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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free speech takes a hit in B.C.

Recently I was browsing through the Halifax Metro newspaper, and was disappointed to read this short little article:


What's beyond belief is that this is a news story to begin with. For one, it's sad that a B.C. chief is picking on a blogger. What's more sad is that his words are considered "inflammatory and discriminatory" to aboriginal people.

Apparently it's a "slap in the face of First Nations people" to list off some of the many things the Europeans brought to Canada. Let me be the first to support Rachel Marsden - for free speech, and for being right.

[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]

Posted by Dane Richard on October 24, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


@ Ed Ellison:

I don't disagree with the bulk of your assessment.

What I differ on, and think matters most, is that a) Change per se is of course a constant and not necessarily bad;
b) The change we get from here on out matters, and it can't be the change the Rachel Marsdens of this world want;
c) We can still embrace change, AND look to restore true small l liberal values. Laurier would thank us ;-)

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-25 7:40:28 PM

An excellent example of the Buddhist story of a person looking into a mirror and not liking what he sees. The moral is that we can only change ourselves.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-10-25 8:26:14 PM

John, I've known about and have used The Advocates website for about 4 years. In fact I still have two or three hundred of those World's Smallest Political Quiz cards, and one of those huge posters as well. So yeah, you don't need to educate me on that.

Still, I don't follow it to the grave like you seem to. Just because a website says something doesn't mean you can't make your own judgments and decisions on classifying ideologies. That being said the closest thing I have read that is also fairly objective is "Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal" by Ball, Dagger, Christian, and Campbell.

I doubt you can see through the fog of your purist ideology, but the website is biased. I love it as much as the next guy but it doesn't take a genius to figure out the makers are hardline libertarians themselves.

I consider myself (if you want to be specific), a social and fiscal conservative, with a hint of libertarianism. I'm partial to high church conservatism over low church conservatism. I'm pro-life, pro-gun, pro-total free speech, anti-politically correct, anti-progressivism. You get the point.

Posted by: Dane Richard | 2009-10-25 8:42:18 PM

@ Dane

Pro life? Are you also pro war like most Conservatives?

As a self-identified conservative, do you acknowledge that conservatism is statist, and that what is being "conserved" is social democracy and keynesianism?

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-25 9:04:42 PM

I'm not pro-war. I'm actually pretty non-interventionist with foreign policy. Like Ron Paul, I supported going after bin Laden but don't care much for the Iraq war or Afghanistan war.

No I don't acknowledger that conservatism is statist. I think that has more to do with the individual. I know "statist" conservatives and liberals, as well as "individualist" conservatives and liberals.

What's being conserved is tradition and values, among other things. Progressives on the other hand believe values and morality change with the times.

I don't get why you think Keynesianism has anything to do with conservatism. It really doesn't. You seem to base everything off one policy Harper wouldn't have even enacted given it been normal economic times. For God's sake stop beating a dead horse.

Posted by: Dane Richard | 2009-10-25 9:34:26 PM

@ John Collison " a) Change per se is of course a constant and not necessarily bad "

Naturally under most circumstances, this would be the ideal. However, what rankles the majority of people who are attracted to writers like Marsden and her ilk, is that they feel that there has been too much change, and it has been neither good for them or their country.
A lot of the subjects that Marsden et al expound upon have more than a grain of truth to them, which explains a lot of the appeal.
This could be the first sign of a major grassroots-based swing to the right.

As for your other two points, I could not agree more.

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2009-10-25 11:09:16 PM

@ Dane

Again, one is defined by the policies chosen in BAD times, not good.

Keynesianism, or rather neokeynesianism, is THE defining economic issue of our time. It is central to all social democratic governments and parties, and this now includes the Conservative policy.

It is as potentially lethal to the Western "capitalist" economies as outright state ownership of the economy was to Communist countries.

A little keynesianism in bad times leads to a little keynesianism in good times, then to a whole lot of keynesianism in the inevitably worse times, and so on to the present.

As long as Conservatives practise keynesianism, they are the enemy, period.

But because they are keynesian, they have rendered themselves redundant.

Opposing keynesianism is no dead horse -- but the economic and political horse you are riding is.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-26 12:32:41 AM

Is this the same Marden that was up for stalking? Clearly if it is she does have some hang ups. Colonialism calls hate mongering free speech. And when anyone speaks outside of the majority using their free speech, they are hate mongering. Minorities, when they seek their rights are coming into parity, while those of the dominant majority are just adding to their huge advantages in society, so you tell me where the injustice is? Its easy to twist things to your benefit, try giving people who have little the benefit of the doubt. And maybe then justice will reign, and we will progress socially. Issues like this point to the real ways things are in Canada. Indeed something to learn from.

Posted by: CMax | 2009-10-27 6:58:36 AM

Why is it that when anyone says anything about Natives, it is labelled racist? That alone pretty much ends the discussion, especially with those in the public light. They can't state that the current system is in shambles because they can't be seen as "racist" . It is a pretty sad state of affairs in Canada when everyone knows that what we have is not working, it is a perpetual money drain and there is zero accountability for Natives and their bureaucrats. Yet no one can say anything about it because that would be racist.

Posted by: Bret | 2009-10-28 2:37:56 PM

@ Bret

Nobody is discussing whether or if "saying anything about Natives" is racist or not.

Next time, read the blog entry and the comments that follow. Then comment.

Posted by: JC | 2009-10-28 7:14:16 PM

I did read the article, the blog and all the comments that followed. Is the article not about a Indian chief that thinks a blogger is being discriminatory against first nations for writing something about them that contradicts the politically correct "first nations can do no wrong its all your fault" policy put forward by politicians and Natives?

As for the blog entries most are not actually about the article but how much of a nazi, racist and evil person the individual who wrote it are. The blogger says at the end of his entry that he supports the bloggers right to say what she did and for it being right. So how is discussing what was said in the article posted against your rules for discussing what was posted?

Anyway, natives and politicians use the race card whenever they wish to shut someone up. This is what the Native chief referred to in the article is trying to do. No matter if the opinion in the article was right or wrong this is done to end debate. To keep people from questioning the waste, abuse and outright theft in the current system of dealing with natives.

Posted by: Bret | 2009-10-29 12:33:22 PM

Absolutely right Bret.
It is this kind of PC that has a lot of otherwise docile citizenry riled up. Especially when one realizes the huge pile of money thrown away for no apparent reason.

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2009-10-29 4:11:15 PM


"Playing the race card" is the last refuge of the damned when being criticized for legitimate reasons.

Rachel Marsden was criticizing the Canadian government for using First Nations cultural iconography to hype the (illegitimate) Winter Olympics.

Marsden went on to concoct a crock of shit revisionist take on how worthless the Indians were 'til "we" (the British Empire) came to civilize them with "GOVERNMENT" and "DISCIPLINE, ORDER, AND CAPITALISM"

Marden's screed is hardly legit. Hence objection to it can not be dismissed as "playing the race card."

The natives were NOT taught Capitalism, (who in Canada is?) -- they were largely EXCLUDED from it via racist segregation known as RESERVES.

Just because a first nations chief (or spokesperson) cries racism does not mean there is no racism at issue. The fact most native leaders have cried wolf on the subject so long and so often is besides the point.

The system most Canadians object to was not the creation of Indians. The reserve system was the creation of racist Canadian imperialists and colonialists -- more aptly described as fascists -- that Marsden seeks to glorify in support of her 21st century fascist agenda.

Marsden is not so much un-PC as she is uncivilized and ugly. To come away from this particular post believing Marsden's right to free speech is at risk because some victimologist professional Indian complainer is calling down state sanctions upon her could not BE more wrong.

I happen to believe that Canadian Natives are being ILL served by the same Canadian State that did so much to wipe them out. Their cultural symbols have been co-opted as part of a festival of fascism that is a direct inheritance from the imperial colonial era that nearly eradicated First Nations...

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-30 1:04:09 AM


I agree, however playing the race card is also the first refuge for natives and bureaucrats.

The Native culture it seems makes good photo ops for tourists but other than that the only ones that care are the natives who get government money for it and the bureaucrats who get larger budgets to fund it. There are many other cultures who helped build this country which celebrate their own heritage but we don't get it shoved down our throats at every turn and then get told to pay for it all.

That is her opinion and probably some others. Thats what makes Canada great she can express it even if you, I or an indian chief dislike it. As soon as a discussion involves Natives the race card gets pulled if you disagree with whatever their point of view happens to be.

Free enterprise was probably more prolific with the Natives in the past because if you did not work you died. Now they are more socialist than Capitalist. Taking from the working and give to them. First being on a reserve does not exclude anyone from anything. There are no taxes, government money being thrown at them at every turn, government jobs, free housing, free university etc. Second, No one is forcing them to be there. If life is so terrible with all the free stuff then leave. Make a living like other people.
I do agree that the reserve system is segregation. The natives would have been assimilated into Canadian society long ago (like every other culture that moved here) if it was not for the reserve system. The reserve system is/has been a failure since conception. Is it government mismanagement or Native greed. Probably both. Everyone knows that it doesn't work but if the subject is brought up Canadians (especially politicians) back up hands in the air like it was someone with the plague. For fear they will be called a racist for questioning it.
You are always going to have racists when discussing any ethnic issue but this biased, money wasting, don't question it system only breeds more racism. It obviously isn't working for Canada or the Natives. Look at how the prison population rates break down by ethnic group per capita. Look at the who uses the homeless shelters. Look at the cost of running the current system to taxpayers. Etc.

It is not beside the issue that they have cried wolf repeatedly. That is exactly the issue. Anytime a discussion is brought up they pull the race card.

I agree that the indians didn't create it. But now that it is obvious that it does not work why can't we discuss changes without being labeled a racist or promoting racism?

The only people that gain by the current system are the governments both the indians chiefs and councils and the federal bureaucrats.

I am not saying Rachel was right, but that what she wrote is her opinion and she has the right to print it. Just like we have the right not to read it. Until her or others like her get labelled racist and no newspaper, magazine or website will touch them with a ten foot pole. At least it is not shoved down our throat everyday like "Native Culture".

Posted by: Bret | 2009-10-30 7:05:30 PM


I LIKE native culture. I just don't think it should be pimped out by the same State that tried to destroy it, in service of a world view that is antithetical to native culture itself.

Many libertarians and "conservatives" complain of the damage done to children in public schools. Well, the Residential School system Indians were pushed through was exponentially worse.

I see the damage public schools have done to Canadian society, indeed I am aware of the garbage I picked up going through that system myself.

We HAVE the socialist system we do because of the public schools.

80% of Canadians can not free their minds from that system. Yet we expect the native population to emerge from the Hell on Earth the Canadian Welfare State has created for them unscathed, and slip into a suit and tie.

Yet despite being born into a system, and to a tremendous degree, a society designed to marginalize them, many manage to succeed anyway.

During my university and sports obsessed days, I worked several factory and other diverse jobs. In most of them, I worked with a number of natives. There was no difference in aptitude or work ethic among a single one of them. But these guys were not in the Ottawa owned and operated Indian INdustry. Yet they are judged by most Canadians as if they were.

The Natives IN the Indian Industry are no different than the multi culti socialists of "mainstream" Canada. Fortunately, average Canadians are not all judged as if they were part of the socialist elite. So let's make the effort to acknowledge the same of the average Canadian Indian.

The reserve system in Canada was and is racist and fascist and has been a system of decivilization for Indians AND Canadians.

Left alone, with their own land rights respected, Indians would have integrated voluntarily to various degrees, without the unspeakable evil that was, in most cases, the Residential Schools system. The very existence of the Metis proves this. History witnessed it in many cases, the case of Chief Peguis in Manitoba being just one example.

The British, American, and Canadian States went about wiping out the Indians' diet, culture, economy, and land rights. If they couldn't kill them, they'd bribe or buy them or their "leaders". The system is alive and well today, metamorphosized and metastasized for the 21st Century.

When a crone like Rachel Marsden, who has never read a book in her life, comes along to tell us "how it was" and "how it oughtta be" from her uniquely stupid fascist POV, I don't wish to censor her, I wish to ID her and thereafter ignore her.

They say a stopped clock is right twice a day; well, even the Indian Industry Indians are right about Rachel Marsden ALL the time.

The good news is that Marsden identifies herself as a conservative. Most conservatives aren't sure what to make of that.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-30 7:57:44 PM


Well you probably know more about Native culture than most natives I have met. Most just pay it lip service in order to A) get more money from the government, B) Blackmail more money from industry. If the state didn't sponsor it then it would probably die.

I agree residential schools were bad, so were a lot of the other church run schools up until the present day.

I agree that the school system is poor. Run by unions, not sure what else to expect. Residential schools ended when? Most of the natives under 40 have never been to one, so what is their excuse?

I am guilty of judging as well I admit. If I see a successful Native In the back of my mind I am thinking" how much government money did he receive to get where he is, how many tax breaks, how many free houses, how much free education, did he deserve the job or was there a quota, did his family threaten a road block if he didn't get the contract etc.".

Most government funded jobs should be judged equally whether native or not, I agree.

I agree we should have let them assimilate.

I agree the same stupid system is in place today.

I have seen you Id her repeatedly but not ignore her.

She may well have different views from most people and its her right to express them. Wouldn't a discussion about her points and why they are wrong be a lot more constructive than "Id'ing her as a facist, racist, idiot, etc? The first and usually only tool in the box for most is calling them a racist, ending the discussion and moving on.

Posted by: Bret | 2009-10-31 5:20:38 PM


Most natives under 40 are still refugees from 200 years of statist abuse. They simply have more to do than the rest of us in terms of breaking out of the socialist rat trap we were all born into.

Summing it up: "(We're) all Indians, now" -- Russell Means, Lakotah Elder, actor, and anarchist

The best case against Rachel Marsden is her collection of columns.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-10-31 5:31:29 PM

Bret, you cannot expect a rational discussion when dealing with people limited to dogma. In this case, anyone who cites problems within the native community is racist, just as anyone who with reason rejects Rousseau' s noble savage idea.

While the reserve system was established by Europeans, the fact remains that every attempt to end it brings screams of bloody-murder from the natives, in particular the professional natives. Sorry but you cannot have it both ways; playing the oppressed card and then rejecting every invitation to join the rest of Canadian society.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-10-31 8:20:26 PM

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