First Nations leaders call throne speech 'paternalistic'

Several First Nations leaders are criticizing this week’s throne speech, describing it as "colonial" and "paternalistic."

Madahbee, Fiddler criticize speech from the throne

Several First Nations leaders are criticizing this week’s throne speech, describing it as "colonial" and "paternalistic."

Patrick Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of Ontario's Anishinabek Nation, took issue with the Conservative government’s promise to improve education on reserves.

"When the Governor General mentioned more effective, more accountable on-reserve education systems, to me that sounded a lot like former government messaging when they were legislating residential schools for First Nations and we all know how that turned out," Madahbee said.

He also accused Ottawa of taking a "top-down-approach" by attempting to legislate solutions to problems facing First Nations, instead of letting the communities solve them.

“Nothing they — some bureaucrat — dreams up in Ottawa works in terms of the realities of what happens in our communities,” Madahbee said.

Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief, said the throne speech had a paternalistic tone.

"NAN First Nations are growing increasingly frustrated by the federal government's disregard for our history, culture, Treaty and inherent rights, and its continued failure to engage with First Nations in a respectful, nation-to-nation basis," Fiddler said.

He also said statements that Canada was an empty land before settlers arrived and that a country was forged "where none would have otherwise existed" shows a continued colonial attitude and sets the wrong tone for the upcoming Parliamentary session.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.