Thursday, August 24, 2006


New wave

First the environment, now Aboriginal issues. Suddenly, there are some good ideas emerging from the Liberal leadership race and they are coming in bunches.

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff indicated at a campaign stop in Duncan that he believes the federal government should consider disbanding the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) and turning responsibility for aboriginal services over to local First Nations organizations.

There are pros and cons with this announcement, however, having watching and worked with some in INAC, I can not say that the thought has crossed my mind at least a couple of hundred times. I would be hesitant to turn over complete control instantly, but a plan for withdrawal could be in order.

This suggestion goes further than the Robert Nault White Paper, which was a good first start. Too bad Martin lacked the courage and that file and about 1,000 others.

Wow, with the CPC's skewering of the Liberals over Middle East politics, this announcement got lost in the shuffle!
I think that there is some merit in this idea, but one problem that needs to be addressed before it occurs: Accountability. Bob Nault under Jean Chretien was prepared to bring forward legislation to put a lot more accountability on native chiefs, no surprisingly, the chiefs strongly opposed this. Paul Martin came in, lost his nerve and withdrew the legislation.
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