APTN

PM's stay at January 11 meeting a short one?



PM's stay at January 11 meeting a short one?

APTN National News
Treaty chiefs meeting in Ottawa with the Assembly of First Nations in preparation for Friday’s sit down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper aren’t happy with how the get together is shaping up.

According to chiefs inside the meeting, Harper is only scheduled to attend the opening and closing portions of the meeting.

The Prime Minister’s office is denying this stating that more information will be made available Wednesday.

But chiefs and others say these are the details being handed out by the AFN and that Harper will hand the meeting off to his cabinet ministers before departing.

The hold up by the PMO to confirm details of the meeting may have something to do with treaty chiefs demanding a bigger and longer meeting with Harper after learning the logistics of the meeting provided by the AFN. According to one chief, this is why details have not yet been made public. They are supposed to find out by noon Wednesday if the meeting will be bigger.

The meeting, announced Jan. 4, is set to take place in Ottawa with a delegation of regional chiefs, elders and youth. Exactly what will be discussed will be announced Wednesday.

Only Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and Treasury Board president Tony Clement are confirmed according to Russell Diabo who attended one of Tuesday’s meetings of 150 chiefs at at a downtown Ottawa hotel.

The place of the meeting is being kept secret for apparent security reasons, but three locations have been identified – Rideau Hall, home of Governor General David Johnston who will not be taking part in the meetings, the Government Conference Centre or Parliament Hill.

The meeting was supposed to begin at 12:30 p.m. and go until 3:30 p.m.

“They’re talking about maybe a post meeting with a smaller group afterward with (Harper). Smaller than the group that is going to be there at the meeting,” said Diabo who works with Algonquin communities in west Quebec.

Diabo wasn’t sure who else would attend.

“I don’t think it seems serious,” said Diabo of the meeting.

Harper had similar plans for last years historic Crown-First Nations Gathering in Ottawa but changed his plans and attended the days sessions including meeting with a select number of chiefs in the afternoon.