NDP MLA and Aboriginal Affairs Critic, Doug Donaldson says the Conservative government is to blame for Shawn Atleo’s resignation as chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
“I admire and respect National Chief Shawn Atleo. He visited Stikine a couple of times at least and I have heard him speak publicly on many occasions…I think he was a good leader and did a good job in that role. What I see is Prime Minister Harper and the Conservatives put him in an untenable position as he was trying to negotiate different agreements.”
Donaldson says the Conservatives consistently undermined Atleo and the Assembly of First Nations over issues like missing and murdered women, Enbridge and with the appointment of Patrick Brazeau to the senate.
“Brazeau was the leader of an organization in competition with the Assembly of First Nations and Prime Minister Harper appointed him to the Senate and we all know what a disaster that’s turned into…so this is what’s resulted.”
Atleo resigned Friday amid ongoing debate over the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, a mandate that he worked with the Harper Government on and supported.
Atleo said he didn’t want to be a distraction from the issue.
But Donaldson says Atleo was cut off at the knees by the Harper government and his resignation, while honourable, is disappointing for B.C. residents.
“He was there for all the people of B.C. and I think it is a sad day because divisive forces led by Prime Minister Harper have led to his resignation and division is never any good when you are trying to move forward on social justice issues that are really at the core of First Nations communities.”