The Shotgun Blog
Monday, June 16, 2008
Lemieux: A Fraudulent Apology
In his weekly column, Pierre Lemieux attacks the federal government and its hypocritical apology to aboriginal Canadians who participated in the residential schools program. The government may have something to apologize about, but it has no right to apologize on behalf of the rest of us who have done nothing wrong.
Here is an excerpt:
"The apology is marred by many problems typical of today’s state-talk. The first problem lies in what is identified as wrong with the programme...The basic wrong was not the underlying negative value judgment on aboriginal “cultures and traditions”, but the coercive removal of children from their families.
The few reported cases of violence and sexual abuse were just a natural consequence of the original state coercion.
Kidnapping children for public policy purposes continues. It is not generally based on race, but it still feeds on faddish ideas and relies on state coercion. Parents who do not raise their children as the state thinks they should routinely see them seized by “child protection” agencies.
Perhaps it can be argued that the current statocrats in Parliament and in public bureaucracies have, by participating in Power, assumed some responsibility for the state’s crimes, and that they should pay for it. But the Indian residential programme has nothing to do with you and I. Associating us with the statocrats’ apology is a fraud."
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lemieux: A Fraudulent Apology:
"...aboriginal Canadians who participated in the residential schools program."
Aboriginal Canadians did not "participate" in this program. They were shamefully coerced into the program.
While I agree with Lemieux's primary point, the apology helped to bring attention to an historical abuse by the government. And that's always a good thing in my mind.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-06-16 11:03:54 AM
Blackwater v. Plint,  3 S.C.R. 3, 2005 SCC 58
“Held: B’s appeal is dismissed. Canada’s appeal is allowed in part.”
“First, the language of the provisions uses the permissive term “may”, as opposed to the directive term “shall”, limiting the possibility of finding an obligation as strong as a duty.”
“Second, the power of the government to enter into agreements with religious organizations for the care and education of Indian children suggests that the duty is eminently delegable and was contracted out of by the government.”
“First, in the absence of evidence that B’s family difficulties prior to coming to the school had exacerbated the damage B suffered from the sexual assaults he sustained at the school, the trial judge had no choice but to attempt to isolate those traumas and to confine damages to only those arising from the actionable torts, the sexual assaults.”
“Second, to permit damages to be awarded for wrongful acts that are subject to limitation periods that have expired would subvert the legislation and compensate for torts that have been alleged but not proven. It would be to override legislative intent, and fix liability in the absence of legal proof.”
Why are the churches making the reparations as in the USA? Why has the media missed this deception.
How can you certify as a class action statute barred (invalid or out of time) claims (attendance only)? The mysteries of the courts. Why are lawyers paid millions for filing statute barred claims? Those sneaky liberals.
Government of Canada Contracts
Sep 18, 2007- 1 @ $2,505,944 U of S Prof Daniel R Ish
Nov 05, 2007- 43 @ $1,580,776 Various
Trade Agreement- WTO-AGP/NAFTA/AIT
Commodity- Legal Services or Adjudication Services
Client Department Office- Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada
Total of Contracts $70,479,312
If the Crown was going to just pay the billions out for the alleged past wrongs, then this could have been done 10 years ago without the huge lawyer expense. Why are the taxpayers paying and not the contracted churches that committed the abuses as was the case in the USA. The churches and lawyers are the big individual winners.
Interesting Note: The Presbyterian Church is named in fewer than two percent of the 12,000 outstanding claims. The United Church is named in eight percent, the Anglican Church in approximately eighteen percent and the Roman Catholic Church in 72 percent.
Posted by: Guess What | 2008-06-16 11:07:39 AM
Kudos to Mr. Lemieux for such an objective coverage of the issue. Sorry Matthew but not all native children were sent to these schools against their family's wishes. For those who were I agree it was wrong just as it is wrong to-day for the state to disregard the parents' wishes for their children's education.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-06-16 11:33:52 AM
Lemieux wrote: "Instead of 'killing the Indian in the child', as the opposition leaders parroted about the residential school programme, today’s state education kills the free man in the child."
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-06-16 11:40:57 AM
The government is consistent in locking "scary" people up. The natives, MJ smokers, brown people in general. The trick is to get the gullible people afraid of everything then remove everyone's rights. The neo-cons will be the victims of their own juvenile fears. I notice that no one fears the government, though.
Posted by: No state | 2008-06-16 11:53:42 AM
Regarding the Indians, despite the abuses, how many of them would have learned to read and write on their reservations? The question for today is, do we want to keep them segregated and ignorant? Or do we need to bring them into the larger modern community where they can learn to earn a living and hook up with the rest of civilization?
Which will it be ... apartheid or integration?
I am aware that Toronto has given up trying to integrate it's black population and is opting for segregation staring with schools. What's next ... washrooms, seating on buses?
Canada has become a nut house run by the stupidest batch of politicians since the Trudeau era.
It looks like about every two or three generations we should kill all the politicians and start over from scratch. Then those weasels can spend the next two or three generations lying and cheating and destroying our freedoms. Just like any other cycle of life, we must continually renew. If only ...
Posted by: John West | 2008-06-16 12:01:08 PM
"Participated" vs. "coerced"? Hmm, I don't recall having a choice about going to school as a kid?
Posted by: Elmo | 2008-06-16 12:07:11 PM
No State - sorry but the guilty ones are liberal fascists, nothing in common with the "neo-cons". Other than that big mistake, I agree with you comment. However the victims are not limited to non-whites and MJ smokers.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-06-16 1:38:03 PM
As I note in this week's opinion column for Father's Day, Canada's official position is that "parents don't have rights" in relation to their children. Thus a judge may take custody of a child away from a parent whenever s/he believes it is in the best interest of the child to be taken away. If the judge gets it wrong, as they so often do, the child has absolutely no remedy. How is the residential school situation materially different?
We all intuitively see the problem with this official position when aboriginal children are taken away from their parents and abused in religious schools. When will the government rectify the problem when children are judicially snatched from their fathers and then alienated from them by their mothers (with the blessing of the courts)? When can we see the laws changed to prevent this, and compensation paid for past wrongs?
Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-06-16 2:37:13 PM
I agree with Matthew that an apology was the right thing to do. Did we have to establish residential schools? Certainly not, properly conducted negotiations could have placed culturally sensitive teachers within native communities. As a non-native living in Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands I attended a school that was taught by one of the most loving and organized women I have ever met. Most of the students were from the Haida village of Old Masset. My memory is faulty (I was seven to eight years old) but keen enough to remember a class where she taught the older students and they taught us in a classroom that was productive. Some of those Haida students went on to university. I went back in 1989 and caught us with some of them. Well trained native teachers could have bridged the gap. Would it be difficult? Yes it would, but possible.
Posted by: DML | 2008-06-16 11:40:04 PM
a) The apology cost the canadian people nothing and creates all sorts of intangible benefits IMHO. I think people who whine about how the apology was "on behalf of all Canadians" are being contrarian just for the sake of being contrarian.
b) Saying that the state still kidnaps children and that's why the apology is hypocritical is, IMHO, a red herring. The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that the apology is for federal action, and does not apply to actions by other levels of government. For example, the apology and the related settlement does not apply to residential schools operated by provincial governments. As far as I know, the federal government is not in the habit of "kidnapping" children via child welfare agencies and children's aid societies, as that is a provincial responsibility.
c) My only beef with this apology is how the provincial governments have been left off the hook for their complicity in the residential schools problem. After all, it was the provincial governments that prohibited first nations children from attending public schools on the argument that first nations were a federal responsibility. The federal government, rightly or wrongly, decided that it would be more cost-effective to hand the responsibility of education first nations children over to the churches rather than running schools itself. It bothers me that this aspect of the story hasn't been told.
Posted by: Anonymous | 2008-06-17 7:16:35 AM
anonymous: "The federal government, rightly or wrongly, decided that it would be more cost-effective to hand the responsibility of education first nations children over to the churches rather than running schools itself. It bothers me that this aspect of the story hasn't been told."
I've mentioned this aspect, too, in nearly every post I've made on this issue. Funny, isn't it, that the churches WHO WERE ASKED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ADMINISTER AND TEACH IN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS are now getting it in the jugular. The churches were involved in the residential schools ON BEHALF OF ALL CANADIANS BECAUSE THAT WAS THE GOVERNMENT POLICY OF THE DAY.
'Notice, the federal government didn't ask the corporate sector to run and provide teachers for these schools. No, it was the churches that were asked and, probably because they were already established in Native communities, they consented. Most of the staff of these schools worked for a pittance, under very trying circumstances, and most of the staff members were compassionate and altruistic. Sadly, there's usually a percentage of sadists and abusers in every population.
As I've said in other posts, if it is proven that a staff member abused Native children, the book should be thrown at them. Abuse of any Native child in these schools is unacceptable. But, to tar and feather ALL staff members of residential schools is also an abuse, and to measure disciplinary actions of 100 years ago by our standards today is a fool's game.
As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished." It would seem apt vis a vis the churches being sued for some very good work they did educating Native children in English, so that they could go on to higher education and to having a shot at being competitive in North American society.
Another issue that isn't dealt with is the fact that it is NOT Native Canadians who sued the church for residential schools; it was the federal government, wanting to share the blame--and the financial responsibility--who opened the law suits to include churches. Jean Chretien (ironically, his name means "Christian": Cretin is more apt) was the villain. A terrific irony is that the first Anglican diocese to have gone bankrupt is the almost-exclusively Native Diocese of the Caribou, which had a Native Bishop.
Posted by: batb | 2008-06-17 12:07:18 PM
Alain: Big gov't is big gov't. Call it neo-con, fascist, liberal or cotton candy for all I care.
Posted by: No State | 2008-06-17 10:28:58 PM
I am glad our Government did this to lead by example. Israel should follow our lead and apologize to Palestine for International war crimes.
Posted by: G-Men | 2008-06-20 8:09:05 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.