Straight Talk
MARK BONOKOSKI - BONOKOSKI: No direction in Idle No More

Attawapiskat First Nations chief Theresa Spence arrives for a press conference on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River next to Parliament Hill in Ottawa Jan 4, 2013 in Ottawa, ON.

Credits: QMI Agency/ANDRE FORGET

MARK BONOKOSKI | QMI AGENCY

If there existed any unity on any issue in the First Nations movement called Idle No More — already sabotaged by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s now-ridiculous sideshow and the Aboriginal lynch mob now circling Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo — then there might be some optimism in avoiding more upheaval.

But there will never be an absolute solution.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, despite leading what is arguably one of the more pro-Aboriginal governments in Canadian history, hasn’t a hope in hell in appeasing the war cries from the mind-numbing kaleidoscope of rabble-rousers and anarchists now hijacking the movement, nor in getting native leaders to put aside their own self-interests, their mutual mistrust and their historic tribal animosities in order to come to a consensus.

Those who naively believe otherwise should roll back the tape to the Occupy movement that, with the help of a liberal media and the funding of unions, managed to take over city parks and disrupt traffic across the country as law enforcement and city bureaucrats sat on their thumbs.

There was no race card being played there but, nonetheless, the Occupy movement was able to stretch its

15 minutes of fame well past the point of even a politically correct tolerance.

But this is an entirely different kettle of fish broth.

As a national editorial here recently noted, First Nations have been given the entitlement of a race-based Don’t Touch Me card that has authorities quaking in their boots, and law enforcement afraid of inciting the type of anticipated violence that will come the moment one group of Native protesters is dragged off a railway line or forcibly stopped from blocking a highway. Think Oka. Think Ipperwash. Think Caledonia.

And then think of the domino effect. With social media being given credit for the supposed success of the Arab Spring and other pro-democracy revolutions, the backlash from tweets and cellphone photography would be instantaneous if push came to shove with Idle No More and the hot heads, despite being minority, heightened the tensions.

At stake, of course, would be Canada’s international reputation, and the shame that would predictably be inflicted on our nation with rebukes from the United Nations, sensationalized media coverage and social media’s out-of-context vitriol, particularly if any of the confrontations resulted in bloodshed. This, of course, gives huge leverage to First Nations. The Harper government can’t win for losing, but neither would any federal government — regardless of political stripe — if faced with the same set of circumstances.

AFN Chief Shawn Atleo is supposed to be the voice of his collective of people, much like Harper was elected to speak for all of Canada, but that authority is already being slew-footed by chiefs who he beat in the election.

He, too, can’t win for losing if his own people, aided and abetted by First Nations dissidents, band councils and so-called “spokespeople” who get heard only because they yell the loudest, allege the outrageous libels of a government-led genocide, yet have no problem taking billions in taxpayers dollars as long as there are no demands for accountability.

The last thing the majority of chiefs and band councils want is the passage of Bill C-27 ­— the First Nations Financial Transparency Act — which would require every reserve in this country to annually cough up its financials, including the salaries of chiefs and band councils.

That, in large part, is what the back story here is all about.

Idle No More’s righteous but generalist beginnings as wanting more input into treaty relationships, environment impacts on their lands, etc., has turned into a fight by the First Nations elite to keep sucking money from taxpayers without having to defend where and how it is spent.

As it stands today, not even a status Aboriginal living on his or her reserve is privy to that information, even as they live in an unheated shack in, say, Attawapiskat, while their chief drives around in a high-end, late-model Cadillac Escalade in an isolated reserve that has no road leading to it.

Idle No More should be about those who are being abused by their own.

But the politically correct won’t go there.

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