Statement from MSGC President on March 9 APTN Interview

On Monday, March 9th, APTN aired the first part of a three-part special on the Metis Settlements. In the interview, I was trying to make a point about the paternalistic and often troubled relationship between Indigenous peoples and the federal and provincial governments in Canada.

The point that I was trying to make is that Canada, and Alberta, have a lot of authority over Indigenous peoples but do not always come to the table to meet their responsibilities. In the interview, I used the terms “daddy” and “step-daddy” and I also used the term “deadbeat dad” to describe these relationships. I did not intend it as an insult to either government, but to make a point about paternalism and government response to the Daniels case.

I have heard from some members that they did not appreciate that language. Indeed, I recognize that using that language was not a productive way to make my point. If I could do it over again, I would choose to use very different language to make my point.

I work hard to build relationships with all governments and elected officials, regardless of their party. I am not affiliated with any one political party. I meet with MPs and MLAs of all parties. I had a good relationship with the NDP when they were in government in Alberta and I have a good working relationship with the UCP now that they are in power. Being non-partisan is important in the kind of work that we as Executives do.

I apologize to any members or elected leaders that did not appreciate my choice of words and I will certainly be more mindful of how I say things in the future. We are all human and we all make mistakes occasionally. What is important is that we learn from them and adjust going forward.

Thank you,

Herb Lehr, President

Metis Settlements General Council