"If you behave and you're sober and there's no problems and if you don't do a sit-down and whatever, I don't care," Lannigan said. "One of them showed up the other day and was drinking."
"Are you calling me an alcoholic?" asked Matchewan.
"I'm not calling you an alcoholic, no," Lannigan said. "It was just to say that you're in a federal office. If you're coming in to negotiate, I expect, there's decorum that has to be respected."
This is what I'm seeing, based on these quotes.
Lannigan, having had someone arrive drinking previously, specified for future contacts to be sober. Does race play a part in this? If someone shows up at a meeting I'm holding and they're drinking, I would consider it reasonable to insist that it doesn't happen again. What does race have to do with it? It just happens that the people involved are First Nations.
Then we have Matchewan asking, "Are you calling me an alcoholic?" Where did that come from? She was clearly referring to someone else who showed up drinking. Why does Matchewan jump to accusing her of calling him an alcoholic? Why is he internalizing her statement? Was he the one who showed up drinking? I don't get that impression, but I suppose it's possible.
Lannigan restates her position; "If you're coming in to negotiate, I expect, there's decorum that has to be respected." What's unreasonable about that?
Later on, Matchewan is quoted as saying:
In fact, the title of the article I'm quoting from is Natives Insulted to the Core. Thing is, if race had never been mentioned, there's nothing in the comments made that would've made me think "native." There are plenty of idiots out there who drink at inappropriate times, and it isn't limited to any racial group. If the person who showed up drinking were from some other ethnic group, I don't doubt Lannigan would have made the same stipulation. Showing up for negotiations while drinking is just plain stupid, and stupidity is pretty universal.
"Our whole community feels insulted," he said. "We went there to try to talk to Mr. Cannon about issues we feel are important and he totally ignored us. And then to hear what Ms. Lannigan said, well, that was very insulting to me."
Is it just me, or are these people going out of their way to be insulted? If they're going to be pissed at anyone, shouldn't it be the person who showed up previously while drinking? They're complaining that they're not being taken seriously. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe it's because some dufus showed up with a bottle! I'd be hard pressed to take anyone seriously if they did that. The fact that the others with him (her?) didn't do something to stop that person before hand is a reflection on them, too.
Or am I totally off base here?