Friends, one of the things which happen in a PhD setting is that you usually have a tonne or two of reading to do.

Towards the end of my regular coursework we were assigned a total of 120 textbooks to read. You had to be able to talk intelligently about these, along with all the mountain of backup reference material, to put it all into scope.

What this is all about is to teach you to think critically about the issues at hand, that is to find and use the guiding principles at play.

You are then able to put it into practice, to focus on what is going on around you. For instance, the change in leadership in the North, with more women in the Legislative Assembly, on the outside, looks to be a good thing, especially since this has been favoured as the way to go.

What is surprising is that we now have a new woman premier, in the person of Caroline Cochrane, a Metis from northern Alberta.

This early on I was especially glad to read a piece about her from News/North’s Nick Pearce.

Whilst I was pleasantly surprised that she got in rather than the Old Boy’s Club favourite, the reporter’s note that she herself was caught off guard to the point of not having a speech prepared, is something we need to be aware of.

The ‘progressive’ leadership she keeps touting could mean anything, and one someone new to any politics will usually use, to give you the idea that things are going to change. In this case, balancing your father’s mining books and a few questioned portfolios in northern government does not quite cut the bannock and lard.

What people want more is a proven record. Even the former premier, an entire career bureaucrat, was long on support for Big Oil, when everything else in the economy failed to back it up.

When you think on it, this is the way colonialism works. The real boss in any case is in Ottawa, where the big bucks come from. We in the North are more or less toeing the line, even with the Dene Nation, the new president a former MLA. Say what you will of the former, Bill Erasmus, but he never worked a day in his life for government.

The title for this particular column, Remembering Tomorrow; From SDS to Life After Capitalism, being the memoirs of a political renegade, Michael Albert, is more along the lines of what we need, a real progressive.

His book takes us back to a time when leadership was something you put it all on the line for, when the only thing a desk was good for was to grab a bite at or sit on.

At the time of Albert’s writing, though, the lines were more clearly drawn. The Vietnam War was still raging, with body bags hauling young soldiers back daily from the front and revolution everywhere.

Yet, now, with climate change, racism and colonialism to deal with, we still have our chance to save what we do have. “Progressive” or not we have work to do. Mahsi, thank you.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at

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