History books are filled with accounts of disgusting and even murderous behaviour by colonizing nations.
Some of the despicable schemes involving church officials and government bureaucrats are being exposed.
Today, the ghosts of long lost Indigenous children haunt our souls. The next time you are in a dark room trying to sleep, take a moment to listen attentively. Your imagination might conjure up the muffled sounds of frightened and lonely children sobbing beneath your pillow.
The only Canadian prime minister who made a genuine effort to change the ongoing plight of Indigenous people was Paul Martin. His 2006 Kelowna Accord initiative was the culmination of an 18-month consultative process that involved the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, and five national Indigenous organizations. The objective of that comprehensive 10-year plan, was to ‘close the gap’ between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous standard of living, but it was derailed by his successor, Stephen Harper.
After six years in office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has little to show for his ‘Sunny Ways’ blustering. There are lots of pictures of him wearing Indigenous regalia and making promises, but grandstanding is what he is about.
That brings us to the implementation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Mostly non-Indigenous middle-class members of our society will now get an annual holiday to reflect on the ongoing incompetence and duplicity of our federal government.
The money funding this public relations spectacle should have been earmarked for viable solutions to address the problems that so many Indigenous people face on a daily basis, such as, medical care, potable water, quality education, addiction counselling, skills training, infrastructure construction, suicide prevention, childhood obesity, affordable food and decent housing.
If Trudeau was sincerely committed to helping Indigenous people, he would have asked Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott to head up a Truth and Reconciliation task force with an ironclad guarantee their recommendations would be acted upon. Instead he kicked them out of his caucus, and thereby, shattered their dreams, and those of others, about helping to make Canada a more just society.
Trying to absolve Canada’s sins of neglect by declaring a national holiday seems crass, opportunistic and short-sighted.
Lloyd Atkins, Vernon