Calendars have a way of jogging us into activity. My social media life, such as it is, has consisted of Twitter and Facebook, which I attend to regularly, I’m not into Instagram or other stuff. But this site has gone unattended, and I am taking the New Year as the chance to re-commit to posting and connecting on this website from time to time.
The world is a dangerous place in many places, and a very unequal and challenging place for billions of people. My life, now in its 70th year, has been focused recently on my continuing work as a lawyer working for indigenous people across the country. A recent major achievement was helping forge the passage of the Indigenous Institutes Act in Ontario, which together with major budgetary increases will make a big difference for indigenous people seeking to take advantage of educational opportunities. That job has been several years in the making, and I’m delighted to see such progress underway.
In the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, progress has been, at best, uneven, although there has been some progress. Negotiations and discussions continue, and that will, I expect, become more of a focus in the days ahead before the provincial election. I don’t say much about the negotiations because of my firm belief that issues are best discussed and resolved at the table, but more important because it’s the governments and the First Nations that have to make the critical decisions. I’m a negotiator and facilitator, and that’s my focus.
I’m also continuing my work as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, which focuses on the current crisis involving the Rohingya people. My interim report came out just before Christmas, and I shall be heading back to the region in the next few weeks before making a final report. I shall also be meeting with UN and other groups in Geneva and New York, as well as with many interested parties in Canada. It is a great challenge for Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the world, and above all is a humanitarian crisis for the Rohingya people themselves.
I am also teaching at the University of Toronto in the School of Public Policy and the Faculty of Law, and am enjoying that work very much. Two classes this term – one on Indigenous Law and Policy, and another on The Role of Government. It is great to have a chance to co-teach with wonderful people, and to connect with students. I taught the first term at Victoria College, and that continues to be very worthwhile.
In the course of the New Year, I read somewhere the advice to spend an hour a day reading, an hour a day writing, and an hour a day exercising. I shall try to meet these targets.
More to come in January !