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Canada's First Nations - CF help, protests, solutions, etc. (merged)

I would let the police handle it, if they wanted to up the ante, that would be their decision.

Ahh- but the OPP made a decision, didn't they? It just wasn't the one you wanted, was it? 

The OPP, the Province and the Feds all seemed to agree that the stakes were too high to up the ante this past weekend.

Just for the sake of argument, Hatchet Man, let's pretend that the provisions of the Terrorist Act were applied on the Day of Action to those blocking highways and rail lines.  Now what?  It kind of compells the Feds to take some pretty extreme action- after all- we don't generally bargain with terrorists, do we?  And we don't let them walk around free, either.  Now, I'm pretty sure that the OPP tactical team and the regional RCMP ERT guys could take down Brant and his followers, but who really knows- it might require a JTF2 assist.  Now that Brant and his gang are in custody (or dead) following a take down that is sure to have been covered nationally and even internationally, just what do you suppose will be the reaction of every hot head from Oka to Caledonia to Hobema:

a) Do nothing, thinking, "wow, I better not mess with the Feds, I might get hurt or go to jail"
b) Immediately start blowing expensive things up, like rail lines, pipelines and telecommunications towers, all in solidarity for their fallen Native Brethren.

I personally think that situations like this, if handled too carelessly and roughly, are more likely to spawn more violence and chaos- and we will run out of Police and Military waayyy before we run out of angry young Natives in this country.  You are of course entitled to your own opinion, I am firmly on the side that the Terrorism Act is too blunt an instrument for this type of situation.  Now, if Brant and his boys go around kidnapping, planting IEDs and blowing things up- bring on the Terrorism Act- but save it as the last act, not as your opener.
SeaKing Tacco is right. The OPP may have lost a battle (and that is debatable) but they scored a strategic victory. The blockades were lifted; nobody was hurt; and Brant and associates lost in the court of public opinion, if not in the eyes of the media. If anything, they deflected media attention from the main event of the day - a peaceful demonstration by the AFN - and left an overwhelming impression that (not all) natives have no respect for the law.
The blockade has shown two things though -

1.  The CN railway line is a single point of failure which would have disastrous economic consequences if closed for *any* reason for an extended period.  The closed parts of the CP line between Ottawa and Toronto should be acquired by Ontario and reopened.

2.  The willingness of the media to promote the fact that Brant et al sabotaged railway signals and that it's not hard to do.  All it needs now is for a few bored louts in suburbia to start googling how to do it rather than do their usual chucking rocks off overpasses or whatever.
When first reading this, I was prob like most Canadians, tired of hearing about this crap, if I did it their way I would be locked up for quite awhile, I did like Seakingtacos input, and I do have to agree with it, even though it wasn't the desired effect that I wanted (throw them all in jail) he is right, it was a good way not to spark more drastic measure by the offending people. We are talking mainly about the east (401 and the rail line) and seaking did mention Hobema, now if they did the same thing on HWY2 Out here in Alberta, there would be even more economic crisis, it is pretty much the only  North-South road for Alberta (and we all know the rest of Canada wants its money) So by letting them do their "peaceful protest" it prob deflected allot of would be havoc. I am sure that's what the "hardlined" natives wanted, for us to go in guns blazing, so they could have the anarchy that some of them disire.
You can hear the howls of outrage now:


Off the reservation
The reserve system is Canada's worst moral failing. Let's do the right thing and get rid of it

Jonathan Kay
National Post

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In an ongoing series, National Post writers are being asked a simple question: If you had the power to change a single thing about Canada, what would it be? In today's instalment, Jonathan Kay proposes a radical reform to our native policy.


When it comes to what needs fixing, every problem in this country pales beside our signature disgrace: the state of Canada's native reserves. The worst are bastions of truly Third World-style poverty and decrepitude, infectious disease and stomach-churning social pathologies.

In strictly numerical terms, the problem is not large. There are about 400,000 natives living on reserves -- just 1.3% of the Canadian population. It would be a simple thing to cap this wellspring of misery if we had the right policies in place. But that's the problem:We don't.

Every time the native file makes the news, the proposed solutions are the same: more money and more self-government. Each year the federal government spends over $8-billion on reserve-resident natives, or $80,000 per reserve-resident household (a statistic I never get tired of quoting, because it puts to rest the idea that natives are somehow being nickel-and-dimed under the current system). We have handed over all sorts of powers to native bands, even creating a new extra-constitutional order of government in the process.

None of this has worked, and the reason is simple: Our policy of propping up reserves with massive government subsidies flies in the face of three well-observed empirical truths learned the hard way in societies around the world. - The modern global economy is driven by cities, which serve as hubs for high-value knowledge industries, skilled workers and transportation networks. Rural economies have been dying since the Second World War. No government would pay white Canadians to confine themselves to the jobless outback, hundreds of miles from the country's universities and job centres (unless, perhaps, they lived in Atlantic Canada, a subject for a separate "Fixing Canada" column). Yet that is exactly what we do with our native population. - One of the great lessons of the 20th century was that collective land ownership is a recipe for economic disaster. Behind the Iron Curtain, agricultural productivity exploded once people were given the right to own their own parcels of land outright, and sell the proceeds for profit. As Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has definitively shown, denying land title to slum dwellers is one of the main impediments to prosperity in poor societies.

Yet almost two decades after the Iron Curtain fell, our reserves are still run--literally --like Marxist workers' collectives (to the extent anyone actually works). Every once in a while a Canadian reporter wanders around a reserve and writes shocked dispatches about the run-down quality of housing stock. Question:Would you pay good money to take care of your house if you couldn't sell it, couldn't use it to acquire mortgage financing and you knew someone else would build you a new one as soon as the old one collapsed? - Welfare destroys societies. Temporary government entitlements such as EI are fine for helping people get back on their feet. But when they become the permanent income source for an entire community --be it an inner-city American ghetto or a Canadian native reserve--civic life unravels. In a welfare society, the discipline and pride of workaday life are absent, men lose their social function, alcoholism carries no price (the cheque arrives whether you're drunk or sober) and people are encouraged to view government as nothing but a platform for doling out booty.

All three of these principles have guided Western policymakers for generations. Yet when it comes to natives, we pretend we never learned them. Many aboriginal advocates claim that racism is the main barrier facing natives. I would say it's the opposite: We somehow have convinced ourselves that native societies have the collective, superhuman ability to resist the gravitational socioeconomic forces governing every other society on Earth. Like all utopian experiments, this one has led to disaster and heartache -- played out in everything from water contamination to glue-sniffing to abused children.

My fix for Canada is to make life better for natives by treating them like real human beings who are governed by the same empirically observed weaknesses and incentives as the rest of humanity -- not Rousseauvian noble savages.

A proper native policy would be guided by the three principles listed above. The most decrepit and remote reserves, such as Kashechewan and Natuashish, would simply be torn down -- their inhabitants installed at government expense in population centres of the residents' choice. The hundreds of millions of dollars that go into running these hellholes would be used to teach job skills, detox the drunks, educate the children and otherwise integrate the families into mainstream Canadian life.

Those reserves that have a fighting chance at developing a self-sustaining local economy -- either through proximity to urban centres, tourism, agri-business or resource extraction -- would be reorganized as municipal corporations. Land would be privatized and turned over to individuals, who would then own it in fee simple. Natives would stay if they chose -- but only if they could find the employment necessary to feed themselves: Aside from treaty-mandated entitlements and regular government social programs, they would be cut off from the dole.

Self-government would be possible, but only in the same limited way that any Canadian city or town is self-governing. The conceit that native reserves can be reconceived as culturally distinct "nations" would be given up in favour of a model that promotes integration.

All this, of course, would represent a massive legal and political undertaking -- requiring not only the destruction of the Indian Act, but also, possibly, a rewriting of the Constitution. Even the act of parcelling out reserve land to band members would itself be a decades-long exercise, requiring armies of land surveyors and bureaucrats to accomplish. This is a radical fix I am proposing, and I have no illusions about how wrenching the experience of cultural dislocation would be for the affected communities.

That said, it is a trauma that need only be inflicted once -- as opposed to the status quo, under which every generation of reserve-resident natives suffers under our dysfunctional system afresh. Which, I ask, is the more inhumane?

© National Post 2007
Thread hijack!!

Since the MSM is always such sticklers for PC, I believe that they should start addressing the First Nations people as what they are, NOT as 'Indians'. Indians as we ALL should know are from yup, you guessed it INDIA! The people of India are not East Indians, but just Indians. Now I say this because my better half corrects me when I make the occasional mistake since she's IndoCanadian she feels that it's her duty to correct my mistake.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
In french we refer to native americans as "Amerindiens" (American Indians)
We will use the term "Autochtone" when refering to all native people - be they Amerindiens, Innu or Inuit.
That is a good article.  People on my side of the 'fence' (the Native side) need to be more open to views that may be contrary to theirs.  Argueing that anyone that believes in dismantling the reserve system is racist serves no one any benefit.

I disagree with Jonathan Kay however.  I feel the best approach would be for the federal government to take the same approach the IMF is taking with third world development.  Money shoud be tied to good governance practices.  There should be a sliding scale of federal support for reserves.  If a community practices good governance, accountability, transparency, economic development, etc. (developed in their own way as long as it meets a minimum standard) then their funding should reflect their success.  If a community fails to develop any good governance structures then their funding should reflect their lack of willingness to move forward.  As an example if a band were to collect income taxes (no such thing as 'sovereignty' without taxation) then match the amount collected and slowly phase out the amount until the community could support itself.

The IMF program was described by Colin Powell in a past issue of Foreign Policy, but I cannot remember what it was called.

In some cases all it would take is for a chief and council to ratify provincial legislation through a Band Council Resolution (BCR) - such as Provincial human rights acts which are non-applicable on reserve.  In other cases communities could develop their own legislative practices that promote good governance (what we are TRYING to do in my community). 

The approach taken by the federal government currently promotes dysfunctional leadership.  They encourage 'negotiations' that involve flying chiefs around and spending money on modern day trinkets.  Some chiefs are rarely if ever in their communities ... they are away negotiating with the feds.  The next chief comes in full of piss and vinegar, then the travel bennies begin again.  As an example education funding has not been adjusted since 1996 - yet representatives from the AFN have been 'negotiating' to increase the base education funding level since 1997 ... usually in nice hotels in Ottawa of course.  No one wants to fix the problem, they just want their turn at the perks of 'leadership'.
A very honest opinion, Ubercree, didnt know that that was happening withthe Chiefs...
Here are the IMF Standards.


List of Standards, Codes and Prinicples
Useful for Bank and Fund Operational Work and for which Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes Are Produced
November 2002

Transparency standards: the standards in these areas were developed and are assessed by the Fund. They cover issues of data and policy transparency.

Data Transparency: The Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standard/General Data Dissemination System (SDDS/GDDS).

Fiscal Transparency: the Fund's Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency.

Monetary and Financial Policy Transparency: the Fund's Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies (usually assessed by the Fund and the Bank under the Joint Fund-Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP)).

Financial sector standards: the standards in these areas have been developed by other institutions and are generally assessed under the FSAP.

Banking Supervision: Basel Committee's Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision (BCP).

Securities: International Organization of Securities Commissions' (IOSCO) Objectives and Principles for Securities Regulation.

Insurance: International Association of Insurance Supervisors' (IAIS) Insurance Supervisory Principles.

Payments and Securitites Settlement Systems: Committee on Payments and Settlements Systems (CPSS) Core Principles for Systemically Important Payments Systems and CPSS-IOSCO Joint Task Force's Recommendations for Securities Setttlement Systems.

Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism: Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) 40+8 Recommendations.

Standards concerned with market integrity: standards in these areas have been developed by relevant institutions and the Bank is in the lead in undertaking assessments. Some of these areas may be assessed under the FSAP.

Corporate Governance: OECD's Principles of Corporate Governance.

Accounting: International Accounting Standards Board's International Accounting Standards (IAS).

Auditing: International Federation of Accountants' International Standards on Auditing.

Insolvency and creditor rights1/:

UberCree, while I agree that good governance is the key issue, the real question is what sets the conditions for "good governance"?

Looking around, I see patently idiotic decisions by my local city council, or the record of scandles the Federal Government compiled from 1993 to 2005, yet in theory, these institutions are well defined and run by supposedly rational people. What drives things is incentives, and when given access to virtually unlimited monies and power without checks and transparency, people have perverse incentives to do things for their own self benefit rather than the taxpayer's benefit.

Jonathan Kay is essentially proposing that the "perverse incentives" be cut off at the root, so native self governance is indeed local, transparent and effective. Essentially, band councils will be forced to take the steps you propose since they are directly accountable to the people and no one will be there to bail them out when they make self serving decisions. As you pointed out, the Cheifs are far better off with the system as it stands today, and have every reason to drag their feet on an incrimental approach. Of course, they have every reason to fight Jonathan Kay's proposal tooth and nail as well.

Nice to see you back.

Completely agree with you.  It would also be a benifit to have those Bands who have a proven track record of success (there are several on both the East and West coasts and I'm sure a smattering elsewhere) get involved with those Bands looking to improve their situation by building a business plan.  Maybe even involve Aboriginals from other nations who have had successes of their own (many Maori tribes in NZ run some GREAT tourist businesses.

I believe it was the Chief from the Membertou (sp?) band down east who tried this...with little success though.  Ran into a brick wall when he told various councils they had to get off their collective behinds and work if they wanted to see improvements in their communities.

Taken from CBC News Posted: Dec 2, 2011 11:23 AM ET

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that First Nations communities must develop "strong, accountable" systems of self-government in the long run, as Ottawa grapples with a housing crisis in the remote First Nations community of Attawapiskat.

Local leaders in the Northern Ontario town of 1,800 declared a state of emergency about a month ago, as winter moved in and some residents were living in unheated tents, while many others suffered in crowded, substandard housing.

The crisis has propelled the issue of living conditions in First Nations communities onto the national agenda, and will likely be a hot topic during scheduled talks between the Crown and aboriginal leaders on Jan. 24.

Harper's long-term goal is to see "strong, accountable systems of self-government for aboriginal communities," he said Friday during a press conference in Burlington, Ont.

"I think we all realize we're not going to get there in one giant leap, but I continue to look forward and continue to enjoy working with Chief Atleo and other communities to move us in that direction," he told reporters.

Harper's comments came a day after he met with Atleo, who called the upcoming meeting with aboriginal leaders an opportunity.

"We can perhaps consider this moment and the idea of us gathering as a moment to reset the relationship between First Nations and the federal Crown," Atleo told the prime minister.

Federal intervention
Meanwhile, the federal government has placed Attawapiskat under third-party management, meaning that the community's finances have been taken out of the hands of the local band council.

What's third-party management?

The federal government has put Attawapiskat First Nations under third-party management. Here are five things to know about the government's intervention policy and Attawapiskat.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has said the move allows Ottawa to take immediate action to address the housing crisis and health and safety issues.

The intervention has angered the chief of Attawapiskat, who called it "mere political deflection.”

In a statement issued Thursday, Chief Theresa Spence said, “It is incredible that the Harper government’s decision is that instead of offering aid and assistance to Canada’s First Peoples, their solution is to blame the victim."

"This rationale is mere political deflection as the conditions cited by the department are present in numerous other First Nations communities," said the statement from the chief.

Emergency response
Duncan said that on an emergency basis “there is adequate clean, dry available shelter with running water and electricity available in the community.” A healing centre, sportsplex and other buildings could house people in need of shelter “today,” he said on Thursday.

The healing centre, however, is about five kilometres out of town on a rough road, reported the CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault in Attawapiskat, and the building does not have running water or phone lines.

“When that statement was made yesterday, people here in Attawapiskat said, ‘Today? Really?’ It is a lot more complicated than just saying there is a building, there are people, put them in, let’s go, we’re done,” said Arsenault. “You are dealing with elderly people and children, and this will take some time.”

Attawapiskat’s chief said the government’s notification it was appointing a third-party manager was delivered by an official who interrupted an emergency planning team “in the midst of implementing a strategy to assist people living in tent frames and shacks.”

The statement from Spence and the council alleged that third-party managers in other First Nations in Canada “are allowing similar conditions to exist while offering little or no [aid].”

For almost 10 years, the band has been under co-management, an administrative system in which the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND) and the band agree on a co-manager who is paid by the band and gets signing authority for all accounts containing AAND funding.

Under third-party management, all funding goes through a manager appointed by the department to administer it. The manager, whose salary is paid by the band, decides which band staff are required to run its programs and services.

The band's co-manager, Clayton Kennedy, has acknowledged being in a romantic relationship with the band's chief, Spence. But he has denied there is any conflict of interest.

Spence said the funding the community receives leaves residents “well below the poverty line.” She said the First Nation had “completed all of the necessary reporting requirements of [Aboriginal Affairs]…If the government of Canada wishes to re-examine the audits previously accepted by the department, the First Nation will welcome, and co-operate fully with the exercise, and the true costs to operate in a remote northern environment will be quantified.”

Spence noted the presence of a diamond mine located about 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat on traditional lands, “the pride of the Canadian and Ontario governments, as well as De Beers Canada.…While they reap the riches, my people shiver in cold shacks, and are becoming increasingly ill, while precious diamonds from my land grace the fingers of Hollywood celebrities, and the mace of the Ontario legislature.”
I fully agree with accountability required for the First Nations leaders needing to be accountable for the funds they're given.  As it is there is little to no accountability when money is transferred to these communities, and in some cases you have rampant corruption.  I will not name names or lable communities, but there are some Council leaders that live in homes worth over $1million dollars in Thunder Bay while their communities suffer.  In other cases money is simply mismanaged and not used in the way it should be to help the community.  While this is not the case in all places, it is a systemic problem as every two years a new leader and council is voted in and it turns into a popularity contest.  It's commonly referred to as the "two year cash grab".

The last line sparks some outrage as many in the local communities have benefitted heavily from the mines being in existence.  They are given jobs and the communities do receive benefits from the mines being there, one of which is having their winter roads fully maintained by the company's that use them on a regular basis which is a large cost saver.

As for the housing issue, there have been incidents where a new home was given to residents in communities and they didn't like it for whatever reason so they refused to move in until given a better one more to their liking.  I wish I could provide you with concrete examples, but I don't want to implicate names and specific communities as it is a rather touchy subject.

Moving forward on fiscal responsibility is the way to go in the end so that the communities can receive the funding they require, and the government can have transparency with Canadians as a whole on how their taxes are spent.  All Canadians regardless of geographic location are entitled to certain rights.

- Mod edit to better reflect the overall subject of the thread -
First of all, this should probably be in Canadian Politics or some other such thread.
Secondly, this may well turn into a bun fight and get locked before very long.

Having said all that, you're absolutely right, Trucker.
In my experience, no one -absolutely no one- can screw over Indians better than other Indians. Custer, Sheridan et al would be envious.

Accountability ain't gonna happen though. They can freeze, starve, die of disease, commit suicide en masse, or just fade off the radar... the compassionate crowd in Ottawa Just. Doesn't. Care.
They care about not being accused of racism. They care about being in power. And if a bunch of sad, sorry, perpetually f*cked over people have to suffer for that..well, the ends justifies the means -doesn't it ?

I'll be blunt and admit that a decade and a half of living in places like Sioux Lookout and Thompson has seriously whittled away my sympathy for aboriginals, but yeah, they're getting screwed. They will continued to get screwed -by their own- and nothing will be done about it. Mr. Harper and his party may try - but they'll be hauled down by the CBC, the Libs, the NDP and the band chiefs.
More of yours and my tax dollars will be sent -that's the solution after all, isn't it ? And the cycle will continue.

Cynical, I know, but hey, there it is.     
The very existence of a department of "Aboriginal Affairs" is representative of the great national failing.  (I once read a rather telling suggestion:  compare the homes of the senior ADMs in that department with the average homes of those their department is intended to help.)

Indeed, the needs and concerns of first nations / Métis / Innu and other groups vary widely - the needs of the Dene differ from those of the Sto Lo which differ from the concerns of the Mohawks; within the Mohawks there are significant differences between largely urban Kanewake and trans-national Akwesasne.  There is no "one size fits all" solution.
Bass ackwards said:
They care about not being accused of racism. They care about being in power. And if a bunch of sad, sorry, perpetually ****** over people have to suffer for that..well, the ends justifies the means -doesn't it ?

I was bored at work and decided to see what our friends at Rabble.ca had to say about the issue.  I was reading this topic here.  There were some good bad, some bad and a bunch of itsharpersfault posts.  Nothing out of the norm for a rabid left forum.  Then came reply #44 which basically said that some residents are glad of the audit and 3rd party control (which I also heard via interviews).

That somehow was racist posting that and the next 10-20 posts where nothing but dogpile on the poster.  It was disgusting how fast they trip over themselves to accuse folks of racism when it comes to sensitive matters like this.  It seems that making people accountable for taxpayer money if they are not of the predominant "race" in this country is racist. 

My thought is that a large part of the problem is apathy within the native community at large to demand change from their people in how they are managed and governed.  The governments at all levels have made mistakes, I fully admit but to continue to play the "woe is me card" is starting to get tired.  Start making your people work for you rather than blaming the rest of Canada for all your problems.
Because we treat them differently from other human beings we call Canadians, they will suffer.

Fuck the entire racist policy of the department of *whatever the current politically correct term for the various tribes of Canada is* affairs, and disband it.  Treat them exactly as they treat me, you, and every other Canadian.  And hold them equally accountable.  Problem solved.
So, approx $90 million in funding provided over the last six years, for a pop of 1,800. That comes to approx $8,333 per person per year. I wonder how that equates to the provision of federal funding per person in other locations.

That said, I really have little to no sympathy at all - how many generations of welfare do we have to pay for? Their honoured ancestors were never, ever, so pathetically foolish and unmotivated - if there were no resources in a region, they moved. They didn't wait for somebody to fix their problems, they looked after themselves perfectly well. I refuse to accept any personal responsibility for their condition, neither myself or my family have done them any wrong, and I'm tired of them trying to blame every other Canadian for events generations in the past - get over it and make something of yourselves.
Technoviking said:
Because we treat them differently from other human beings we call Canadians, they will suffer.

frig the entire racist policy of the department of *whatever the current politically correct term for the various tribes of Canada is* affairs, and disband it.  Treat them exactly as they treat me, you, and every other Canadian.  And hold them equally accountable.  Problem solved.

Hear, Hear!!