Showing posts from 2021

Clearing the lands has always been at the heart of Canada's Indian Policy

*Originally published in Globe & Mail Feb.27, 2020 CANADA'S INDIAN POLICY HASN'T CHANGED MUCH AFTER THE EVENTS of the past few weeks in Canada, one thing remains clear: Canada’s Indian policy hasn’t changed much since its inception. Indian policy has always had two objectives: to obtain Indian lands and resources and to reduce financial obligations to Indigenous peoples acquired through treaties or other means. Its primary methods were elimination or assimilation of Indians. Colonial governments had a long history of scalping bounties to kill specific groups of Indigenous peoples, using small pox blankets to increase death rates from disease and forced sterilizations to reduce the populations. Even Confederation did not dispense with the violent colonization of what would now become known as Canada. Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, told the House of Commons in 1882: “I have reason to believe that the agents as a whole … are doing all they can, by refus

Canada Fails (Again) to Ensure Clean Water in First Nations: Auditor General

AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT ON CLEAN WATER IN FIRST NATIONS PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU had no problem finding $7 billion dollars to buy Trans Mountain pipeline - so where’s the money for water pipelines to First Nations? This week, the Auditor General for Canada (AG) released her report on whether Canada is providing enough support to ensure that First Nations have access to clean drinking water. The answer was a clear no. This is despite the Liberal government’s promise back in 2015 to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations by March 2021. The report entitled "Access to Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities" found that federal policies and funding amounts did not align with its promise to end all long-term drinking water advisories (DWA) on reserve. But the story doesn't begin or end with DWAs.      FIRST NATIONS LANDS & WATERS First of all, we woul

Canada's Shell Game on C-92 Funding

  C-92 An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has once again proven that legislative initiatives tend to be effective deflections from their ongoing failures to address human rights abuses against Indigenous peoples. Bill C-92:  An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families  (2019) was heralded by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the federal government as the solution to the “humanitarian crisis” of First Nations children in foster care. The AFN in particular pushed hard for the legislation to pass in Parliament, despite widespread opposition and protests from First Nations from all over Canada. First Nations legal and child welfare experts also warned Parliament that C-92 did not align with Canada’s political promises and could in fact make things worse. They were right. NO STATUTORY GUARANTEE OF FUNDING There are many substantive problems with C-92, but the most obvious is that there

In Plain Sight: Widespread Racism in BC Healthcare

  RACISM IN BC HEALTHCARE I magine living in a country, where hospitals refused to treat you for a stroke, because the doctors and nurses assumed you were drunk? Imagine further, that the emergency room doctor refused to treat your young child for epilepsy, because they assumed she was on drugs? Well folks, that country is Canada. It doesn’t sound like the Canada you know. It doesn’t seem to reflect Canada’s world-renowned medical experts and hospitals. Nor does it seem to jive with Canada’s impressive array of human rights protections. Yet, if you are Indigenous in Canada, you can expect this kind of treatment and worse - even in Canada’s best hospitals in British Columbia (BC). Just before the holidays, a report was released which confirmed what most Indigenous peoples already knew – that racism against Indigenous peoples, especially First Nations peoples - is widespread in BC’s healthcare system. IN PLAIN SIGHT The report entitled -   In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-spe