Saturday, 17 December 2011

Romeo Saganash in the 'Peg Part I: His Talk on his Vision

Note: Initially, I wanted to recap Romeo Saganash's visit to this fine prairie city in one post. After typing out ten paragraphs and realizing I still had plenty of material to cover, I decided that it might be a good idea to summarize the leadership candidate's visit via a series of posts. This is the first installment of an ongoing series.

Some Winnipeggers - affiliated with Quebec MP Romeo Saganash's campaign - organized a Town Hall in the Manitoba Museum Auditorium on Friday. Before the candidate arrived, I spoke to a few people about the NDP Leadership Race thus far and Romeo Saganash's campaign. Apparently, the campaign is still "discussing" when to release his full platform, but it might be sometime in January 2012.

The crowd started off small - there were less than 10 people in the auditorium eight minutes before the scheduled start of the town hall - but grew to a size of three to five dozen. It was a diverse crowd, with at least one New Democrat who backed Thomas Mulcair.

A former Conservative Party candidate-turn New Democrat* introduced him. This man used to be his boss for a short period of time, but Romeo Saganash quickly rose to be his boss. The man now lives in Winnipeg and does some teaching for Red River College. 

Saganash arrived on-stage and gave a pretty inspirational speech on his vision for Canada. Central to it was the idea of reconciliation to solve various social problems facing the nation, usually tying into the consensus-building role he's played as a diplomat. As in the campaign literature, his role as a negotiator for revenue-sharing deals between the Cree and Resource companies and for the UN Charter on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples were emphasized. He talked more generally about the need for First Nations economic development - along the lines of his Cree-Quebec deals - across Canada. Other areas he touched on were the growing economic inequalities in this country, his solidarity with the Occupy Movement, the need to reconcile the rural-urban divide, the folly of Harper's dumb on crime strategy**, and the danger of Harper's wedge-issue politics. Regaining respect for Canada on the international stage via collaborative strategies to address issues like Climate Change was another key point.

The talk was well-received, with tremendous applause from audience members. The skill with which Saganash related every problem to the need for reconciliation was superb, as was his ability to highlight the usefulness of his diplomatic experience.

After the talk came the questions. They were varied yet connected by their relevance to key Canadian social democratic values. Inequality, the Canadian Wheat Board, social housing, corporate power and First Nations land rights were some specific issues audience members raised questions about. Romeo Saganash's detailed answers to how he'd address these issues will be the subject of upcoming posts in this series.


    *A fact Saganash much alluded to when discussing the importance of convincing former Conservatives to vote NDP is to forming government.

    **He didn't exactly use those words, but made it clear that so-called "tough on crime" legislation is ineffective.


    1. There is not one candidate that has the unique background as Mr. Saganash.
      He represents the fabric of Canada and will serve the interests of Canada well.
      Coming from the bush provides Mr. Saganash not only with stamina, but with the humility, empathy and understanding that is needed to be a well-rounded leader of Canada.
      Being ripped from his family at an impressionable age and forced into residential school, instilled a fire in him to take advantage of opportunities; attributes needed to be the leader of Canada, especially in these rapid changing times. With the fire inside him, he became a lawyer-great negotiator, of which, he has a proven track record.
      Being Indigenous and a participant of Canada, he understands the balancing required to achieve the means to satisfy the needs of corporations, governments (nationally and internationally), and Indigenous Peoples, all while achieving sustainable environment.
      Mr.Saganash has led his life to serve the people of Canada with proven leadership of over 25 years. He will do extraordinarily well as the leader of the NDP. Join us.

      Join our team too at

      MaryAnn Wilhelm
      Ontario, Canada

    2. I second MaryAnn Wilhelm's testimony above as I believe Romeo Saganash has a profoundly unique perspective and vision for Canada at this rupture in history when survival of the human species is an issue none of us ever thought would be on the table.

      Romeo Saganash has been involved with the survival of First Nations' peoples for over thirty years. I feel he has inside him an awareness of the need to embrace the paradigm shift to a geopolitical reality we must attain where survival of diversity--whether it is indigenous culture and wisdom on their terms, not Ottawa's; intact ecological diversity; survival of seed and species' diversity; right livelihood; a healing rather than punitive approach to crime and a move to solar and bio thermal clean, safe energy--must be put into action at once.

      We can no longer can let the elite have their way with the planet. We have to replace the corporate monetary profit motive with a survival of the planet intention.

      I don't see any other candidate who has the background aand consciousness needed to shift us to this new platform as a country on a small sphere in space, one presently controlled by a top of the food chain" species, whose 1% minority with its out of control instincts " is leading us to extinction.