Ottawa’s Amnesia

Any healing process starts by admitting that one has a problem. This is a phrase that has been popularized in the media when there is a portrayal of an individual whose habits have driven his/her household to a state of financial, emotional and physical disarray. The Idle No More movement has become a great teacher in that it is reminding Canadians that there is an addiction this Conservative government has been suffering since its creation.  This addiction is not related to aggression in the traditional sense of the word, nor is it in any way linked with abuse. The Canadian government’s addiction is forgetting it has a problem.

One cannot change the past; this is an undeniable fact of life. There is no one who can retroactively prevent the French from planting their flag in Canadian soil, nor avoid the British from gaining control over New France. It is however possible to heal the wounds of the past in order to stop our historical bleeding. The Canadian government has been very proactive in applying this frame of mind to Quebec, which is something that was, and to a certain extent, continues to be necessary. But this conciliatory approach also needs to be directed towards our First Nations.

It must be recognized that nationalistic views vary within several of our First Nations peoples, where Canadianism is not fully embraced in its present-day form. But regardless of these divergent views, it is utterly unacceptable that a collectivity of individuals who are legally Canadian are subjected to living conditions not seen and not suffered by other groups of Canadians, at a juncture where our government boasts economic well-being. Such a stark difference within our society is not due to a lack of resources, but to a lack of willingness.

Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike has drawn much attention lately, and she may well be considered a victim of the Conservative government’s snobbery. As I write these words, there are rumours in the media that announce the she will end her strike on Thursday, January 24 2013. While some may be pleased with this result, I feel it encompasses a profound sadness, where a Canadian leader’s legitimate plea to meet with our heads of state and government was met with indifference, the constraints of protocol, and a sense that Ottawa does not have the key to the doors of belonging.

There is barely any critique available for governments who are incapable of catering for its citizens’ needs. But there is absolutely no excuse in a government’s refusal to do so while possessing the resources to bring pressing issues to the front burners of its policy-making machine. The good part of this is that, unlike this Canadian government, Canadians do not forget. Above all, Canadians have the innate tendency of sticking together, and the very foundation of Canada’s nation building path is cemented on this very principle. I am sure the time will come when Canadians will transform this collective sentiment into the election of a government, that will then ensure that this generosity will cover all Canadians.

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4 Responses to Ottawa’s Amnesia

  1. Agree with your view. When I first came to Canada in 1982 I was glued to the TV watching the first ministers’ conference where George Erasmus, then national chief of the Assembly of First Nations pleaded for a seat for First Nations at the table in an impressive address.The acknowledgement that our Indiginous population was certainly also a founding nation was rejected and their presence at the table for future meetings declined. Then the Meech Lake accord fell flat when Harper did not want to ratify it, same with the Kelowna acord. What a mess! When will it end? The inequity and discrimination must end and be addressed in our time.

  2. masqua says:

    If you read the recent books two of Canada’s prominent writers (John Ralston Saul in A Fair Country and Thomas King in The Inconvenient Indian), you will find in them that your voice is not alone in frozen wilderness. There are others faintly being heard as well. One of those is that of William Commanda, recently deceased, but still well worth hearing.

    I think the true character of Canada is just beginning to wake up.

  3. masqua says:

    Saul looks at things from a Canadian perspective, King with a North American view and Commanda, with his wonderfully plain language, sees it globally . All well worth researching.

    Cheers and keep up the excellent blogging.

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