June 22, 2012: Russ Diabo and First Nations issues including upcoming elections for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

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Listen to entire program here:

The summer season is upon us and that means also that the House of Commons is on summer recess after  a tumultuous session. The Harper regime has passed its Omnibus bill, the effects of which won’t be felt until all the regulations associated with them are written – probably over the summer.  What kind of a country will be living in by the end of the Harper regime? Why are more Canadians not concerned and vocal about the lawlessness of the Harper regime: and by lawless I am referring to Canada being implicated in torture when our soldiers handed Afghan prisoners over to certain torture, two prorogations of Parliament for the sole purpose of protecting Harper’s then minority government, the contempt of Parliament charge, millions spent on the G8 getaway in the Muskokas, election rigging and spending improprieties, the military spending on weapons and bases overseas, and now, the Omnibus budget clearly designed to circumvent our already shaky democratic system. All of this and in a pivotal election Harper and his Mike Harris reruns like ministers Flaherty, Baird and Clement win a  majority in the House of Commons!

 On top of this is a looming confrontation with Canada’s First Nations people who struggle against mining and oil corporations along with a debilitating process of negotiations over land and funding that never get resolved. June 21 marked another National Aboriginal Day and month – a day not without controversy among First Nations communities and leaders. What is the state of First Nations politics and relations with Canada? Why should non-natives care?  What kind of alliances and which organizations exist to promote the interests of FNs? Since the Harper regime has made no secret about their wish to change Canada forever it’s time to seriously consider that First Nations interests and the interests of the Canadian working class clearly intersect. We all live on this land and rely on the natural environment for our survival. The common enemy we all face is a global economy that relies on the subjugation of peoples’ rights and governments like ours who serve only those global economic interests along with the banks.

 To help us understand First Nations concerns was Russ Diabo who was on this program way back in December. We’ll had a discussion about the results of the Crown/First Nations Gathering in January, on the questions I raised here, and on the coming elections for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Russ Diabo is a First Nations policy adviser and a Mohawk from Kahnawake, in Quebec, and spoke to us from Innisfil, On., He edits and publishes the First Nations Strategic Bulletin.

Here, Diabo describes the aftermath of the Crown First Nations Gathering and outlines what the AFN is and is not:

The Assembly of First Nations was formed as a response to the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy (The White Paper, 1969). Click image to learn more

In this clip Diabo discusses the relevance of the grassroots in influencing events of critical importance to local communities:

I asked why all Canadians should care about First Nations issues and politics:

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