With respect to Wes Elliott, a mistake has been made. He is not a negotiator, but is on the negotiating team. I apologize for the error.
It has just been finalized that a new participant has been added to the “Aboriginal Sovereignty, Indigenous Nationalism, and the Rule of Law” Panel. Wes Elliott, from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, contacted me and said that he wanted to balance our panel and criticize the views of Mark Vandermaas and Gary McHale. Mr. Elliott agreed that debating the issue was important so that a greater understanding of current circumstances could be developed. He informed me that, as a negotiator for Six Nations, he has the background to be able to propose solutions to the current crisis.
This is a great development in the forum. As I mentioned earlier, proponents of indigenous sovereignty should make their case as to why this road offers a better future for aboriginal people and aboriginal-non-aboriginal relations than the argument being made by those opposed to what they refer to as “race-based” policing – that enforcing the rule of law is an esssential element of ensuring peaceful relations between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people and within aboriginal communities themselves.
Once again, the point of the forum is not to promote one point of view or another. It is to allow diverse, and even conflicting, opinions to be expressed so that real debate can take place on aboriginal policy formulation. By looking at different points of view, and analyzing the logic and evidence that is used to support them, we can all develop a greater understanding of this difficult and complex policy area.
It is also important to recognize that Mount Royal University is a leader in the promotion of critical inquiry and the protection of academic freedom; it is doubtful that such a debate could take place at any other university in Canada. Hopefully the forum will provide a model whereby other controversial issues can be discussed in a collegial fashion.