Idle No More calms after the storm

Tease the day: National conversation about Aboriginal affairs takes a breather after chaotic week
Nick Taylor-Vaisey
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs looks back after he attempted to get into Langevin Block for a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo and other First Nations Chiefs in Ottawa, Friday January 11, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
CP/Fred Chartrand

The fever pitch sustained by Aboriginal leaders, Idle No More protesters, and hunger-strikers on Ottawa’s Victoria Island relented over the weekend. Everyone’s taking a breather after an onslaught of pressure forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston to meet with Assembly of First Nations chiefs. Over the weekend, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, who stayed relatively quiet during the last week of protests, suggested Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence should end her protest, instead calling on Aboriginal leaders to pressure the government to follow through on its commitments. Former AFN national chief Matthew Coon Come sent a similar message, as did Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As well, Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak stepped down from earlier comments about bringing Canada’s economy “to its knees,” instead endorsing only peaceful protests.

More demonstrations are planned for this week, but the national conversation has taken on an altogether calmer tone.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with further Aboriginal protests planned for this week. The National Post fronts six men arrested in another India gang rape on a bus. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the high odds that Ontario will soon have its first female premier. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Canadian logistical support to the fight against extremists in Mali. iPolitics fronts guidelines to playing nice on Twitter. leads with the RCMP’s inability to track internal misconduct for a number of years. National Newswatch showcases a Charlottetown Guardian story in which a woman claims the government’s new EI rules wrongly disqualify her from collecting a cheque.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. DND hiring. Canada’s defence ministry lays off civilian employees only to re-hire them on different assignments, according to a letter from the commander of the army in Ontario.2. Wind power. For the first time, Ontarians receive more electricity from wind power (3%) than coal-generated power (2.8%), thanks to a draw-down in coal-burning plants.
3. Eagle feathers. An Alberta official says there’s been a recent spike in the sale of illegal eagle feathers, many of which are used in the traditional First Nations costume trade.4. NDP/PQ tension. The federalist party that represents most of Quebec is often at odds with the province’s governing party, says the PQ intergovernmental affairs minister.