Saturday, September 20, 2014

The NDP Forces a Debate on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

I couldn't have asked for a better sight to pick up my sagging spirits.

In Stephen Harper's miserable Parliament, where democracy goes to die. Where there is all the time in the world to talk about war, but no time to talk about all those murdered and missing aboriginal women.

And absolutely no time or money for an inquiry into why that happened, why it keeps happening, again, and again, and again. 

And what can we do to stop this MASSACRE...

There was the wonderful sight of the NDP outsmarting the Cons and forcing a debate on the issue.  

The growing call for a full federal inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women got an unexpected boost after the New Democrats took advantage of the typically sparse end-of-week turnout in the House to seize control of the parliamentary agenda.

And the magnificent sight of Romeo Saganash pleading for an inquiry... 

Reminding us that Stephen Harper once had the monstrous gall to tell a G20 audience that Canada had no history of colonialism.

And telling this heartbreaking story:

Let me tell a story about a little boy named Jonish, who was sent to a residential school in 1954. He was five years old. He never came back. Apparently, he died the first year he arrived at the residential school. His mom never knew, until after two years, of his death. 

His mom, my mom, for 40 years never knew where Jonish was buried. It is only by coincidence, one day, that one of my sisters happened to be in the area, and someone told her "I know where your little brother is buried." After 40 years, my sister filmed the site where he was buried and brought the film back to my mom to show her. 

Just imagine, it was 40 years until she found out where my little brother laid. I do not know if any of the members have seen their mother cry, but I saw my mother cry many times, but the day she saw that video — I had never seen her cry that way. That was closure. That is what we call closure. That is the closest she could get to final closure for her son.

This is what indigenous families in this country need. That is what they want. That is why they are calling for this national inquiry.

Which sums up for me the experience of so many of our First Nation's people. And the callous cruelty of colonialism...

You know, I've heard a lot of decent, well intentioned Canadians say that an inquiry would be a waste of time and money. That we all KNOW the problem and we should just do more to fix it.

But here's what I think, as a boy who arrived in Canada all excited about meeting a REAL indian. After playing them all the time in the cowboy games of my childhood.

Because I admired them from afar, and when I thought of Canada I thought of THEM. 

And bears.

Only to discover that sadly there were no bears on Mount Royal, and that even more sadly many of the REAL indians in Montreal were some of those homeless men lying on the sidewalks in the city's east end. Which shattered my illusions.

But never dented my admiration for them, their awesome history, their amazing legends and stories, and the way they fight to protect our beautiful land from those who would rape it in the name of ghastly greed.

Which is why this blog proudly wears this feather...

As a symbol of support and RESPECT.

And to remind me of this great movement....

That great peaceful uprising that moved me beyond belief, just like the one in Scotland did.

And what I think is that most Canadians do NOT know enough about the problems facing our precious native people. Nowhere is it written that an inquiry can't serve both as a window into the past, and the doorway to a better future.

And if our First Nations, who are the very foundation of the house we call Canada, want an inquiry. Then they should have one, and we should listen.

And I don't care how much money it costs, because it's the price of being CANADIAN.

Oh well, good for the NDP. Good for Romeo Saganash.

Let's have that inquiry, let's make it a new beginning.

Let's defeat that monstrous un-Canadian Con regime and its depraved leader.

Let's heal this open wound...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Probably your best blog to date, Simon..I feel exactly as you do..used to have a bumper sticker (common back in the day here in BC) that said "BC is Indian land" and of course, got my car vandalized and trashed because of it...'
    the crap spewed in the media about the 'kinder, gentler' country that we supposedly are, free of all the problems that plague our Southern neighbors, os just not true..we have racism, classism and anti-gay and anti-women rhetoric in spades..jsut not as blatant, but definitely still there..
    When the murdered/missing prostitutes from Vancouver were constantly in the news, there was a serious call for an inquiry, but they were only hookers, no one in power cared (or were afraid to 'out' their pals as patrons, which is more my guess...) and when after years, they finally arrested Willie Pickton, it seemed blatantly obvious that, although he admitted his own guilt, he probably didn't do it alone...
    My theory is that whoever was acting with him might be acting still, and targeting these aboriginal women..but we'll never know if things don't change..

    1. hi mizdarlin...thank you I'm glad you liked this post. It does come from the heart. Although when you say you think it's my best post to date, I can't help feeling a little down about the last nine years. ;)
      Seriously though, I do wish Canadians understood how much our native people have contributed to this country, and how people all over the world consider them one of the best things about Canada. One of the few things that make us interesting, and stop us from being considered as just a place full of boring white people. And of course the Pickton case and case of the missing and murdered women do have racism in common. Nobody cared enough about them because they were poor, female, and ABORIGINAL...

    2. e.a.f.3:16 PM

      I remember that sticker!

      I wish they were still in production because now I'd have them more of them on my vehicle and my bike. They'd also be given as Christmas presents.

  2. Bravo Roméo - and bravo Simon. Karl Nerenberg also did a very good blog post on this initiative.

    I was furious with the leadership of the NDP for their cowardice with respect to the people of Gaza (though I know many NDP MPs support their cause and opposed the IDF offensive) but this time, they really got it right, both in terms of principle and skilful parliamentary proceeedings.

    1. hi lagatta...thanks a lot, that's the first bravo you've ever given me, and since I value your opinion so much I'm going to print it out and frame it. ;)
      And yes I too was impressed by the NDP for a long time, and Romeo Saganash's story which I painfully transcribed from the video, left me absolutely stunned. How could people be so cruel. And what pain so many of our native people must carry around with them. Damn those bastard racists...

  3. Roméo Saganash speaks (in French and English):

  4. I've said since I was a child that our greatest national shame is how we have treated the aboriginals, when I was growing up the big example for me locally was the Donald Marshal Injustice trial and false imprisonment and the long fight to get it overturned. Trust me, when you are a local white boy back in the 70s speaking up for the rights of aboriginals you do not get much admiration. Nor when you tried to point out that treaties are contracts and we expect both sides to live up to contracts otherwise the side that does not deserves to pay penalties. So on this issue, couldn't agree strongly enough with you and good on the NDP/Official Opposition for pulling this off.

    1. hi Scotian...yes it is our national shame, and I don't think enough Canadians realize how much it diminishes us. I remember reading about the Donald Marshall trial, and although he spent so much time in jail, I was happy that in his life he was able to do so much for the cause of justice, and will be forever remembered for that....

  5. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I agree this is a very good post, but something puzzles me. Why when you can obviously write so powerfully do you take such obvious delight in writing in a more juvenile manner?
    Thid is not a criticism just an observation.

  6. hi anon...I believe this is called being damned with faint praise. LoomI don't deny what you say, but I do write a post or two every day, and have more more than eight years so some are better than others and some are really bad. However, I write for two different reasons. One, to cheer progressives up, in a very gloomy time. And two, to try to enrage them, and motivate them to fight the Harper regime harder than ever. You should also know that I write a lot of other stuff too which I do not publish on this blog. I write poems and songs, and I'm working on a dystopian novel, so sometimes my inspiration gets sucked up by those other projects, and writing that "juvenile" stuff helps recharge my batteries. When I write the Great Canadian Novel, and it's REALLY grim, you'll be sorry for what you said... ;)