Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Hunger-striking chief rebuffs senator's, minister's offers to meet
OTTAWA -- Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan expressed concern on Tuesday for the health of a northern Ontario First Nations chief who is on a hunger strike near Parliament Hill.
In a letter sent to Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence on Christmas Day, Duncan said he was worried about the leader's well-being and urged her to end her protest.
Spence has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11 to focus public attention on aboriginal issues, and has been living in a teepee on an island in the Ottawa River that many aboriginals consider to be sacred land.
She is seeking a meeting with the prime minister, the governor general and First Nations leaders to discuss the government's relationship with First Nations.
Duncan's letter said Spence had been unresponsive to his offer of meeting with her or speaking to her by phone.
It also said Aboriginal Affairs was prepared to set up a working group between federal and First Nations representatives to discuss treaty and rights issues between Ottawa and aboriginal governments.
"I remain concerned about your health and hope that you will accept my offer to speak about how we might move forward with improving the treaty relationship," Duncan wrote.
"It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to speak with me about the issues you have raised publicly."
Duncan's letter came a day after Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, who is Algonquin, tried unsuccessfully to meet with Spence.
Brazeau posted an account on Twitter of his efforts to meet Spence on Monday, saying he was first told she needed time to prepare to see him but then that she wouldn't see him at all.
"Not sure if Chief Spence's advisers made the recommendation not to meet but regardless, I respect her decision," Brazeau wrote.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2012 A16
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 9 articles for today)7:48 AM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- Ontario medical student, girlfriend among passengers of doomed Malaysian flight
- RCMP charge Sen. Mike Duffy with fraud, breach of trust and bribery
- Conservative party president's 7-year-old daughter hit by minivan, killed
- Mayor of Montreal-area community dies after being stung by wasps
- Police investigate suspicious death at Pemberton, B.C. Music Festival
- Canadian teacher detained in Jakarta jail on accusations of child sexual assault
- Duffy accused of charging for personal trainer, makeup artist, funeral travel
- Big Lake Ontario shark hoax shows risks posed by viral marketing, experts say
- New report questions Canadian Ukraine election monitoring missions
- Cdns at odds with Harper gov't priorities: Finance Canada focus-group report
- Family of missing boy, grandparents won't give up on finding them alive
- Moms change diapers, Dads form leaders: Justice minister's emails to staff
- Calgary police confirm violent incident in case of missing boy, grandparents
- $20,000 per person:Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for Canadians
- 'We're lucky to have her in our lives;' baby survives crash that killed mother
- Suspect in case of missing grandparents and child to make court appearance
- Investigators bring in boat in search near Calgary-area acreage in missing family case
- Calgary police say there are other leads in case of missing boy, grandparents
- Police say search near Airdrie part of probe into missing Calgary residents
- Ex-wife of B.C. homicide victim says man conned her; both appeared on Dr. Phil
Ads by Google