Crossing the hard line between the judiciary and politics

Just as it’s improper for a judge to comment on political matters, it’s completely inappropriate for politicians to comment publicly about court cases

Crossing the hard line between the judiciary and politicsThe jury trial of Gerald Stanley, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, marks a new development in criminal law. The trial itself was not unusual – a jury heard the evidence, deliberated and acquitted the Saskatchewan farmer. It’s what followed the acquittal that’s remarkable. Immediately following the verdict, the most senior…

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliation

If we had listened to Pierre Trudeau, we would no longer be talking about reconciliation – we would be at least part way there

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliationReconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous people and mainstream society is a goal all thoughtful Canadians seek. It’s obvious that too many Indigenous people lag far behind other Canadians by most economic and health indicators, and we must find ways to close that gap. It’s worthwhile considering what Prime Minister Trudeau has said: “The weight of history…

The silence over Indigenous woes is deafening

You can’t solve problems that can’t be discussed, yet we refuse to have frank and open discussions about a very real crisis

The silence over Indigenous woes is deafeningThe controversy over comments made by Sen. Lynn Beyak illustrates that it’s virtually impossible to openly discuss Canada’s most important domestic issue: the chronic problems of poverty and unemployment in Indigenous communities. People who disagree with claims that the problem stems from Indigenous victimization – colonialism, bad governmental policy, discrimination, residential schools and the like…

The soft racism of low expectations

You take away people’s independence and their pride by placing them in a different category than everyone else

The soft racism of low expectationsI recently became engaged in a war of words with the editor of a local newspaper. I was accused of slurring Indigenous people by using the term “gravy train” to describe the rich benefits that a minority of people have been able to extract from the system. I had always been careful to point out…

Ripples from ’60s Indigenous children Scoop continue

If governments hadn’t protected Indigenous children, they would have faced lawsuits for failure to honour their commitments to those children

Ripples from ’60s Indigenous children Scoop continueThe Alberta government is working with the ’60s Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta to hold “engagement” sessions with Indigenous adults who were placed as children in non-Indigenous homes. It seems likely that after an apology is officially made, discussions will immediately turn to compensation. The federal government established a precedent by apologizing and announcing monetary…

Beyak should not be punished for demanding a broader perspective

The bad experiences at residential schools have been well documented. But we can't forget that there were good experiences as well

Beyak should not be punished for demanding a broader perspectiveSen. Lynn Beyak was finally expelled from the Conservative Party caucus because “she allowed” racist posts to be placed on her website. More significantly, she refused to remove the offending material when ordered to do so by the Conservative leader. I’m one of the people with an email message posted on her website. In the…

Changing attitudes, changing platitudes

We’re rather smug in our belief that our modern take on things reflects a perfect and compassionate view for all time

Changing attitudes, changing platitudesThe federal government recently announced it will compensate people who lost their jobs or were otherwise persecuted a generation ago simply because their sexual orientation didn’t fit the accepted norm of the day. This perfectly reflects modern thinking, and the government should be applauded for the decision to compensate members of the military and other…

How alcohol is killing Aboriginal Canadians

In his important book Firewater, Harold Johnson talks about the enormous problem of alcohol abuse that plagues so many Indigenous communities

How alcohol is killing Aboriginal CanadiansWhat is the ’60s Scoop and why should a conversation about it still matter to Canadians today? The ’60s Scoop has been much in the news recently, and I expect we’ll hear much more about it in the coming weeks and years. I’m guessing there are already plans to make it the subject of the…

Wab Kinew proof that Manitoba can work for everyone

The fact that an Indigenous person is now the leader of Manitoba’s main opposition party, and a possible Premier, is very good news

Wab Kinew proof that Manitoba can work for everyoneThe dust has still not settled after Wab Kinew was elected as the new leader of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party. He has admitted to past indiscretions, but revelations of a domestic violence charge from some years ago gave rise to a flurry of negative comments from political commentators. Some hinted at a double standard based…

In defence of Sen. Lynn Beyak’s stance on Indigenous rights

Racial purity laws – status cards – have no place in a modern country. They should have been gone long ago

In defence of Sen. Lynn Beyak’s stance on Indigenous rightsSen. Lynn Beyak says in an open letter that the Indigenous should give up their status cards and become true Canadians. The reaction to the letter has been fast and furious. She has been denounced by a host of worthies. As I write this, I’m listening to a CBC radio interview with the mayor of…