Well since the scrapping of the Kelowna Accord by Prime Minster Harper what has he done for the First Nations People and the Metis and what is scheduled for the near future. The Kelowna Accord was designed to combat and eradicate poverty of these people, but was not good enough for Stephen Harper and he wanted to try his own approach to solving their problems even if it meant leaving these people in poverty for a long time while all of the talks and all of the work up to his winning the election was done all over again. Every study every recommendation had to be reworked and debated, leaving first nations people to try to hold on.
Bishop Desmond Tutu admonished this country years before the United Nations did when pointing out that Canada should be ashamed of itself for the way it treats is First Nations People. The deplorable living conditions. The filthy, unclean drinking water, that these people are forced to drink; the disgusting housing conditions, that these people are forced to live in along with the lack of hope for things to get better, would drive any body to drink and do drugs. Nelson Mandela also berated Canada for the same reasons, but it would appear that Canada’s leaders just do not get it, or do not care.
I do a lot of thinking about all Canadians, but the plight of the First Nations people has always been a source of great sorrow and shame for me, representative of the hypocrisy that is Canada. Since the Europeans stole this land from its orignal inhabitants there has been an attitude that what was done to these people was just part of progress and our survival and there is no hurry to compensate them, or return to them what is possible to return to them from that which we have stolen in a timely fashion.
It would seem that the Conservative Party of Canada thinks that lip service and an apology is all that is required. I heard them brag how they have done so much for the First Nations People and the Metis and the Inuit and I get very angry. I get angry because I have seen the evidence on my trips across Canada in that moving truck the drunken and high uneducated youth milling about getting arrested. The youth with no future on the reservation or off of it and I know that this strong, stable, majority Conservative government, has done nothing to help these people and has no intention of helping these people.
We have forcefully taken away from this people all that they were and have altered all that they knew so that they can no longer return to their simple way of living, but deny them to this very day the tools like a guaranteed education, clean drinking water, decent housing and some of the land that was promised to them by countless governments of all political stripes. The First Nations People are dragged out, dusted off and are a stop on every political party’s campaign trail. Promises are made, but nothing really changes for them. Money that looks like a lot to the average Canadian is not even a drop in the bucket in comparison to what is needed to set things right, but a big deal is made about the dollar amount ane it does two things. It makes most Canadians thing that something is being done to help the people when it is not. Secondly and perhaps the cruelest thing in this game is that it forces the first Nations leaders to make choices for their people they should not have to make, like education over clean drinking water, or clean drinking water over decent housing, accepting a bad deal or taking nothing at all in hopes of shaming this strong, stable Conservative majority government into doing the right thing and giving them a fair deal.
I have sat down many times with people from all walks of life who claim that they would love to see the Metis, the First Nations people and the Inuit get a fair break and what is due to them on a debt that can never be paid and state openly how it is a shame that the government will not do the right thing by these people and I say, “What would you be willing to give up and give back to these people to see that the wrong that you know has occurred and agree that needs to be put right be accomplished? Not what the government should give up, but what you would be willing to give up that is yours to give? Would you give up a piece of your land, a percentage of your pay as rent, or even volunteer of your time to go help in these communities to help make the difference?” The answer is always silence, shock and even anger that I would dare make it their fault and make them realise that they only want what is right to be done at the expense of someone else and if it is to personally cost them something to see this change then they are not interested and would prefer if it remained a secret.
This to me is why the every government has been able to do the minimal if anything at all when it comes to righting the wrongs of the past and compensating these people for the debt that can never be repaid. No one in this country sees it as a debt that must be repaid by them. The other person’s land or money or time needs to be put to this task but not mine and so the game continues and our First Nations people, Metis and Inuit people continue to be born, live and die in sub standard conditions while we the population of Canada lament say shame on our leaders for not do what we are not willing to sacrifice of ourselves.
This ladies and gentlemen is one of the reasons of many why the governments has done absolutely nothing to change the plight of these people before the Kelowna accord, or after scrapping it. It is not a priority of theirs, because it is not a priority of most Canadians. The fate of these people rest in the hands of a population that for the most part sees doing right by these people as a charity, a favour. Most Canadians think of helping these people as something these people should be grateful for and this is wrong.
How you should be thinking is that our forefathers in carving out a plan for our success did some pretty nasty, horrible, unforgivable things to these people and have left us their ancestors owing the First Nations people, the Metis and the Inuit with a debt that can never be repaid, but we must never stop trying to pay. These people have asked for so little and have forgiven so much. Whole tribes have been wiped out, all of their land taken from them, their way of life stolen from them and their language, culture all but lost to them. Is a little extra when it comes to fishing and hunting rights really too much to ask in terms of compensation? Is clean drinking water and decent housing too much to ask in terms of compensation for these people? Is a decent education and a chance to prosper in this world we have forced upon them too much to ask as compensation for the atrocities committed against these people? I think not? What say you?
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