Our people are demanding fundamental change says Russ Diabo

Dennis Ward
Face to Face 
Unless there is significant change in the lives of First Nations people, Russ Diabo says there will be more push back from the people.

“Our people are increasingly demanding fundamental change, not incremental change,” Diabo said on Tuesday’s edition of Face to Face with Host Dennis Ward. “And they’re continuing to act on it at a local level.”

The Hill Times: Advocacy approach to upcoming Indigenous rights bill at stake in AFN national chief elections


“This is the most significant one we’ve had since the constitutional talks in the 1980s,” said Russ Diabo, a policy analyst from the Kahnawake Mohawk community south of Montreal who once served as an adviser to AFN national chiefs and who announced his intention to run in April.

Mr. Diabo told The Hill Times that he’s running as an “outsider” candidate, and said he believes Mr. Bellegarde is too cosy with Mr. Trudeau and doesn’t speak up on federal measures he considers to be acting against the independence of First Nations in deciding their own affairs.

“The AFN and Perry Bellegarde have lost control of the agenda. The government of Canada is driving the process now,” he said.


Globe and Mail: Federal relationship emerges as key issue in Assembly of First Nations campaign

...Russ Diabo, a First Nations activist from Kahnawake, south of Montreal, who is...running to be national chief, says Mr. Trudeau’s “charm offensive” masks the government’s drive to stifle the inherent and treaty rights of Canada’s Indigenous people.

“I think the Trudeau government represents a threat to our rights. The way they’ve operated right from the beginning is in secrecy,” Mr. Diabo says. “When they bring things out, it’s without consulting our people, let alone the AFN who they have signed these top-down agreements with.”

Yellowhead Institute Special Report - Canada’s Emerging Indigenous Right’s Framework: A Critical Analysis

Justin Trudeau ran on an election platform of changing the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Trudeau promised a new nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of Indigenous rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Over halfway into his mandate as Prime Minister, some clarity is emerging on the scope of that nation-to-nation relationship. In February 2018, Trudeau announced the development of a new and transformational Indigenous Rights, Recognition and Implementation Framework.