Merry Christmas from John Duncan
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Last year it was Attawaspiskat. A state of emergency, just in time for Christmas, actually just in time for the cold winter weather was what confronted the minister. The way he handled it was a remarkable feat of arrogance, incompetence, and total ignorance. Had it not been for the work of the Red Cross, the generous donations of ordinary Canadians, and the resilience of the residents of the reserve, their chief and counsel, it would have been a world-class disaster.
It’s a year later now and guess what? There’s a brand new state of emergency declared at the reserve right next door to Attawaspiskat. There is a serious fuel shortage to heat buildings, forcing school and public building shutdowns. There are twenty-one homes that were flooded during the summer whose electrical systems need repair before re-using. All of this leads to unemployment, withdrawal of services and basic shutdown of the reserve’s operating system, piling up the hardships of its residents.
All of this and Stumble-bum Duncan remains invisible. Maybe he’s still licking his wounds from last Christmas, or maybe, having delivered his Christmas disaster for this year, is already planning the next one. I rather suspect the latter is the case. The government has become so steeped in intransigence as concerns Aboriginal people; it can’t seem to recognize genuine catastrophes it creates in the Aboriginal communities. I don’t know, maybe it’s deliberate. It seems the government has two philosophies in the way it runs its affairs: proactive and reactive. The former is for international affairs, trade development and image building, while the latter is for domestic affairs. I swear that if you told them to go home and mind their own business, they would have no idea what you’re talking about. They’d likely take it as an insult rather than a demand that they go home and look after their domestic affairs.
Even our “esteemed” prime minister is part of this mindset. Last year Theresa Spence, chief of Attawaspiskat, was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the spending of the funds available to her. She is an honest leader of her people, genuinely concerned about their well-being. This year she demanded an audience with the said “esteemed” prime minister to discuss the needs of her people. When he didn’t respond, she went on a hunger strike and continues to this day. Still no response from the P.M. I think the bugger is afraid of her. So he hides behind the perennial W.A.S.P. mentality, hoping she will go away.
I think the time has passed for direct negotiation with the Canadian government. It is now a matter for the world court to deal with. They should apprehend Duncan and the Prime minister and hold them in custody in The Hague until these abuses are dealt with. There is neither need nor reason for Ms. Spence to be martyred for what she believes to be justice for her people. We are no longer in the middle ages for God’s sake and its time to move from a reactive to a proactive model of governance. For nearly a hundred years except for a break during WWI the government imposed the Crow Rate on the railways to level the playing field for farmers and mining companies to ship their products to Thunder Bay at the same cost as their eastern counterparts. What’s wrong with imposing the same restriction on transportation companies traveling up north? You’d instantly fix the disparity in the cost of living in the north. Legislate something! Hells bells, I’m just a simple old white guy and even I can see solutions to these seemingly insurmountable problems. They are nothing that a little honesty and goodwill can’t fix. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.