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Monday, January 21, 2013

Point of view

Hi Bob. Win's letter and your response Wed. morning have together covered off most of what I had written and was going to send to you and so this will be a light addendum to what has already been said. (1) Ezra Levant and his rants should never be used to prove a point.To expect him to be anything but an extremely biased partisan conservative would be the equal of expecting Attila The Hun to be nominated for the post of Gen'l Sec'y of the UN . It ain't gonna happen.(2) In her 2011 annual report of an extensive audit of the aboriginal situation, Sheila Fraser,the former Auditor General whose integity and service to Canada is exemplary and beyond repute declared that "the delivery system of services for the aboriginal canadians is broken. Ottawa is doing a terrible job of providing health services,clean water, education and housing and it is not getting better". (3) In 2005 then Prime Minister Paul Martin in association with provincial premiers and representatives of the aboriginal community had made what was expected to be a major move towards resolving many of todays problems, but the Kelowna Accord he negotiated went on the shelf with his electoral defeat. (4) In his speech to the aboriginal community in 2008 ,apologizing for the wrongs of the residential school fiasco Prime Minister Harper said " that a new relationship based on the knowledge of our shared history,a respect for each other,and a desire to move forward together with a renewed understanding that strong families,strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a better Canada for all of us". Since then there had been only one meeting (Jan 2012) until last Friday. It seems obvious to me that it is difficult to make progress towards resolving the issues without the appropriate dialogue with the appropriate people on a continuous and ongoing basis.
One thing I learned in my 32 year career in marketing and communications for a national organization is that the bad news always get the headlines and you really have to work very hard to get exposure for the good things. So it is that the Glooscap and the Attawapiskat situations are held up as the poster boys for the ineptitude and laziness ,and greediness of aboriginal people in general. If that were true Julian Fantino and Peter McKay and Bev Oda could be portrayed as the shining lights of the conservative/reform party to the detriment of the many other hard-working competent members of that party.
As Winston said in his last missive--"there is enough blame in this situation to go around".All political stripes,aboriginal and non-aboriginal and all levels of government.
But it is now time to put the blame game behind us --one and all-- and get on with the job of righting the ship.
Before I sign off though, I think it important to note that even under the current circumstances there have been many
successes that the aboriginal peoples can and should be trumpeting( the good news stories) and in my small way I will start here.
In addition to Chief Clarence Louie and his Osoyoos band and their own vineyard and winery which employs more than 700 persons--native and non native-- in British Columbia how about Chief Matthew Coon Come and the Cree of Northern Quebec--- an economic partner with the Quebec Government since 1976 and the owners of Creebec Air-- their own airline, and is also a major manufacturer of custom made 30' voyageurs canoes.
Individually, I would cite (A) John Kim Bell from Kahnawake(Caughnawaga to the oldtimers) a world renowned music composer,conductor and producer, (B) Douglas Cardinal (metis/Blackfoot) from BC-- world renowned architect whose Museum of Civilization in Hull ,across the river from Ottawa is a masterpiece (C) James Bartleman- Chippewa from Ontario,a former diplomat and Lt -Governor of Ontario
Obviously I could most likely find many more examples but I think that I have made my point that under the right circumstances( an environment that is personally healthy, a culture that supports personal initiative, an education system that encourages high academic achievement and an economic model that creates participation in the workforce and the fair division of royalties from resources on their lands) Aboriginal people can thrive and prosper as well as any of us "whities". I don't claim to have all the answers but as Winston has suggested here is my contribution to the discussion. JMcC
Thanks John....

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