Beyak should not be silenced about Indigenous issues

The senator has enabled all of us to take the first step in honestly discussing race and culture

Beyak should not be silenced about Indigenous issuesSen. Lynn Beyak was recently removed from the Conservative caucus for saying and publicizing things that many people think are true. This has emboldened her opponents, and some Indigenous activists are now suggesting that Beyak be thrown out of the Senate and investigated for thought crimes. A year ago, Beyak had the audacity to assert…

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…

First Nations spending accountability is essential

Forward-looking Indigenous governments realize that transparency is the only way to improved social and economic conditions

First Nations spending accountability is essentialIt’s distressing that Indigenous activist Harrison Thunderchild has been forced to go to court to make leaders of Saskatchewan’s Thunderchild First Nation disclose expenditures. Parliament passed the First Nations Financial Transparency Act in 2013, when the Conservatives were in power. The law made chief and band council salaries and benefits public information, as well as…

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation report

The commission seems to have begun its work with a conclusion in mind, then spent six years and more than $60 million amassing evidence to support it

A fundamental flaw at the centre of the Truth and Reconciliation reportThis close to Christmas is a good time to test our knowledge of Christianity and Christian charity. So ponder this: When Christian churches founded schools in Canada, what names did they use? Perhaps you think these schools were named after saints, days in the Christian calendar and important church leaders. If so, give yourself part…

Court decisions hurting Aboriginal communities

It’s time to look beyond the courts for political leadership that works to achieve greater certainty for everyone

Court decisions hurting Aboriginal communitiesIn recent months, several major resource projects across Canada, which would have led to billions of dollars of investment, were cancelled. Another project, the multi-billion dollar Trans Mountain pipeline (which carries oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia), faces an eight-day court hearing that started this week in the Federal Court of…

Entrenched dependence one of the worst legacies of the Indian Act

Bands under the oversight of the act should take steps toward financial self-sufficiency now, in preparation for eventual self-government

Entrenched dependence one of the worst legacies of the Indian ActSplitting Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) into two departments means one will be in charge of negotiations with First Nation communities and the other will be responsible for service delivery. Presumably that means the negotiating department can focus on signing self-governing arrangements with more bands under the Indian Act. As a result, the economic future…

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…

Indigenous department changes herald an important new beginning

The federal government must ensure that dividing the department into two helps bands negotiate self-government and create own-source revenue streams

Indigenous department changes herald an important new beginningRecent changes at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada are causing consternation across indigenous communities, and with other Canadians. The decision to split the department in two, one part overseeing Crown-indigenous relations and the other overseeing service delivery to communities, comes right out of the 20-year-old report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), which…

Andrew Scheer must put First Nations issues back on the agenda

The new Conservative leader can do much to advance indigenous issues and the national agenda – and get his party elected in 2019

Andrew Scheer must put First Nations issues back on the agendaIndigenous issues didn’t play a large part in the recent federal Conservative leadership race. They were mentioned but took a back seat to other matters. But Conservatives must understand that indigenous issues are of vital concern to all Canadians. For instance, candidates devoted considerable time debating TransCanada’s Energy East and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline projects. Energy…

The Indian Act should have been abolished years ago

Aboriginal Canadians must accept that remaining in grievance mode and relying on the government is preventing them from moving forward

The Indian Act should have been abolished years ago“The Indian Act is the root cause of all of the maladies that our people suffer from,” aboriginal leader Craig Blacksmith said recently. He's absolutely right. Blacksmith was a candidate in the recent Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) election. He ran on a platform of getting rid of the Indian Act. While he made it…
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