Juliet O’Neill, with files from Tim Shufelt, The Ottawa Citizen
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on the defensive yesterday over the remarks of a Conservative MP who undermined his historic apology to aboriginal peoples by questioning “the value for all this money” survivors of residential schools are eligible to receive under a compensation settlement.
Pierre Poilievre, the Nepean-Carleton MP who serves as parliamentary secretary, expressed regret for his “hurtful and wrong” comments in the House of Commons just moments before question period. But his brief apology had little impact on Liberal MPs, who branded his remarks disgraceful and racist and demanded he step down as parliamentary secretary to the president of the treasury board.
Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine said in an interview the remarks were “just really unfortunate” distractions from Mr. Harper’s apology, which was, in part, “about casting aside old attitudes and old stereotypes” like the ones Mr. Poilievre expressed. Chief Fontaine, who praised the apology during an appearance in the Senate with other aboriginal leaders, said the government apology remains “the important moment,” despite the MP’s remarks.
Mr. Poilievre also suggested aboriginals need to work harder rather than receive more money. He appeared unaware the $1.9-billion compensation settlement is the result of years of negotiations by government, churches and aboriginal representatives. The talks are aimed at reducing and containing a growing number of lawsuits over the mistreatment, including widespread physical and sexual assaults, of several generations of aboriginal children.
Posted in Canada, election, Memorial, Ontario, politics, Quebec, racism
Tagged Aboriginal, abuse, apology, canada, Catholic, christian, Christian schools, Christianity, church, Cree, english, french, healing, ignorant, Indian, Indian Residential School, Indian Residential School Apology, Mr. Poilievre, native reserves, native schools, pm, priest, Prime Minister, racist, reconciliation, reserves, residential, school, Stephen Harper, system, truth, truth and reconciliation
Originally posted by Michèle DuCharme
Canadian Natives listening to the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper during an official apology
The history of the Indian people for the last century has been the history of the impingement of white civilization upon the Indian: the Indian was virtually powerless to resist the white civilization; the white community of B.C. adopted a policy of apartheid. This, of course, has already been done in eastern Canada and on the Prairies, but the apartheid policy adopted in B.C. was of a particularly cruel and degrading kind. They began by taking the Indians’ land without any surrender and without their consent. Then they herded the Indian people onto Indian reserves. This was nothing more nor less than apartheid, and that is what it still is today(1).
Update: For those who are interested you can also read an entire series by the Globe and Mail called Canada’s Aparteid.
Posted in Canada, Multiculturalism, Ontario, Quebec, racism, World
Tagged Aboriginal, Anglo, Assiniboine, BC, Blackfoot, British Columbia, Caladonia, Caledonia, canada, Canadian, Canadian History, Canadian Indian, Cree, cruelty, Death, education, First Nation, impingement, Indian, Innu, Inuit, James Bay Cree, Land, less than human, Maliseet, Métis, Mi'kmaq, Micmac, Mohawk, Montagnais, Naskapi, Native, native peopes of canada, Native Peoples apartheid, native reserves, Odawa, Ojibwa, Plains Cree, Poverty, Prime Minister, Quebec, racism, racist, reserves, sad days, Saxon, Segregation, separation, south africa, Stephen Harper, Strong People, Swampy Cree, White, Wood Cree, Wuastukwiuk