
Todd: Oh, you’re very welcome Jordan.
Jordan: Todd Lamirande and host and producer of nation to nation. That was the big story for more from us. Including lots and lots of coverage of all those promises.
You can head to thebigstorypodcast.ca you can talk to us on Twitter at @thebigstoryfpn.
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