Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Residential Tragedy and the Hideous Hypocrisy of the Cons

It's a Canadian tragedy that tells us so much about the country's past, and the murderous influence of religion.

One that tells us so much about those who could bury 215 native children in an unmarked grave as if they were less than human. 

And now that we know more about this unforgivable horror story, it also tells us so much about the sickening hypocrisy of our bestial Cons.

For there was Erin O'Toole, supplied teddy bear in hand, pretending to share the sorrow of so many.

When just over a week ago him and his Con gang were the only party to vote against aligning Canada's laws with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

A federal bill to harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has passed third reading in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives, who have raised concerns the legislation would give Indigenous people a “veto” over natural resource projects, voted against the bill along with Independent MP Derek Sloan, a former Tory.

For the most miserable of reasons. 

And then there was the time O'Toole called native protesters "domestic terrorists" and demanded that lethal force be used against them.

When in fact nobody was trying to derail trains, just stop them or slow them down, and O'Toole's hysterical fascist demagoguery could have caused a bloodbath.

And speaking of Canadian fascists and demagogues, there is Pierre Poilievre and his grotesque brand of racism.

Which in any other party but Canada's Bigot Party would have got him expelled from the caucus. And should have got him expelled from Parliament.

But then who can be surprised? 

When Poilievre's Big Daddy Stephen Harper made it clear he had no interest in an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

"Um it, it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest ... Our ministers will continue to dialogue with those who are concerned about this."

Nor was Harper interested in searching for the bodies of those who didn't survive their residential school prisons.

In the spring of 2007, at the request of former Conservative Indian affairs minister Jim Prentice, the TRC created a working group—which included archivists, representatives of Indigenous organizations, former students and federal government officials—to focus on the children who died at the schools and to find the places where they were buried.

When the working group determined that the scope of the work needed to “get to the bottom” of the number of deaths in the residential school system would require at least $1.5 million in additional funding, former Conservative Indian affairs minister Chuck Strahl decided in 2009 they wouldn’t get the money, the report said.

Which helps us understand why O'Toole didn't seem to know the difference between education and cultural genocide.

The Conservative leader told the Ryerson students that residential schools were “meant to try and provide education. It became a horrible program that really harmed people, and we have to learn from that … But we’re not helping anyone by misrepresenting the past.”

But on Wednesday, after a day of controversy over the comments, O’Toole admitted to misrepresenting the historical record himself.

“I said that the residential school system was intended to try and ‘provide education.’ It was not. The system was intended to remove children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures,” O’Toole wrote in a statement, calling residential schools a “terrible stain on Canada’s history.”

Which made him look really dumb and sleazy. And made his Bigot Party look even worse.

I'd leave it at that, but I don't want to end that way because the reaction to this latest tragedy has filled me with hope that some good might come out of this horror story.

And that the fate of those children in that unmarked grave might finally register with other Canadians, and make more of them appreciate the suffering of those who survived that racist nightmare...    

And do more to heal that wound so that we might finally get to that truth and reconciliation place we need so badly.

So I think I'll end with the story of one of my great Canadian heroes, Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who escaped from a residential school and tried to walk 600 kilometres back to his home in Northern Ontario.


He didn't make it, he died of hunger and exposure, with only a small bottle of matches in his pocket.

But at least he died free. He is forever a symbol of resistance. 
And his death triggered the first inquest into the terrible conditions in residential schools.       

Now let there be more inquests into what happened to the dead children at the Kamloops Residential School, or any others who may still be lying in their unmarked graves. Punish the guilty, make the churches pay.

Make sure that the Bigot Party never comes anywhere near power again.

And hope that a decent prime minister can lead this country to a better place... 


Anonymous said...

So you really don’t care about those children, they are just a vehicle for your petty political issues.

You sir, are sick.

ottlib said...

And let's not forget the NDP. Tommy Douglas had nothing to say about Residential Schools and neither did any of the NDP leaders that followed him, until they were all closed down and the horror stories started to come out.

The Residential Schools were a Canadian failure.

John B. said...

Did Poilievre really say that? I guess he did. By the looks and sound of him, I don't think he'd last until coffee time trying to keep up with the First Nations guys I've seen on the job. It's hard to believe there are people in this country that would send a puke like him to the House of Commons.

Apologies for being off topic.

rumleyfips said...

My poor dear anonymouse.

The errant old fool is saying that all indigenous people are the same with the same values and beliefs. Like a good old , arrogant, white male he wants a one size fits all solution quickly forced on grieving people. Trudeau is saying that funds are there but it is up to the first nations themselves to decide how to proceed.

The old fool says ' we have the right to say what is best for these people' while Trudeau says 'we trust the nations to make their own decisions '.

Big difference.

ottlib said...

To finish my thought from my first comment.

Let's not forget the media which only seems to notice indigenous Canadians when something involving them impacts non-indigenous Canadians. Remember as recently as January 2020 the media were howling for the government to call in the army to end the nationwide Trans Mountain Pipeline rail blockades, which were mostly established by indigenous Canadians. I dare say that if those blockades would have been a bunch of white guys protesting, say gun control, the media would have been much more tolerant of them.

Then we cannot forget the Liberal Party of Canada which has governed this country for most of its history. They have moved back and forth from benign neglect to overtly atrocious policies for a long time. The one policy that sticks out in my mind is, during the Second World War, Canadian officials decided that remembering, spelling and pronouncing Inuit names was too difficult so they assigned each Inuit person a number and that number was the only way they could access government services. These numbers were provided to the Inuit people on a dog tag instead of having it tattooed on their forearm so I guess we can be thankful for small mercies.

Canada is a wonderful country and Canadians are a wonderful people but like all people we have blind spots and how we have treated Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit Canadians over the last century or so and how we continue to treat then is one of those blind spots. None of us have clean hands regardless of your political stripe.

We can hope that the discovery of that mass grave in BC will act as a catalyst for real change but I would not count on it. Eventually, the media and the politicians will find something else to talk about and people will go on trying to find some semblance of enjoyment during their second covid summer.

Anonymous said...

Throughout history the "they are not like us" meme has resulted in devastating consequences.In the case of the residential school system, populist style governments at both the federal and provincial levels would like us to pay our respects and quickly move on so they can resurrect the meme and target minority groups at the earliest opportunity. In this instance the meme resulted in the effort to forcefully teach indigenous people to be more like us. Perhaps at the time it was more socially acceptable than lets isolate/exile them because they are not like us. Over time the techniques and wording has perhaps changed to include encourage, teach, common values, religious symbols, incentives and bribe the leaders but the "they are not like us" meme is still very alive along with the co-morbid objective of devising ways to make them "more like us". The alternative is to accept differences as a strength and grow together. We owe this to the indigenous community and our own well being.


Jackie Blue said...

@Anon -- that's right sir. You are pretty sick. Especially if you're the same guy who was on the other thread tap dancing on their graves, saying this will "bring down Justin's dad" and the "genocide party of Canada." You're the one who made it about "Justin's dad." Not Simon, not me, not the government, and not anyone else but yourself and other like-minded trolls of your preferred party. Everyone else is talking about dead children and the complicity of white supremacist institutions like the RCC and the British monarchy. Look in the mirror, if you can stomach it. You made it about owning Trudeau.

This was and is Canada's collective failure, as I pointed out before and so many others have already. Just like the Tulsa massacre was America's collective failure, and Woodrow Wilson the Democratic president at the time was a racist who screened a KKK movie at the White House. But it took a Democratic president of now to acknowledge it, while the GQP are still sputtering and trying to have a Mulligan on the Civil War. North American structural racism is only a partisan issue because one party has decided to make it one with their rhetoric. That goes for the U.S. and that goes for Canada too.

No one has clean hands. No one. But the Cons are especially egregious in their concern trolling. Go look at the Nazi Post's front page today and Kenney's whining about cancel culture and the genocidal drunkard. Then tell me who's using this issue for political points.

FFS even the Quebec separatist Bloc are being more thoughtful on this tragedy right now, than the tone-deaf, arrogant, two-faced Cons. They're on the wrong side of the aisle and the wrong side of history yet again. Contrarians just to be contrarians, or Con Aryans. Hopefully this horrific discovery marks a turning point so that all of Canada can commence real reconciliation. But that requires the capacity for empathy and a willingness to be open and to listen and admit mistakes, which Cons simply do not have and refuse to learn.

rumleyfips said...

Ott Lib :
I have a couple of carvings signed with a number. They are important because they are what the Innuit did before the art galleries got involved and they remind me of the contempt the aboriginal community was held.

Simon said...

Hi Anon@11:05 pm...I'm sick? I don't care about those poor children? You Cons are like a disease, and you need to get help...

Simon said...

Hi Ottlib....of course you're right, the residential schools were a Canadian failure. As I said in my post, I hope the Kamloops horror will wake Canadians from their deep sleep, and that something good will come out of this. I've always thought that our indigenous people are a national treasure, and I have no time for racists who would treat them as less than human. Now is our chance to do something different and great...

Simon said...

Hi John...Not only did Poilievre say that, he said it on the same day Harper apologized to our indigenous people for the way they had been treated, which needless to say made Great Leader very unhappy since it undermined his phony message. So he forced Poilievre to apologize, which didn't stop Poilievre from dressing up as Sir John A Macdonald. I don't believe most Canadians understand how right-wing Poilievre has become. And along with the bitterness of having had to quit the Con leadership race he is now a threat to all decent Canadians...

Simon said...

Hi rumleyfips...Good point. Even when the Cons claim to be supporting our indigenous people they sound like colonizers, secure in the belief that they are God's chosen people. If the indigenous people are to be treated with the dignity they deserve they must be allowed to chart their own course, and dazzle us with their diversity...

Simon said...

Hi Ottlib...I recently saw a TV story where some residential school survivors said they were stripped of their names, and given numbers. So who can be surprised that those who did that to them would think nothing about burying those children in unmarked mass graves. And yes this is true:

Canada is a wonderful country and Canadians are a wonderful people but like all people we have blind spots and how we have treated Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit Canadians over the last century or so and how we continue to treat then is one of those blind spots. None of us have clean hands regardless of your political stripe.

But I am more optimistic than you are. The indigenous people have the largest number of young people in the country, and with our help they will force change and take us all to a better place...

Simon said...

Hi RT....Being part of a marginalized community myself, I understand only too well the devastating impact of the "they are not like us" meme. The Nazis reduced their victims to a yellow star or a pink triangle in order to dehumanize them and make it easier to kill them. So I have no time for those who would play the same Nazi games today. Diversity is strength, and if we can grow together, we can be great together...

Simon said...

Hi Jackie....Can you believe that troll and the Genocide Party.? The Cons have been so poisoned by hate they seem to live in a parallel universe. I wish we could ignore them but we can’t because they are just too dangerous. If we allow their behaviour to be normalized they will corrupt our country beyond redemption. I truly believe the next election will be the one that will determine the fate of the Cons. I think they could fragment and become two or three parties, all the better to crush like roaches. But if the Cons prevail, Canada could fragment and become a very different place. So failure is not an option....

Steve said...

How to move forward in the face of an unbearable truth. Well high real estate values help a lot.