I’d like to clear up Chief David Jimmie’s confusion about the Prime Minister’s recent meeting with the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC). (Surprise meeting disappoints, Chilliwack Progress, June 13.)
On June 5th and 6th, IAMC held its monthly meeting. The committee rented the Cheam gym for this purpose. On short notice, the committee was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) if he could attend and we said “yes.” As a security measure, the PMO didn’t confirm his attendance until the afternoon of the day before the meeting.
Indigenous members of the IAMC quickly prepared five key messages to present to Prime Minister Trudeau. On June 5th, he spent a little over an hour with us, to discuss these points with him. The Prime Minister then took a few moments to pose for photos with Cheam community members and left. Later that morning, IAMC shared our key messages in a News Release and on our social media. To be clear:
• I’ve never held myself out as a spokesman for any other community but my own, namely Cheam.
• IAMC is not a consultation body. We are an advisory committee and under our Terms of Reference: IAMC does not replace, nor diminish the government’s duty to consult with Rights Holders (such as Squiala First Nation).
• Chief Jimmie is wrong to presume that the purpose of this meeting was consultation, thereby requiring his presence. It was the IAMC’s regular business meeting, and the PM asked for time on our Agenda.
• If Chief Jimmie wants to meet the Prime Minister in a consultation forum, he needs to organize that himself, on behalf of the communities he represents. The federal government is pursuing a dialogue on recognition of Indigenous rights and self governance, and it is open to new initiatives, like IAMC. We need to make the most of this, and all opportunities before us.
Chief Ernie Crey,
Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee