First Nations Chiefs spent almost $100,000 on their first meeting with Premier Jacques Parizeau, but he decided not to show up at the last moment.
Chiefs had already postponed their general assembly to accommodate Parizeau.
The premier didn’t attend because his advisor, David Cliche, was worried his boss would end up getting embarassed by questions about sovereignty. Cliche explained: “Like a moose does in a case like this, he waits and in his great wisdom he takes the time to see things coming.” Regional Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations said Parizeau wanted “a guarantee of success” and didn’t want to have to defend sovereignty. Cliche reportedly asked Chief Picard to give him an estimate in percentages—“80 to 85 per cent?”—of the likelihood of a successful meeting.
Chief Picard said at a press conference that First Nations are tired of having no access to the premier, who is also acting as Native Affairs Minister. “If he thinks the position is too much for him, he should give it to someone else,” he said.
Chief Picard said Chiefs “want the accessibility with the minister of Native affairs that we have with other ministers. We don’t want to have to deal with Mr. Cliche.” “Who the hell is the minister of Native affairs, Jacques Parizeau or David Cliche?” asked Kahnawake Chief Billy Two Rivers in The Montreal Gazette.
“He (Parizeau) triumphantly took the responsibility of Native affairs and he had been in office for nine months, but we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him.”