The following statement was issued on Thursday by the Six Chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick:
Today’s resignation of Dominic Cardy, a former chief of staff and a key cabinet minister to Blaine Higgs as Premier of New Brunswick, is confirmation and amplification of our serious concerns about the premier’s ability to do his job.
For years, we have pushed hard for Blaine Higgs to engage with us in a diplomatic nation-to-nation relationship to achieve real results in our shared quest for reconciliation.
Instead, at every turn, this premier has failed to look beyond his own uninformed and regressive notions about Indigenous people, unilaterally dragging the government backwards on critical issues.
There are several examples of this top-down breakdown in good relations, including:
In 2021, Blaine Higgs ripped up tax agreements with First Nations without any warning or plan to replace them. The effect was to try and force First Nations to give in to his demands, keeping our communities in poverty. This is an increasingly urgent matter affecting the well-being of Wolastoqey people.
Earlier this year, Blaine Higgs’ government fundamentally changed the mandate of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to centralize decision-making, which has strained consultation on many matters.
Last October, Blaine Higgs’ government demanded all government workers stop using the words “unsurrendered and unceded’’ This is a denial of fact.
After refusing to call an Inquiry into Systemic Racism, Blaine Higgs obstructed the work of his own Systemic Racism Commissioner, causing her to withdraw her recommendation to immediately call an Inquiry into Systemic Racism.
Blaine Higgs’ government fought against proclaiming in the legislature Sept. 30th as Truth and Reconciliation Day.
— Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick (@WolastoqeyNNB) October 13, 2022
Our message today is to the remaining members of Blaine Higgs’ cabinet: It is clearer than ever that your leader does not respect or listen to you.
It is more evident than ever that your leader is not operating within the fundamental principles of good governance, nor the aims and principles of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick.
If you, like your former cabinet colleague, disagree with Blaine Higgs’ dictatorial, “wrecking ball” practice of ramming through policies that only suit his narrow worldview or address his personal pet peeves and fascinations, then it is time to resign from cabinet.
Stop standing by and allowing a single person to conduct such harmful practices. Indigenous people, and New Brunswickers, are watching closely and applauding the winds of change.
Ross Perley is Chief of Neqotkuk (Tobique), Patricia Bernard is Chief of Matawaskiye (Madawaska), Gabriel Atwin is Chief of Pilick (Kingsclear), Shelley Sabattis is Chief of Welamukotuk (Oromocto), Tim Paul is Chief of Wotstak (Woodstock) and Alan Polchies Jr. is Chief of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s).