Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not a lone voice Homepage

Mi'kmaq chief keeping wary eye on Strahl

New Indian Affairs minister remembered as Reform hardliner

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | 4:45 PM AT

CBC News

A Mi'kmaq chief in Nova Scotia is wondering whether the new minister of Indian Affairs will live up to his reputation as a Reform hardliner.

Millbrook Chief Lawrence Paul described Chuck Strahl, named to the portfolio Wednesday, as a "die-hard Reformer." Strahl, 50, had been agriculture minister.

"We don't know what his policy is going to be," Paul said. "I do know that if he takes a hard line against the aboriginal people of Canada, there's going to be a lot more protests.

"In reality, the one who's running the show is Primer Minister [Stephen] Harper, and all his cabinet ministers and MPs have to kind of follow his lead. So, I guess that's where it rests at the present time."

As a Reform MP in 1999, Strahl spoke out against native fishing rights in Atlantic Canada.

His party was then asking the governing Liberals and the Supreme Court of Canada to suspend a decision upholding the rights of some First Nations to fish out of season.

Strahl, a former logging contractor, said then that the federal government should extend year-round fishing rights to non-native fishermen, too.

Paul hopes to meet with the new minister soon to talk about economic development.

A spokeswoman for Strahl said he was getting settled in his new office and was not available for comment

No comments: