Smagnis Says: Leitch, a conservative leader hopeful, is right when she talks about abolishing the Indian Act and implying that the 600 plus elite Chiefs do not speak for grass roots Aboriginals. She is partially right in stating that every Canadian should be treated the same but she fails to add that this should happen only if reconciliation has taken place. She is arrogant and ill informed when she states that “if you think I need to go out and speak to Aboriginal Canadians across the country to ask them for their consent to change the law, it won’t happen. And you know that.” The elite Indian Act Cheifs should take note of this growing sentiment with respect to their voice being detached from the concerns of people at the community level. They should embark on a strategy toward success by empowering people they represent with accountability and good governance embracing bold steps toward sovereignty over traditional territories! That is what leadership is about and a necessary strategy to combat the elitist views emerging like those of Leitch.
The Prince Arthur Herald has received questions about the context of the quote. Allow us to further elaborate.
During a discussion with members of Conservative McGill and Conservative Concordia, someone changed the conversation from Donald Trump’s presidency to another topic. “What’s your overall policy on Aboriginal affairs? Would you do anything to reform it?”
Leitch responded by saying: “I would abolish the Indian Act”, adding that “every Canadian should be treated the same.” The questioner pushed harder, saying “but they would no longer be legally defined as Aboriginal” to which she reinforced her view and added “and guess what: the majority of Aboriginal Canadians agree with me. If you want to listen to the chiefs, you go ahead buddy; if you want to listen to those 600 elites, you go for it guy.” For the next thirty seconds, there was a discussion about the living conditions on reserves.
The comment that prompted Leitch’s response in the clip above was: “your intentions are good and I understand it, obviously you want everybody to be equal, I understand that too. It’s just the fact that you take away the legal status from them — you have to look at the history of enfranchisement, you have to look at the history of the blood quantum for actual Aboriginal peoples themselves. They would have no legal status anymore. The reserves would have no legal status anymore.”
Leitch responded by saying she could discuss the topic for 45 minutes and go through all the details, but then said that she has 22 letters at the end of her name and that the Indian Act should be abolished.
Following that comment, the man asked: “so you think you’ve done enough consultations with Aboriginals to be able to make a law without consultation?”
The response was: “I think that the people of Canada, and the Parliament of Canada, is supreme. And when people decide, that’s what we should do. And every Canadian should be equal. And if you think I need to go out and speak to Aboriginal Canadians across the country to ask them for their consent to change the law, it won’t happen. And you know that.”