Thursday, June 12, 2008

Inundate him

Conservative MP for Nepean-Carleton Pierre Polievre:

Constituency Office:

250-B Greenbank Road
Nepean ON K2H 8X4

Fax: 613-990-4333

Parliamentary Office:

433 West Block
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Phone: 613-992-2772
Fax: 613-992-1209


Fell free to tell him this.

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At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a libertarian view be skeptical of massive governement funding being provided with limited accountability and traceability mechanisms. And in that context, wouldn't you be more inclined to support the end of wealth redistribution, especially in this uncontrolled form?

And if that's the view you held, wouldn't you be supportive of Poilievre's remarks, because he raised this issue?

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Mike said...


I am not advocating massive government funding with limited accountability. That's not what this is. What the funding for the residential school victims is , is an out of court settlement for damages. The Government, guilty of horrific abuse, is paying so as not be sued into bankruptcy.

So even in the absence of a state, such payments would be justified to avoid civil action. (ignoring for the moment that in the absence of a state, the horrific abuses would not have occurred in the first place, but I digress).

And the payments in the under the Indian Act are contractual obligations of the Crown to the various native tribes and bands, pursuant to signed agreements the Crown has with those groups. That the government has historically and consistently not lived up tho their end of the bargain, has tried to arbitrarily change the agreements and has ignored them is the problem. Perhaps if they simply did what they promised to do, they would not have an issue.

Also, a long time ago, the government imposed itself into fiduciary obligation over native peoples when they parternalistically decided to run thing for them. Native peoples don't see the benefit of these monies because, historically, their land and resources have been sold to benefit the government and churches and their cronies (see Lubicon Cree). The state screwed it up by refusing to live up to their obligations, then they should have to pay.

And Pierre doesn't give a shit about Indians or libertarian principals. This is nothing more that a naked "dog whistle" to the racists and bigots in the CPC and the SDA crowd. It is playing up to the old "lazy Indians taking money and blowing it on {insert vice here}" racist stereotype. A wink to the base to say "yeah we're apologizing, but we really think they are lazy bums who can't stand up for themselves - don't worry nothing has changed."

It shows that Pierre is an insensitive clod who really doesn't understand Native law, Contract law or civil law.

If he talked about doing away with the Indian act, or ensuring that the Government live up to its signed agreements with native people, or fast tracked outstanding land claims, I would agree with him.

He didn't.

And frankly, so long as the natives lived up to their end of the deal (which they did), they can spend the money as they see fit, not as some white bureaucrat in Ottawa thinks they should.

And a residential school survivor who is compensated should be able to spend their money on any thing they want. Its the least we can afford them after stealing them from their families, destroying their culture and letting kids be raped, abused and even murdered.

There is more to libertarianism in regard to native issues than simply saying "we spend too much" - that is 'vulgar libertarianism that ignores historic realities of a nuanced situation.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not fully versed on the subject, but I've read a number of articles over the years from a variety of ideological viewpoints that all seem to agree that money that is supposed to be going to First Nation's people in Canada often does not, and instead lines the pockets of various members of their leadership.

At the high level, it sounds a lot like despotic regimes in Africa. We send aid, but it goes to a new palace for the dictator, not for more food and medicine as was intended.

Maybe that's not the case with the new $4B amount, but it sounds like its the case for the on-going $10B provided each year.

That is doubly troubling to me, both because it costs taxpayers a significant sum of money to come up with these payments, and then it doesn't appear to go where it was intended.

Now you do raise a good point about contractual obligations. I personally think fulfilling those obligations has been extremely harmful to First Nations people in Canada, and continues to be so. In the interests of all concerned, I'd like to see a negotiated buyout of those contracts, so that the harmful and unnecessary segregation of the founding people of this country can finally come to an end.

I personally don't see the status quo as desirable, or sustainable. But its politically difficult to discuss any sort of meaningful change without someone throwing out the "racist" card, which I think is unfortunate.

Polievre may have been off in his timing, and his remarks could certainly have been phrased better, but I think there's need for real debate on this subject and political correctness and partisan knee-jerk reactions are preventing it from happening.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I personally don't see the status quo as desirable, or sustainable. But its politically difficult to discuss any sort of meaningful change without someone throwing out the "racist" card, which I think is unfortunate.

I'm not going to disagree with the sentiment, except that when Poilievre panders to those who think the problem with natives is that they don't have the Protestant work ethic, or can't handle their own money and are freeloaders and leeches on Canadian society. I can't think of any other way to describe that except as racist. Change the word 'native' or 'aboriginal' in his statement to Black or African American, and see how it sounds.

He also continues the myth that the natives are getting special status that is some how better than what the mainstream society has, when in reality it is a system of paternalism and dependence created by the government itself. The money is not some kind of charity, as Pierre seems to think, but contractual obligations on the part of the Crown. He seems to think it is any of his business how the natives spend it. Does your boss have any say in how you spend your paycheck?

Pierre could easily have made his point about better fiscal responsibility a few days later or by pointing out that native land on reserve is not consider private property. Banks won't give mortgages or invest on reserve. Bureaucrats in Ottawa are the ones who spell out how money is spent, not the natives themselves.

If Pierre had talked about ending the Indian Act and other solutions that would allow that money to be more productive, he would have gotten a sensitive ear.

Instead he blamed the natives fro being caught in a system of dependence wholly the creation of the federal government and implied they were to lazy to be trusted with their own money.

On a day when the government was apologize for acts precipitated by the idea that natives could not be trusted with raising their own children.

Clearly he doesn't get it.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Ron said...

anshu: one of the most articulate and consistent advocates for a new relationship with First Nations people in Canada has been Meaghan Walker-Williams at Somena Media

If you go to the "labels" section, down a ways on the right hand side under the blogrolls at her site, you can get up to speed and find great detail on a range of subjects appropriate to your concerns, and I think you'll find a lot of common ground. You'll certainly come away with a better understanding.


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