Roundup: Redefining status

The Federal Court has ruled that non-status Aboriginals and Métis should be classified as “Indians” under the constitution, and that the federal government has a fiduciary responsibility towards them. This opens up a major can of worms in terms of the way that policy and duty to consult will have to happen going forward, as well as resources for those individuals based on what the government is obligated to provide, and this will be complicated more because the ruling does nothing to settle how the government will need to exercise this jurisdiction. This will doubtlessly be headed for the Supreme Court, so it may be some years before it is fully settled.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s boyfriend invites a forensic audit of the band’s finances to prove that there wasn’t any misspending – even though it’s been his job to provide the documentation that’s missing. He also defends his relationship and insists that he reports to the band council as a whole and that Spence doesn’t vote on conflicts of interests. Meanwhile, when Global News sent a crew up to Attawapiskat, they were kicked off the reserve and threatened with arrest – under Spence’s orders – while Spence’s camp on Victoria Island has also banned the media under the rubric that they are “printing lies.”

As for Friday’s meeting between the Prime Minister and the AFN, the Governor General won’t be in attendance, which is proper, seeing as it’s a political meeting, and the Crown has no role in that. Oh, but now Spence is threatening not to attend – because apparently Canada hasn’t attained Responsible Government yet. John Geddes speaks to former Indian Affairs minister Robert Nault about the current situation. Tim Harper suggests that Stephen Harper name a special envoy for dealing with First Nations issues going forward, although it’s not sure who said envoy would be dealing with on the First Nations side if Idle No More makes it clear that AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo is not suitable. John Ivison looks at the issue of resource revenue sharing as the bigger picture for First Nations.

The Canadian Forces is going to end the fifteen-year practice of waiving attempts to recoup the costs of assisting provinces and municipalities with disaster relief, because of their budget cutting exercises.

Stephen Harper said that Canada will not be making any military commitments to Mali, despite a request from the head of the African Union (who is also the president of Benin). He did make a number of announcements about trade and assistance with Benin, with an interest in improving the prospects for prosperity in that region.

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has cleared the PM’s Chief of Staff over allegations that he broke the code when he sat in on calls with the founder of Barrick Gold, whom he has a familial relationship with.

Elections Canada had 100 extra observers on hand during the last three by-elections in order to provide data on the procedures taking place in the wake or the court decision on the election in Etobicoke Centre. It remains to be seen if this level of scrutiny will remain for the next general election.

Over in the Liberal leadership race, hot republican mess George Takach says that the next leader could determine the party’s fate. That’s some pretty deep analysis!

And Colin Horgan looks at massive dumps of information that serve to hamper transparency by subverting it.