Idle No More activists have drowned out Atleo's common sense
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo adjusts his glasses as he responds to a question during a news conference on Jan. 10, 2013 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, January 11, 2013 5:45PM EST
There’s always been a superior lineup of national chiefs leading the Assembly of First Nations.
Whenever a crisis hits the aboriginal file, the top spot has been held by a negotiator, not a warrior.
Ironically, the best of the bunch is there now.
Shawn Atleo is a force of intellectual personality who, until now, has served with distinction as the movement's face and voice.
He understands progress is best achieved by talking instead of yelling and supports realistic reform over revolutionary fantasy.
But as a chaotic month of protest culminated today in the PMO, it became obvious Shawn Atleo cannot win.
He's run into Idle No More movement fuelled by unattainable expectations.
He's been sideswiped by Chief Theresa Spence, whose behavior is erratic and whose credentials have been tarnished by a deadly audit of her undocumented spending.
And Atleo's fending off a mutiny from three regional chiefs who sided with Spence over him, a devastating vote of non-confidence in his leadership.
He appears doomed.
Radical elements have now hijacked the agenda. Common sense conversation has been drowned out by giddy activists to whom even significant improvement won't be good enough.
And there’s the threat of incendiary reactions to come.
If native threats of economic sabotage come true, it will inflame public opposition against the cause. Without public pressure, the government won't rush to act. No action, and the aboriginal uprising escalates.
It's a vicious round dance from which no progress can escape.
Perhaps it could be avoided if Atleo was doing the talking. Unfortunately, his own people may no longer listen to their brightest light.