Political Digest, October 30

By Bob Goulais
Anishinabek Nation Political Office

· Grand Council Chief John Beaucage gave his speech to the BC Treaty Commission conference last night in Vancouver. The theme of the speech was Forging Linkages and Finding Solutions. “We must use the treaty relationship we already have with the Crown to give us the access and involvement in the greater resource-based economy. Unfortunately, the treaty relationship that exists has a lot to be desired. We must spend time to re-define the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Crown in Ontario. We must assert our goals and priorities. And we must also spend time to develop and foster a positive economic and investment environment within our Nation and throughout our territory. These are indeed our top priorities.”

· Development has begun on the facilitation plan for the Strategic Communications Council retreat that will take place December 17. The Leadership Council asked the UOI to develop the Strategic Communications Council. a.k.a “The War Room” an initiative proposed by Chief Patrick Madahbee. A smaller group of our leadership and executive would come together, identify some high-level priorities, identify some key messaging for our organization and their fellow Chiefs, and give some direction on communications/public relations initiatives. This would be the upper-echelon of our political communications that would set the tone in our messaging of our organization to government and the general public.

· A fall lobbying session is being planned for Queens Park to support the War on Drugs and Treaty Implementation. Our main focus will be on meeting The Hon. Margaret Best, Minister of Health Promotions to support the War on Drugs, as well as youth sports, the possibility of a new Ontario Sports Circle. Possibilities for all of this are looking really good.

· Some lobbying will be taking place at Parliament Hill, November 6-7, starting with the Official Opposition (national caucus chair) and beginning the daunting task of establishing relationships with the new NDP MPs from Northern Ontario. We will be discussing comprehensive self-government.

· Today, we sent out a news release supporting the War on Drugs. The framework of the strategies will be based on a strategy developed by the City of Vancouver to combat drug problems in Canada’s most notorious area, the Downtown Eastside. A consultant has been hired to coordinate the strategy and conduct the War on Drugs policy conference that has been set for February 16-17, 2009 in Whitefish Lake. The next War on Drugs steering committee meeting will take place on November 17. We’re hoping the Chiefs will be pleased with our progress thus far.

· This week, I spoke about Grand Council Chief’s next speaking engagement with the director of the First Nations Market Housing Fund. He will be the keynote speaker at the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association in Quebec City on November 18.

· Provided some insight into our Pre-Budget Submission process to the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. They will be making a statement on the Ontario Economic Statement in London. We are happy to work together to assist our fellow PTOs.

The political digest is a new column, based on Bob Goulais’ blog at www.bobgoulais.com. He regularly documents is role and duties as Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief.

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