Following Advice

Letterhead from the PM's office

A while back, I shared a tweet by Senator Patrick Brazeau. He said one of the best things a Canadian could do to advance Indigenous issues, is to write to their member of parliament.

Instead, I wrote to the Prime Minister. Some will say, what difference will it make? Well, if we all did it, it could make a huge difference. But I’ll tell you this: doing it was much more productive than sitting back and cynically proclaiming that it won’t make a difference.

From : Lisa Brandt lisambrandt1@gmail.com Received : 08 Jun 2021 08:09:17 AM >>>

Subject : Indigenous issues >>>>

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

We spoke once when I was still in full-time broadcasting, as morning show host of 1290 CJBK here in London, ON. I don’t expect you to remember it! Also, I voted for you and I’m still a vocal supporter of you as our Prime Minister.

When you announced that Reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples was your priority, I cried tears of joy. I’m not native. In fact, I was only finally fully awoken to these issues when I made a presentation to a group of local band chiefs several years ago and heard their stories. I vowed at that time that I’d be an ally for change in this country.

Sir, I’m profoundly disappointed that your government continues to challenge compensation payments in court following a ruling that ordered them over discrimination against First Nations children on reserves. I don’t understand it. Even just the optics are terrible, but the whole effort – the cost, the time, what it says about priorities – is in direct opposition to what you claimed you would do.

I urge you to drop your opposition to the compensation packages before it becomes a major part of your legacy. There is no shame in saying, ‘I was wrong’. Instead, concentrate efforts on getting clean, drinkable water to all native communities. Divert the money spent on lawyers to this basic need. PROVE that you meant it when you said reconciliation matters. I don’t know why you’re doing something that is the opposite to your stated position. Please, do the right thing. I believe you generally mean to do the right thing. And I’m offering you this perspective so you can make a course correction on behalf of Canadians who believe in you, your values and what you stand for. It’s never too late.

Sincerely,
Lisa Brandt

Dear Ms. Brandt:

On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.

Thank you for taking the time to write. The Prime Minister always appreciates hearing from people on the issues that are important to them. Please be assured that your comments have been carefully reviewed.

Once again, thank you for writing.

H. Clancy
Executive Correspondence Officer

2 thoughts on “Following Advice”

  1. I want to give the Executive Correspondence Officer the benefit of the doubt, but life has made me a bit of a cynic where politics are concerned. As an elected national board member emeritus to the world’s fifth largest entertainment union, where I served for ten years, I know that deals are often struck with not so much consideration for the fulfillment of lofty promises, or the socially just end benefits over time, but the immediate compromises that seemingly must to be struck to appease parties and powers that operate largely out of sight and off the radar in the name of pragmatism and economic efficiencies. From the P.M.’s perspective, I have witnessed the most altruistic at heart face daunting odds when faced with pleasing so many players from disparate camps. Vocal power in numbers, and a free press that outs backroom barter practices can move the needle. This is an exemplary effort, Lisa. Kudos.

  2. I think Senator Patrick Brazeau comment about writing your MP is incredibly naive and misguided and simply tries to address a symptom not the structural change required to the very fabric of society which is far beyond the capacity of governments to resolve.

    Residential schools; industrial boarding schools; boarding schools; finishing school; monasteries; sororities and fraternities; cults; political parties and yes even corporate culture ETC., all have three basic principles.

    Indoctrination, assimilation and integration are all part of these social entities, its simply how there applied which differentiates them, nothing more.

    The abuses, cruelty and deaths at Residential schools is appalling, outrageous and whatever other adjective you wish to use but I also recognize that corporal punishment in disciplining children was the method of the day and the outcome predictable.

    Its easy to view these events through the social lens of 2021, but are they really all that different to those who abuse animals or children today?

    As to the legal case, its called Due Process. When Indigenous people have in recent years disagreed or believed their rights haven’t been recognized, they have taken legal action against the government, lost and appealed, lost and appealed again until it reaches the Supreme Court. You don’t roll over and play dead just because the optics are bad.

    I applaud your letter and I hope others will follow your lead and things will change.

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