THUNDER BAY – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is being accused of paying lip service to First Nations. NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy has repeatedly complained that decisions are being made that impact NAN territory without any consultation.
On a broad range of issues, mining, forestry, and the HST, the McGuinty Government is generating negative feelings from First Nations.
Across the region, protests are being planned by Aboriginal communities. In Fort Frances a toll booth is being set up on Highway 11. In Red Rock a protest is planned for later this month.
The peaceful protests, so far have remained the hallmark of the political action. However it seems that one option has remained outside of the process.
The ballot box is the ultimate political process. If First Nations across Ontario were to line up next fall and vote for a candidate opposed to the HST, the political change that would be generated could likely be a major factor in sending a powerful message to Queen’s Park.
In Thunder Bay, based on the results in Thunder Bay Atikokan, a concerted effort would likely see a new representative elected. Liberal MPP Bill Mauro won by a small handful of votes.
In Thunder Bay Superior North, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry could be a powerful target for First Nations, sending a message to Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals that could even unseat a cabinet minister.
Taking the issues directly to the voting booth would likely generate far greater, and far faster responses to the concerns that First Nations have raised.
Will it happen? Chances are the politicians are counting on the past and hoping that it won’t. That way they can continue on the same old familiar paths that have led us to where we are today.
That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.