Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Since she agreed to meet with Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan is hoping hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence will reconsider his offer to meet with him.
Duncan's first offer on Christmas was instead met with silence. A day later, Spence welcomed Trudeau to her Victoria Island teepee for a 45-minute meeting.
This prompted Duncan to write another letter to Spence.
"It is my understanding that you met today with a member of Parliament," he wrote. "Given your willingness to accept meetings now I am hoping that you will reconsider my offer, as minister of the Crown, to meet or speak with you by phone to discuss the issues you have raised publicly."
Spence is now in the third week of her protest, which includes restricting her food intake to tea and fish broth. On Christmas Eve, Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, himself an Aboriginal, tried to pay a visit to Chief Spence but was turned down.
Asked why she'd agree to meet with Trudeau but not with Duncan or Brazeau, Chief Spence said: "Trudeau is a person who's there for the youth, and he's seen by the youth as a leader today." She said she was not asking for a private meeting with the prime minister. "I want the [First Nations] leaders to sit at a table with the prime minister, and the Crown, both levels of government," she told QMI Agency in an exclusive interview after her meeting with Trudeau.