A University of Saskatchewan professor says the Prime Minister clearly has some homework to do when it comes to understanding best practices for dealing with First Nations leaders.
A video leaked late last week shows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau angrily dressing down Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron for failing to control speaking times of chiefs at a closed-door meeting in Saskatoon.
The video created a lot of fallout this week and speculation as to what effects it may have on the relationship between the Liberal government and Indigenous groups.
Ken Coates, who teaches in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy says the Prime Minister would have be wise to do a little more research before attending the FSIN meeting.
“In this case, if I was a First Nations chief and I came down to those meetings and didn’t get a chance to say something, I’d be really frustrated,” he says. “And the Prime Minister, you know, given that he hasn’t been here all that often to sit down with the chiefs, possibly would have been better off just spending time listening.”
However, Coates says he doesn’t believe the video will do any long-term damage to the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous groups in the province and both sides will learn from the experience.
He also says if Trudeau is not up to the challenge of properly managing government relations with Indigenous stakeholders, the Liberals have a number of cabinet members who are including Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and Justice Minister Judy Wilson-Raybould.
The video was leaked by Kawacatoose First Nation Councillor Sheila Kay-Machiskinic.