Monday, December 31, 2012

Idle No More

Despite (once again) crowning Stephen Harper the Douchebag of the Year, there was something I couldn't mention in the video, simply because of lack of time. It's not much of a secret that -- like most countries with an aboriginal population -- Canada treats its native peoples like third-class citizens. This is by no means unique to Harper; possibly the most shameful chapter in our history, involves the federal government pretty much abducting Indian children, from 1884 to 1948, and abusing them in boarding schools to try to wipe out their heritage. It's as close as we've ever come to ethnic cleansing -- and ironically, something that Harper once apologized for.

Beyond that, Harper's attitude towards the First Nations peoples of Canada has been.... to do pretty much nothing. At all. One of his first acts as prime minister, was scrapping a treaty that (theoretically anyway) would have done something to improve the Third World conditions of native reservations (including an almost total lack of education, infrastructure, clean water, adequate shelter, job opportunities, etc.). The only other thing that I can think of, that he's done, was effectively take over the administration of the Attawapiskat reserve... and charging the DIRT POOR VILLAGE thousands of dollars for that privilege.

Because of this -- among other things that I'm not qualified to comment on -- the reserve's Chief, Theresa Spence, has gone on a hunger strike. She's demanding a meeting with Harper, as well as Governor General David Johnson, to get to the bottom of the issues there. This has sparked SEVERAL protests nationwide, considerable media coverage, and INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION. So typically, Harper's response has been absolutely nothing.

Some Conservative lackies -- when they haven't been racist as hell -- have mocked Spence and asked that she stop the hunger strike. As many right-wingers do, they completely miss the point. This is on Harper and Johnson's heads, because they are effectively the leaders of this country -- and especially because the federal government has pretty much annexed Spence's village. Leaving aside the piss poor optics of REFUSING TO MEET WITH A LEADER ON A HUNGER STRIKE, this whole issue is Ottawa's responsibility (and these people say that liberals and natives are lazy -- pot calling kettle, anyone?), and it's not like Harper's got much going on during the holidays -- ONE MEETING is all that Spence is asking for. At this point, she might be happy with dropping in to wish her a happy new year.

It's a shame that Stephen Harper would never read this article, or personally respond to it, because here's a question I'd love to ask him, point blank: it's no secret that most Canadians hate your guts, and regardless of your rhetoric, Canada's reputation abroad is getting WORSE because of you. How do you think Canada and the world would react, if you become the only First World leader in ages -- if not EVER -- to be PERSONALLY responsible for the death of a peaceful protester?  And an Indian protester, to boot!

Probably the only thing that worries me at all, about the New Year, is how this might unfold, if Chief Spence starves to death, all because Harper can't be bothered to act like a human being. The people are angry right now, and the world is watching. You would think someone as power-hungry and politically savvy as Harper, would understand the dangers of creating a martyr -- if she dies, Harper may come to wish that he'd resigned a long time ago.