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COLUMN: Elder offers cheeky wish list for our politicians

In AWARE News Network
Dec 19th, 2022

Jeff Monague offers holiday wishes for politicians, including Simcoe North MPP, who he noted ‘may have accidentally fallen into a vat of invisible ink’

Jeff Monague, an Ojibway elder and knowledge keeper, has some good wishes and advice for politicians. From OriliaMatters

The season for giving is upon us. I am in the giving spirit, so I will pass along my wishes for a good, long holiday season. Especially to the politicians of Ontario and Canada.

Now, I am aware that prime ministers, premiers, or their ministers cannot accept gifts from anyone. Obviously, there are rules against that sort of thing. (After all, they are not developers.) Therefore, I will only deliver good wishes and advice.

I will begin locally and wish our provincial representative a cleansing, of sorts, for she may have accidentally fallen into a vat of invisible ink. I hope she receives some miracle solution (invisible ink remover?) so she may become visible to her constituency once again. I’ve heard from someone who once saw her that she is quite pleasant. I don’t know. All we must go on are blurry photographs from her most recent campaign.

I keep thinking she may also be dressed in camouflage and standing somewhere amongst the Greenbelt so she can get a feeling of what her constituency is trying to protect. I do hope that’s the case. If so, then she has a chance to become the champion of the people. I do wish that for her.

Federally, I hope our member of Parliament, as young as he is, receives his first shaving kit. And I wish I could be there to witness it.

I am told he has at least been visible. There is no need to plaster cast his track marks to prove he exists. Good for him. I wish him more sunlight and visibility in the coming year.

I wish the premier of the province a long-extended holiday (just like his other ones). And I do hope he has an epiphany, of sorts, after being visited and consulted by three spirits on Christmas Eve, if only to ensure he becomes aware of what proper consultation looks like. I happen to know first-hand the Chiefs of Ontario collectively wish this for him as well.

I also wish he may be able to enjoy an extended stay snowmobiling through the trails of Muskoka and that he stops to breathe in the cool, pristine air. Or become friends with a raven, wolf, or muskrat so he learns the value of wildlife.

I also wish he spends some time learning of the trees as he stops along the snowmobile trails and becomes educated on the symbiotic relationship human beings have with trees. They breathe, we breathe.

I do hope he doesn’t encounter a beaver, though. If the beavers have been talking amongst one another (in their beaver circles), they may be aware Bill 23 looms as a threat to their food, waters, and their homes. A disgruntled beaver is nothing to take lightly.

I don’t wish harm upon the premier. I only wish for his continued education. (Don’t get me started about education.)

Federally, once more, I wish the prime minister a copy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, which were delivered to the federal government in June of 2015. I know how things can get lost in the shuffle, especially when you have a host of matters to attend to, like the spectre of Alberta seceding from Canada, for example.

But those Calls to Action are not being addressed as promised. To date, after close to a decade, only 13 of the 94 Calls to Action have been implemented in some way. Yet, every time the prime minister or one of his ministers speaks on Indigenous issues, they mention reconciliation. Like it meant something.

I think I speak for a lot of other Indigenous people when I say I would trade those remaining 81 Calls to Action for some land back. Considering the pace at which they are being addressed, it is a real possibility we may never see them completed. In the meantime, I hear a certain provincial territory may soon be up for grabs. Hmm. I wish.

But this is not about me. In the spirit of giving, I wish these things for all of you.

Jeff Monague is a former chief of the Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island, former treaty research director with the Anishnabek (Union of Ontario Indians), and veteran of the Canadian Forces. Monague, who taught the Ojibwe language with the Simcoe County District School Board and Georgian College, is currently the manager of Springwater Provincial Park. His column appears every other week .

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