Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Notes: John Gray, "No miracle solutions in sight for Canada's native people," CBC News Online, July 14, 2006.

...a good starting point is the letter Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote to the Calgary Herald just a few days before the opening of the AFN conference. The prime minister could not have been more blunt in drawing a line between himself and the native leadership across the country.

...Harper said his new government would oppose "racially divided fisheries programs." That is, quite simply, the allocation of separate quotas of fishing sites to native and non-native fishermen.


The fact is that Harper arrived at 24 Sussex Drive with his own particular view of what should be government policy towards native people. That view particularly reflected the attitudes of Tom Flanagan, Harper’s most trusted adviser over the years, who believes Canadian policy toward natives is fundamentally wrong.

Flanagan and Harper believe that the system of native reserves is wrong, that native people should be integrated into the broader Canadian society rather than be encouraged to live on reserves.

That view explains the Harper government’s allocation of $300-million for off-reserve housing for native people in the recent budget — a total reversal of the broad lines of the Kelowna agreement reached by the Paul Martin government, provincial premiers and native people last November, just weeks before the federal election.


Fontaine must know that the desperate condition of many of Canada’s native people is not due just to a lack of money. They are people crippled by history, and for those problems the only cure is time.... [They are not crippled at all. But they have been betrayed by democracy in which each successive leader repudiates what the previous ones have agreed to. It's ironic that Harper expects Hamas to stand by agreements between Fatah and Israel but does not feel bound by his own advice at home. -jlt]
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