Aboriginal leaders had a bad day

Tease the day: AFN chiefs and Theresa Spence couldn’t get their messages out

CP/Sean Kilpatrick

A postponed press conference. Mixed messages from a symbolic leader. Unrealistic demands of a meeting with the Prime Minister. Unclear conditions for success. Yesterday, Aboriginal leaders had a bad day. They failed to look or sound confident, by any measure, in advance of a working meeting with Stephen Harper—the details of which are, with 24 hours to go, still unclear. The confusion is perhaps fitting, the inevitable conclusion of the leaderless-by-design Idle No More campaign to champion Aboriginal rights. Even the Assembly of First Nations, the organization usually most willing to meet with the government on its terms, is struggling to maintain its composure. Slowly, newspapers are turning on the Aboriginal movement, focusing less on policy issues and more on the confusion and disarray among Aboriginal ranks. Tomorrow’s meeting could be their last chance—for some time, anyway—to regain momentum.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with uncertainty about whether or not Aboriginal leaders will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper tomorrow. The National Post fronts the “folly” of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Ontario teachers’ planned one-day strike tomorrow. iPolitics fronts a profile of prospective U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. leads with counterfeit Chinese parts in Canada’s new Hercules military aircraft. National Newswatch showcases a Canadian Press investigation of the personal finances of Spence’s partner, Clayton Kennedy.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Veterans. A group of military veterans reached an $887.8-million settlement with the federal government after they complained disability benefits were clawed back. 2. Killer whales. About a dozen killer whales are trapped in the ice of Hudson Bay near the Inuit community of Inukjuak. The mayor’s asked for help from an icebreaker.
3. Natural gas. TransCanada announced its intentions to build a pipeline that would carry B.C. gas to a new facility in Prince Rupert, for export to thirsty Asian markets. 4. Mali. The Globe and Mail’s Campbell Clark says there are plenty of good reasons to send a modest amount of military trainers to Mali, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has “lost the will.”

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