I am a (disgusted) Witness

witness2I’ve been following the proceedings at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which is examining the way that services for First Nations children are (under)funded. This is the last week; closing arguments. I’ve also spent some time reading some, although far from all, of the documents which have been posted.

Right now, I have the Federal Government of Canada’s closing arguments open on my screen while I wait for today’s proceedings  to start.  The cons have tried repeatedly to derail the hearings – one can see that just by having a look at the list of available documents on the site, never mind the media coverage. Anyway, their closing arguments are pretty much as one might expect – focused on the same sort of technicalities and BS that they’ve argued all the way through. I can sum it up for you though: we shouldn’t have to do the right thing and provide First Nations kids with the same levels of support and funding as other kids in Canada because we don’t wanna and you can’t make us.

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.

This whole thing reminds me of my experience after a car accident years ago – decades now, I guess. Another driver spun out of control and slammed into me in my lane, sending me a very long way into a field. Totalled my car, and my back – at one point, my doctor very nonchalantly told me “Oh, you’ll probably never work again” (like it was no big deal). Anyway …. at first the insurance company was oh so supportive – but of course, that didn’t last, and soon I was spending so much time and energy fighting them and trying to survive and keep a roof over my kids’ heads that there was little energy left for anything else. So much time & energy that I could have been spending on finding new ways to do things, getting better, and getting back to work all lost – and in the end, they lost, so saved not one red cent. In fact, it cost them a heck of a lot more than supporting me in my efforts would have.

It seems to me that this is exactly what the cons are doing: spending millions of dollars fighting Aboriginal communities. Land claims, environmental issues, funding for education, programs, etc etc – everything is a court case, and the only people who are benefitting are the lawyers. Mr. Harper stood up and made The Apology for Residential Schools – and apparently, in his mind, that was to be the end of Canada’s responsibilities to Aboriginal people in Canada. We’re off the hook now, and nothing further is required.

Which is, of course, complete and utter BS. We have obligations under treaties, under the Indian Act, and under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Oh, and under International Declarations as well: Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Canada signed on to that one, but doesn’t like it), Rights of the Child, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and so on….

But instead of meeting its obligations, and hey, here’s a thought, supporting First Nations communities to overcome the serious challenges that remain as a result of our long-standing nonsense (The Indian Act, residential schools, under-funding, assimilation efforts, etc etc etc) and actually following through on

“its commitment to build on a positive and productive relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to improve the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians, based on our shared history, respect, and a desire to move forward together” (Canada’s Statement of Support on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; November 12, 2010)

all they’re doing is chopping funding right, left and centre, and dragging every last possible issue into one court, tribunal or another, so that all the lawyers can make money. It seems to be their job creation plan.

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.

We’ve got scads of money to send all over the world, and to fight against providing First Nations children who are in need of protection and care with equitable funding. We have scads of money to spend on war, on advertising programs that don’t exist, on hiring trolls to comment on social media, on stalking Cindy Blackstock and countless others….

What we do not have is any money to meet even our most basic obligations – and that is because the truth is that the current Canadian cons do not have even the most basic

“commitment to build on a positive and productive relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to improve the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians, based on our shared history, respect, and a desire to move forward together”

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Aboriginal Issues, Canada. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I am a (disgusted) Witness

  1. Stephanie Barr says:

    On a much larger scale (and without the aspect of tragedy for the people who lose by this), this reminds me of something that always confounded me when I worked. We’d have a group of people who would spend literally tens of thousands of man hours testing and meeting and analyzing to justify leaving something broken but relatively easily fixed unfixed.

    I’ve never understood the mindset.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *