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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Today, Labrador...

It's interesting that when the Liberals are called upon to develop a democratic system from scratch, rather than being handed one ready made from the motherland, they come up with something that excludes members of the community from participation in the top levels of government based solely on their ethnicity. This is what has happened with the latest addition to the ranks of Canada's heavily subsidized self-governing native territories, Nunatsiavut, in northern Labrador. Never fear, though, non-Inuits will still be able to vote for community leaders, just as long as they don't get too big for their britches and try to run for higher office themselves. Maybe this is a pilot project. On a national level, how about letting conservatives vote, as long as they don't try to run candidates?

[Occams' Carbuncle]

Posted by Alan Rockwell on May 27, 2004 | Permalink


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You don't get it. This is the gulag-system of Canada's reservation - simply applied to a much larger scale. Why is there corruption, waste and mismanagement of Indian Act governments? Because the way the DIA funding system works - approximatley 85% of the money "spent on indians" is gobbled up by corrupt bureacrats in ottawa, and corrupt politicians on the reserve - leaving approximatley 15% of that money to supply services to 85% of the people.

And of course they don't want to jeopardize this process by allowing non-indians to participate - because non-indians probably wouldn't be as mired in the slime as the 30 year career politicians and bureacrats in Indian Affairs and Band Councils.

I wonder what kind of sick little blood-quantum formula they have come up with to determine who is "Inuit"-enough to be a politician.

I quote from the article

"Both Inuit and non-Inuit residents will be able to vote for and serve as councillors on community governments, but non-Inuit will not be able to serve as community leaders"

Well - you should count your lucky stars. It looks like this was one of the "Domestic Land Claims" deal. Which means - those voting to approve this scam - have ceded forever and ever their right to redress under international law covenants which would have allowed them a lot more freedom, soverignty and given them even more authority to regulate and tax than they will ever get under a "land claims" process.

Poor dumb shlubs. They think they just hit the jackpot with the Federal Government granting them "self-government". What they bought was a welfare-state in perpetuity.

I wonder if they have any idea what they just lost.

Posted by: Meaghan Walker-Williams | 2004-05-27 10:49:52 AM

Think of native self-government as being a question of property rights, not of democracry, and you'll see them differently. If I've inherited a few hectares from my parents, don't I have a right to keep trespassers out, or to charge people for logging my trees? Of course, the rights pursued in land claims agreements are not so clear cut.

The specific voting arrangement here is like a municipal government in which both the owners and the renters get to vote, but only a landlord can become mayor. Is that really so unfair? It would be nice to see what the opinion is of the non-natives who live in the area, or up in the Nisga'a lands where such a system has been tried.

Of course, the federal Department of Indian Affairs is a massive bureaucratic boondoggle. Taking power away from Ottawa, and putting it in the hands of the local residents; replacing grants and subsidies with property rights; encouraging local economic development rather than long-term welfare dependency: those are goals that a conservative can support.

Posted by: Marc | 2004-05-27 12:00:14 PM

"The specific voting arrangement here is like a municipal government in which both the owners and the renters get to vote, but only a landlord can become mayor. Is that really so unfair?"

Yikes. Yes. That is really so unfair. I believe we did away with the system where only landowners could be part of the government some time ago.

Posted by: alan | 2004-05-27 12:18:43 PM

Ok, a better example than municipal government: Consider a condominium, with a strata council. Some of the residents own their own units, others rent from the real owners. Even if all the residents get to vote for the strata council, maybe some positions are restricted to owners.

I've never lived in a condo myself, but I think normally renters don't have rights with the council at all.

Posted by: Marc | 2004-05-27 2:47:02 PM


While I do see your point, I don't think the analogy holds here. In this case the "renters" were citizens with full democratic rights up until yesterday. Today, they've been downgraded to second class citizens because a "condo" has been built up around them and they don't have the right colour skin to be considered owners. No two tier democracy, thanks.

Posted by: alan | 2004-05-27 3:40:01 PM

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