They say absolute power corrupts one absolutely, but this saying would not even begin to describe this Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership. There has never been a more dictatorial, aggressive, scandal-laden government than Harper’s “Cons”. “Cons” is a fitting nickname for this ruling Conservative party given the countless scandals since they have come to power.

Harper’s control over his own party, together with his party’s majority power in the House and Senate has made him so arrogant that he appears unconcerned about the extreme excesses of his “people”. His over-confidence is apparent in his bullying tactics within the party ranks and in his dictatorial governance style. He wields his majority power like an iron sword through the hearts and minds of Canadians. He acts as though he is untouchable and has such control over his own people that they will fall on their swords before implicate Harper. Now, this government wants to control the fate of First Nations children in their new First Nations Education Act. This is a scary thought.

As with all false leaders, Harper’s arrogance is testament to his weakness – he is all puffery and no substance. If his front line is as weak as the media reports it is, then there will be very little loyalty left to support Harper when the pressure hits. We have an opportunity to put the pressure on. How much more fraud, sexual assault, theft, and lying will Canadians stand? Canadians have the power to unseat this dictator and reset Canada on a path which ensures health, prosperity and the good life — however we choose to define that for ourselves — for all our future generations.

How many more scandals will it take? More importantly, should they be passing legislation dealing with the lives of First Nation children when they can’t seem to even act within the law? If these “leaders” of the Conservative party are any example, I wouldn’t want them anywhere near my children or making decisions on their behalf. These people are scary and not the kind of role models we want for our children.

MAXIME BERNIER may be long forgotten, but he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs who was forced to resign from Cabinet after leaving classified documents in the possession of his biker-gang-friendly girlfriend posing a possible risk to national security.

BEV ODA was the Minister of International Cooperation who was also forced to step down due to a funding scandal which had her denying and then admitting that she directed staff to alter documents. She was later found to have used public monies to fund her lavish over-seas trips staying in posh hotels and hiring expensive drivers all while sipping $16 orange juice. 

PETER MCKAY, the Minister of Defense was also a big-spender with public monies. From a $3k seafood show, $5k Grey Cup game to a $16k helicopter ride for his personal fishing vacation — McKay defended himself by threatening to sue the people bringing these allegations. However, it was reported that government documents showed that even military officials tried to warn McKay over the helicopter ride. 

VIC TOEWS who stepped down as Public Safety Minister, was embroiled in several political and personal scandals including a conviction for election violations and a divorce reportedly brought on by an affair with a political staffer that resulted in a child. He was also criticized for implying that environmentalists and First Nations peoples were terrorists.

The list seems to just go on and on. Then you have the fringe element who shock normal Canadians with their racism, bizarre opinions and allegedly illegal activities like:

– Former Minister of Indian Affairs, John Duncan who was opposed to “race-based rights” like the Aboriginal and treaty rights protected in Canada’s constitution;

– Current Minister of Indian Affairs, Bernard Valcourt whose scandals are infamous in New Brunswick (where he was forced to resign as Cabinet minister due to drunk driving), but are apparently forgotten in Ottawa;

– Tom Flanagan, well-known Conservative and PM advisor, Indian-hater and reportedly supports child porn;

– Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin who, along with Senators Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau, was suspended from Parliament. Wallin recently had her documents seized and is now being investigated by the RCMP for filing improper expense claims;

– Senator Brazeau is a case unto himself. Aside from bizarre late night rants on Twitter; trying to double dip salaries as President of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and Senator; never showing up for work as Senator; media reports of him not paying child support; formal charges laid in senate expense scandal; and then his charges for both assault and sexual assault nearly take the cake for Harper’s Conservatives; but now

– The Prime Minister’s band mate, drummer Phillip Nolan has been suspended from work as a teacher and charged with sexual assaults on children.

If you were a First Nation whose band members had suffered through the rapes, torture, medical experimentation and abuse that occurred in residential schools, would you want the Canadian government running your schools again?

If you were a First Nation and the Conservative government was telling you that your choice was status quo under-funded schools, or extra funding under the condition of federal legislative control, would you feel safe sending your kids to those schools?

If you were a First Nation and Harper was standing beside you in a headdress saying “Trust me” – would you?

The last thing we need is for a federal party, who acts without accountability or any moral compass going anywhere near our kids. We are already suffering the inter-generational impacts of residential schools — we don’t need to hurt our future generations too.

Say No to FNEA. 

Stay away from our children. 

Recognize First Nation control over their own education systems; and

Properly fund these systems.

We have treaty rights and internationally protected rights to fully-funded education.

It’s time Canada lived up to its obligations.

Image: wikimedia commons


Pamela Palmater

Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She teaches Indigenous law, politics and governance at Ryerson University and is the Ryerson...