Canada committed genocide?
There is a move to have the United Nations and the Canadian government recognize what was done in the past to Native Canadians as genocide.
Phil Fontaine, a former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Bernie Farber, senior vice-president of Gemini Power Corporation and former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote a letter to the United Nations.
They write, “It is our conviction that Canada’s history with First Nations people was not just dark and brutal, but in fact constituted a “genocide” as defined by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.”
Governments have apologized for the wrongs that have been done to native Canadians – make no mistake about it, what was done is many cases was wrong – but we live in a different world today and looking through the lens of hindsight so that people today are made to apologize for something they had no part in, while apologizing to people who equally were not there, will solve nothing.
Designating Canada as a nation that committed genocide would only inflame discontent in places like the Northern Ontario reserve of Appawatiskat, where the real problems the people living there have are as much the fault of their self-serving leadership right now, as well as historically, as anything else.
We live in a time and a society of immense wealth and prosperity – even the poorest among us in Canada have medicine and food available to them. We have a safety net designed to catch people. This is not something our forefathers had.
Can you really apply 2013 morality to decisions made in a time when nothing was assured…when disputes over resources were literally life and death issues? Do we want to go back and visit every wrong done on our soil, including the devastation various native tribes visited on other tribes, to make them apologize?
What good would that do?
The more recent issue of the residential schools, for all of the wrongs done, was not a genocide. And it has been apologized for.
The letter to the UN reads, “The sooner we recognize this truth, the sooner both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians will be able to heal from our shared traumas.”
Well, the sooner the massive corruption and mismanagement on reserves is dealt with, the sooner the healing can begin. The sooner native people realize that wallowing in the victimhood of the past, the sooner the healing can begin.
But making the white man of the 1800’s the evil entity seems to be intended to serve to keep attention off the corrupt leaders on reserves, and this move to designate Canada as a genocidal nation is one more arrow in that quiver.
If Monday Morning quarterbacking the colonization of Canada makes people feel better, then they will do it. But don’t pretend that arguing over the labeling of the wrong that was done generations ago will do anything to solve the real, ongoing issues that face natives in Canada today.