The Conservative government and first nation leaders have agreed to transform the schools, economies, and quality of life on reserves across Canada.

On the surface, it appears that a fresh cooperative approach is being taken by both the government and first nations to work as partners on these vitally important matters, rather than continuing with the one-sided approach that has been shoved down the throats of the aboriginal population for so many years.

However, the responsibility for success will rely on courageous leadership from both groups so that the fear and mistrust of the past are not allowed to hi-jack this initiative into another series of costly time wasting confrontations with personal agendas being put ahead of what is best for the aboriginal community and the youth in particular.

I congratulate both government and first nations leaders for embarking on this challenge, but I also warn them to be aware that time is of the essence. If, in the words of National Chief Atleo, significant change is not soon “felt, tasted, and experienced” by a young, restless, and growing aboriginal population, they may take things into their own hands and begin to agitate in unpredictable ways for an Aboriginal Spring just as their Arab counterparts are doing today.