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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Obviously, the course of history must be changed

Well, even The Star is finally at a loss for words on aboriginal policy. Under an editorial titled Ottawa fumbling First Nations file they outline the usual litany of problems that underline the total failure of the paternalistic Trudeaupian catastrophe that they've been living under and then come up with this startling admission:

The problem is not the classroom, nor is it drug controls. It is a sense of hopelessness rooted in almost every government program and policy applied to Canada's aboriginal peoples over many years. It is systemic and its solutions cannot be found in any auditor's report. That is not to suggest we know of solutions. We don't.

Translation - for decades every time this issue has come up we've thundered for the government to throw money, welfare, social workers at them and embrace them in the crushing paternalistic Big Government hug while hurling charges of racism at any dissenters. And the government listened, followed our advice completely and now decades later even we realize it was an utter disaster and don't know what to do. Well if Liberal policies have been proven not to work, I suggest we give conservative policies a try. Tom Flanagan has outlined an excellent starting point in his book First Nations, Second Thoughts:

Over the last thirty years Canadian policy on Aboriginal issues has come to be dominated by an ideology that sees Aboriginal peoples as "nations" entitled to specific rights. Indians and Inuit now enjoy a cornucopia of legal privileges, including rights to self-government beyond federal and provincial jurisdiction, immunity from taxation, court decisions reopening treaty issues settled long ago, the right to hunt and fish without legal limits, and free housing, education, and medical care as well as other economic benefits [...] In First Nations? Second Thoughts Flanagan combines conceptual analysis with historical and empirical information to show that the Aboriginal orthodoxy is both unworkable and ultimately destructive to the people it is supposed to help.

So how about stop calling him a racist, read the book and start putting the policies into place. For that matter Jean Chretien's 1969 White Paper was probably his finest piece of work of forty years in public service. Too bad it was abandoned, it would have at least broken the pattern of sticking to policy proven to be a disaster. Thrity-five years later I don't think there's any need to change a single word from the introduction:

To be an Indian is to be a man, with all a man's needs and abilities.

To be an Indian is also to be different. It is to speak different languages, draw different pictures, tell different tales and to rely on a set of values developed in a different world. Canada is richer for its Indian component, although there have been times when diversity seemed of little value to many Canadians. But to be a Canadian Indian today is to be someone different in another way. It is to be someone apart - apart in law, apart in the provision of government services and, too often apart in social contacts. To be an Indian is to lack power - the power to act as owner of your lands, the power to spend your own money and, too often, the power to change your own condition.

Not always, but too often, to be an Indian, is to be without - without a job, a good house, or running water; without knowledge, training or technical skill and, above all, without those feelings of dignity and self-confidence that a man must have if he is to walk with his head held high. All these conditions of the Indians are the product of history and have nothing to do with their abilities and capacities. Indian relations with other Canadians began with special treatment by government and society, and special treatment has been the rule since Europeans first settled in Canada. Special treatment has made of the Indians a community disadvantaged and apart.

Obviously, the course of history must be changed.

To be an Indian must be to be free - free to develop Indian cultures in an environment of legal, social and economic equality with other Canadians.

I say we try it.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on November 25, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Tracked on 2004-11-26 9:45:43 AM


Face the truth, the Canadian civil service is completely incompetent, and in may cases on the take, Examples: Radwanski. Guite, and I would assume a lot more. DKT

Posted by: Keith Thomson | 2004-11-25 9:57:23 PM

"Canadian policy on Aboriginal issues has come to be dominated by an ideology that sees Aboriginal peoples as "nations" entitled to specific rights." -

That's not just the "policy" that's holding up your grand little assimilationist schemes -It's the legality of the situation, based on International Law covenants of which Canada is a signatory, the Constitution, and supporting case law in Canada. You can't just wish away the "rule of law", as convenient as it may be for some.

It's way too late for "First Nations, Second Thoughts".

The very best you people can hope for is "Canada, and the Commonwealth of 600 Nations" in upcoming years. If Aboriginals were given total autonomy over their resources and lands - there would be a free-market movement in Canada, the likes of which Tom Flanagan has never dreamed of.

Unfortunatley - nobody (including Conservatives) is ready to let it happen. It will though - sooner or later, whether you people like it or not.

Aboriginal people would at that point be free. More free than you tax-enslaved idiot Canadians.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-26 2:54:46 AM

Meeghan, laws are not carved in stone, they're passed in parliament. They don't work, we change 'em.

Being equal under the law is not assimilationist. Lots of groups retain their distinctive culture without being treated apart in law and governance.

Posted by: Kevin Jaeger | 2004-11-26 6:04:09 AM

Just to clarify MWW's position(s) for my fellow idiots:

(a) The rule of law prevents any change from the current state of affairs; and

(b) The rule of law does not prevent a radical departure from the current state of affairs.

The austere beauty of the logic makes my heart skip a beat.

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle | 2004-11-26 6:39:21 AM

And I wanna know how a scheme can be "grand" and "little" at the same time! Huh? Huh??

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-11-26 7:01:31 AM

Can't we Canadian non-natives ignore the "rule of law" established by these impressive sounding "International Law covenants" kind of like, er, the native groups do? I've always wanted to blockade something and name myself after pasta.

Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2004-11-26 9:31:15 AM

That Jean Chretien ... what a kidder!

Perhaps a well-meaning ADM slipped that paper past him in 1969 - the civil service was hardly bilingual by that time, and J.C. could barely understand English.

Meanwhile, Dalton is busy turning Ontario into the world's biggest Indian reserve ... minus the tax breaks. I'm sure it'll all end well.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-26 10:14:27 AM

"Meeghan, laws are not carved in stone, they're passed in parliament. They don't work, we change 'em."

Why do you suppose there is a section 25 and 35 of the Constitution? And do you ignorants really think that you could wipe out those provisions by a mere stroke of the pen, or election of a CRAP government? I almost would look forward to seeing Harper and Flanagan winning, just so we could watch them sheepishly change their position once the Justice lawyers brief them on the legal realities. That would be a hoot. We've already seen it with Gordo-and company here in BC.

If the Canadian government had the legal authority to play these kinds of assimilation games with Aboriginals, with total legal impunity, they would have done so.

Why do you idiots think that the Canadian Federal Government and Province of BC has spent 1/2 a billion dollars and change over the past 10 years to try and get Indians in BC to go along with the BC Treaty Process?

The Feds know, thanks to the oodles of lawyers working in Justice that Aboriginal Rights are a reality that can not be trifled with. Time and Time again, the courts have urged the Federal Government to go back to "negotiations" instead of litigation. Why? Because if the Natives keep going to court, on the basis of their legal claims, they will keep winning... more and more billions of dollars and the Courts as well as the government, as well as the Aboriginal Law specialists all know it.

The Canadian government might be able to attempt such a plan, but the lawsuits that Natives would be able to employ at that point would in a number of years easily bankrupt the Government for generations.

The Liberals have simply employed stop-gap measures over and over again to keep Aboriginals from going to court and doing this already. The system currently works by bribing the Elite Band Government officals into keeping their fellow Indians impoverished, dependent and unable to litigate effectively.

That's why corruption exists... the Indian Act System is designed to create briebable Puppet Chiefs who operate at the whim of the PMO.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-26 1:00:39 PM

"My grand little scheme"? How can a plan be both grand and little?

Ask the Sgt.Major of Monty Python about his efforts to get his company to March UP and DOWN the Square.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-26 1:02:37 PM

I don't know, MWW, all of those court decisions you so eagerly embrace were before "Kennewick Man" was released to science - I'm pretty sure in a few years, you're going to need a constitutional amendment so as to recognize the rights of Canada's "second" or "third" nations.

Posted by: Doofus | 2004-11-26 1:44:24 PM

And I wanna know how a scheme can be "grand" and "little" at the same time! Huh? Huh??

Grand in that they have sweeping consequences and pretend to be part of a greater, nobler vision. Little in that they seem ill conceived and narrow. Perhaps a small thing assuming undeserved grandure?

Posted by: KevinG | 2004-11-26 1:55:41 PM

"I don't know, MWW, all of those court decisions you so eagerly embrace were before "Kennewick Man" was released to science -"

Different Country - Different Courts, Different Constitution - Different Aboriginal people.

Kennewick Man does nothing to Coast Salish people's land claims, since Yale and Musqueum findings indicate carbon-dating going back, a 10,000 years.

Sorry dude.

We _were_ here first.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-26 5:55:12 PM

How can such a "radical departure" take place within the rule of law?

All of our multi-billion dollar lawsuits against the government of Canada (that will bankrupt it for generations) can just *poof* dissapear if the Canadian Goverment simply abides by it's own Constitution, and legal position under the International Law covenants that it is a signatory to, if they let Somena, Cowichan, Mohawks or whichever Aboriginal Peoples simply run our own free-zones on our reserves and in Aboriginal Title areas in our territory as we see fit.

No tax for white people _or_ indians on our lands, Duty Free Shopping and Commerce for all -- thank you very much! Which would also mean there would be no more need for poverty pimping dependence upon the DIA. Only losers would be assimilationist bigots, revenue Canada and the Indian Act Industry.

That's how. We already have a legal right to create these free-zones now. We just need an economic foundation to make sure we benefit from such a practice before we implement it.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-26 6:05:52 PM

Meaghan wrote: "We _were_ here first".

And I can hardly wait for the day that First Nations are wealthy enough to be sued for compensation for the damage and millions of deaths caused by introducing tobacco to European populations.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-27 9:24:25 AM

I dunno Kate. They brought the smokes, we brought the booze. I'd say we're even...

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-11-27 10:42:31 AM

Melvin Smith's book, 'Our Home Or Native Land?' published in 1996, uses a Gordon Gibson quote to good effect on the overall subject of race-based policy in Canada: "The greatest gift in our grant is to make someone an ordinary Canadian. Why should natives deserve any less?"

Marrying liberal guilt to the profits of a litigation industry have created a morass that only public outcry will change. Public discourse on this subject is vital but if we are scared off by crys of racism coming from the chattering classes then nothing will change, other than an accelerated descent into a bizarre official world where the descendants of aboriginal tribes, overwhelmed by new migrants centuries ago, will get the deed to this country.

Posted by: Barry Stagg | 2004-11-27 12:05:39 PM

"We were here first?" Well, probably not, actually. They jury's still out on that. Regardless, Canada is here now. Participate in it. Change it for the better. Stop whining about historical wrongs.

Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2004-11-27 4:15:36 PM

"We were here first?" Well, probably not, actually. "

Find me proof of prior occupation of the Musqueum and Yale sites then. Anything... some pottery shards, human remains, whatnot... just some small tiny bit of something resembling evidence that shows people living in Coast Salish territory at the Musqueum and Yale areas before 10-12,000 years ago that were not Coast Salish.

Until then - you can shut your ignorant pie-hole.
Present some ACTUAL FACTS... oh.. that's right. The Right-Whingers don't need or care about FACTS. They aren't in the "reality based community"

"They jury's still out on that."

Again..present just one tiny bit of evidence of NON Coast Salish people at Musqueum/Yale sites prior to 10-12,000 years. Anything will do.

" Regardless, Canada is here now."

Not for long Bucko! We've been around for thousands of years and I am more than sure, based on population trends that we will outbreed you Euros in 4-5 generations and then buy back all our land. Aboriginals will be the majority in BC by about 2050. You poor silly Euro Christian Conservatives are on a self-created population decrease death spiral. All we have to do is refuse to sign any treaties until we are in the majority, and it will no longer be an issue.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-11-28 5:26:14 AM

Meaghan "pie-hole" Williams - if it were my thread, you'd have your rear end deleted out of here and then some.

But here's a newsflash for you - a great many of we native Canadians could care less who was here "first". Because honey, unless your birthdate preceeds mine, you weren't.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-28 8:15:16 AM

I thought about deleting or editing her post, Kate.

But if you want evidence that intolerance and racial-supremist type thoughts are by no means limited to white people MWW appears happy to supply it.

Personally, I consider continental DNA origins to be of strictly academic interest, not something by which one arranges a society.

Posted by: Kevin Jaeger | 2004-11-28 8:31:17 AM

Um, not meaning to press an obvious point, but who is this "we" who was here first? Meaghan may be older than me, but I'm sure I can find some octagenarians who were "here" long before she was. Or does she think that Canada should be tiered based on which ethnic groups arrived first? (As a Norwegian, sign me up for that)! Middle Easterners (from, you know, Iran... not Hamilton) may be kind of getting the short end of the stick though.

Posted by: Lars Ormberg | 2004-11-28 11:17:33 AM

Meaghan wrote:

"We've been around for thousands of years and I am more than sure, based on population trends that we will outbreed you Euros in 4-5 generations and then buy back all our land.:

Seriously. You believe this? You actually think native population trends have that possibility - to outnumber non-native Canadians in a few generations? Wow.

"Just over 1.3 million people reported having at least some Aboriginal ancestry in 2001, representing 4.4 % of the total population. In 1996, people with Aboriginal ancestry represented 3.8 % of the total population."

That's from here:


I mean, a .6% rise in five years is pretty nice, I guess, but hardly portends an imminent swamping, considering other factors (immigration, the tendency for increased wealth and class mobility to inhibit larger families). You should tend to your math, Meaghan.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-11-28 12:30:39 PM

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