My week back in B.C. is coming to an end, but something I've been hearing from friends and sources out here seems to have been confirmed in the Vancouver Sun this morning. The Conservatives will implement the details of the Kelowna Accord, just as long as no one calls it Kelowna.
That’s what I'd been hearing, and given Harper’s predilection for playing politics and his government’s obsession with linguistic nuance (see why Afghanistan isn’t a "war") it makes sense.
It’s the best of both worlds for them. They can take credit for taking major steps to help improve the lives of our Aboriginal peoples, while making sure the Liberals can’t take any credit for the consensus achieved by a Liberal government after years of work. Don’t buy the Conservative spin, this was no back of the napkin exercise like they pretend it was, but the culmination of years of effort.
In the Sun today, in an excellent piece (unfortunately behind a subscriber firewall) Vaughn Palmer outlines the major current issues of Federal/Provincial relations, and their status. On Kelowna, he makes this comment that backs up what I’ve been hearing anecdotally:
“In a speech last month, Campbell took a strong stand in favour of the previous government’s understanding with first nations, signed last fall in Kelowna. He has since come to an understanding with the Conservatives. The national government will continue to pursue the principles and objectives of the accord, so long as nobody insists on calling it Kelowna.”
I’ve ceased to be surprised buy Stephen Harper’s willingness to play politics with absolutely everything. If the spirit of the Kelowna Accord is kept that’s great, but we (Liberals) also need to fight to make sure that it is, and to ensure that the hard work of the past government did, in conjunction with the provinces and territories and the First Nations, is not forgotten.
On that note, I caught some of Paul Martin’s speech on CPAC kicking-off second reading of his private members bill, C-292, The Kelowna Accord Implementation Act. His passion reminded me of some of what attracted me to Paul in the first place, back when he used to go at it with Monte Solberg in QP when he was Minister of Finance.
Funny exchange just after his speech though, during the Q&A segment. Rod Bruinooge the Conservative parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, challenged Martin just where is this “so-called” Kelowna accord, where’s the signatures, where’s the document? Martin smacked him down pretty good I thought, noting Rod’s Conservative minister had tabled it in the House the day before, and had also mentioned that it was also in the Library of Parliament and on the ministry’s own Web site.
Opps, I think you need some new talking points there Rod. His Minister, Jim Prentice, came out a little later (perhaps to bail him out) and I must say Jim did a far better job of distortion and spin, managing to spend five or so minutes expanding on the “Liberals did nothing, Liberals bad” theme.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers