Monday, January 7, 2013

MLA Cathy Sproule Responds to Phone Campaign for Idle No More, Harper Spence Meeting, and Provincial Responsibilities toward Treaty

Hi Sheena!

First of all, I want to say thanks to you for getting engaged in this discussion! It is heartening to me when citizens take time to show they are concerned about issues of the day. And Idle No More is definitely one of those issues that seems to have touched a nerve, a good nerve, in thousands of Canadians, both indigenous people and settlers and newcomers.

Before I ended up in politics, I worked as a federal government lawyer for seventeen years in the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement implementation. I worked with many First Nations who were signatories to the agreement and really enjoyed working as a team with them, provincial officials and federal officials to move over 700,000 acres of land to reserve status. That experience has given me many insights and perspectives about the Treaty relationship in Saskatchewan and the complexities and difficulties facing First Nations people today. It would be difficult for me to begin to put my experiences in words in a short response to your question - so I won't even try to do that!

In a nutshell, I see the Treaty relationship as one that is gaining strength in many ways, and the Idle No More movement is a good expression of the growing awareness of the Treaties and their role in Canada and especially in the prairies, where we have the "numbered" treaties. When I think about what I knew about the treaties before I went to Law school (which was nothing, zero, zip) and now, I am both sad to know that we did not honour the treaties in the last century but optimistic that they are now being regarded in a more respectful way. We are all treaty people, after all.

I hope this is ok, I would be happy to discuss more with you anytime, if you'd like. Say hi to Moira!

Cathy Sproule
MLA Saskatoon Nutana

Hi Cathy,

I believe you returned my phone call, but I wasn't here, and my husband didn't take down your name... so... after some interrogating and deduction, I believe it was you :) Sorry to be so long responding.

I'm so happy to hear that PM Harper will meet with Chief Spence, so that is the first thing I was asking our provincial MLAs to advocate.

However, since we've begun a conversation, I'd love to hear your response to the Idle No More movement, the meeting with Harper and Spence, and our provincial responsibilities toward treaty.

If you like, you could respond by email, and with your permission, I'll post your thoughts on my blog

All the best, Cathy, and I do remember you fondly from meeting you at the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party when you were Moira's piano teacher :)

All the best,
Sheena Koops

Note: I'd called and left messages before Christmas with all Saskatchewan MLAs...

after sending each Saskatchewan MLA a copy of my open letter to Premier Brad Wall.

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