Aboriginal demands dominate news agenda

Tease the day: How long will Idle No More hold our attention?

CP/Adrian Wyld

One month ago, who would have guessed that Aboriginal issues would basically dominate the news agenda? On Dec. 9, Idle No More demonstrators across Canada were planning the next day’s sea of demonstrations. Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence was preparing to embark on a hunger strike. Days earlier, Aboriginal leaders attempted to charge into the House of Commons, and a handful of columnists opined about native issues, but few would have guessed just how much that was the calm before the storm.

One month later, and Aboriginal activists dominate three national front pages (the Toronto Star excepted). They control the news agenda. They’ve captured the attention of exasperated national columnists. For a movement with no leader, no communications strategy, and very little coordination, all of it by design, the achievements are remarkable. What will we be talking about on Feb. 9?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with yesterday’s Federal Court ruling that Métis and non-status Indians qualify as “Indians” under the constitution. The National Post fronts the British National Weather Service’s tempered predictions of global warming. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with “bizarre” rules governing what Ontario’s children’s advocate can say publicly about inquests into children who died in government custody. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the unclear path forward when Aboriginal leaders meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper this Friday. iPolitics fronts the next steps for Canada’s optimistic climate change ambassador. leads with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s potential absence from this Friday’s meeting with Harper unless Governor General David Johnston also attends. National Newswatch showcases the same CBC story.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Radarsat. Industry Minister Christian Paradis will apparently announce today that a controversial satellite program that’s seen its costs balloon will apparently go ahead. 2. Haiti. Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe wants his government to play a bigger role in distributing aid that comes from Canada, a move he says would improve its effectiveness.
3. Dief’s son? A man claiming to be former prime minister John Diefenbaker’s son, George Dryden, is pleading with his mother to back him up. She’s not responding to his overtures. 4. No conflict. A federal watchdog cleared the prime minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, of any wrongdoing regarding his ongoing relationship with mining giant Barrick Gold.

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