Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Nite Video: Beds are Burning

This song came to mind when I read about Phil Fontaine's speech that issued warnings via the Canadian Club this past week:

National native leader Phil Fontaine warned a blue-chip audience on Tuesday that the anger felt in many First Nations communities has reached a breaking point.

"Frankly, we are fearful of the effect this is having on the well-being and public safety in our communities," said the chief of the Assembly of First Nations in an eloquent speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa.

"So here I am again today, hammering away at another group. Many of our communities have reached the breaking point. The anger and frustration are palpable."

A report in Tuesday's Globe and Mail quoted a First Nation leader in Manitoba threatening widespread economic disruption and a potential blockade of CN rail lines connecting Eastern and Western Canada.

Fontaine did not dismiss worries about possible confrontations this summer.

While he has a track record of favouring quiet diplomacy over barricades, he suggested to his audience that this tactic has yielded few results.
Fontaine also urged governments to work harder to settle more than 1,100 outstanding land claims, noting that at the current pace of negotiations, it would take 130 years to resolve them.

We have an obligation to do better for our First Nations people, but that certainly won't be happening under Conservative party rule.

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