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The Left's Betrayal of the First Nations

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Clarification: In the original blog post, a reference to Daniel Wilson did not include an explicit reference to his quote in a National Post article that was linked to earlier in the post. This has been clarified below. We regret any confusion that may possibly have been caused.

Left-wing fundamentalist ideology is oppressing the very groups they claim to champion. Their rhetoric is anathema to the needs of those they claim to represent. The ideologues on the left are the ones who need to take responsibility for the poor outcomes for the Aboriginal peoples. Their anti-capitalism, anti-globalization and anti-colonialism magniloquence does nothing on the ground but make life more difficult for those they claim they wish to assist. The time has come to put the blame squarely where it belongs regarding the lack of progress for the Aboriginals in Canada: the betrayal by the left.

As reported by the National Post's Andrew Coyne, Mi'kmaw activist, Pam Palmater, professor at Ryerson, sees the way forward by returning to "our traditional ways of governing, learning, trading, sustaining and relating." Great, but she works in the largest city in Canada, and never has to check her trap lines or fear for her children's future.

This call to the past as a pathway to the future is centuries old. It dates back to the Industrial Revolution in Europe that led to unprecedented change including a great upheaval in the population, a migration from rural to urban. The response from the left was to play on fear of the future, demonize modernity and embrace Romanticism; a return to nature, an idyllic pastoral past that never existed, away from science, and re-engage with innocence. Rousseau's natural man.

Today, this same old story, and the exploitation of fear, has been recycled, tarted up with a new shade of lipstick and reused. The left pastes their environmental agenda, an agenda that is more concerned about the planet than the people inhabiting it, to the feelings the First Nations have for the land. They encourage their refusal of accessing the abundant natural resources for the benefit of all -- especially their children. Instead the left encourages the old mantra: tradition. It reminds me of the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, where the lesson learned was tradition can be transported to a new place and thrive.

For the left-wing ideologues using the aboriginals as allies in their environmentalism while living well in the cities, giving their children every opportunity to succeed is a win-win. In the name of environmentalism, the left-wing agenda does nothing on the ground but make life more difficult for those they claim they wish to assist.

And today, the left never misses an opportunity to second the language of the Holocaust to attract attention to their causes. Palmater's proclamations are an example of the hyperbolic language of the left that has a one-size fits all answer to everything. In the National Post she said of the government's agenda that it is nothing less than "genocide" and the complete elimination "socially, culturally, legally, physically." The left uses the word genocide ever so causally. Palmater, following lock-step with many of her compatriots finds no shame in comparing the actions of Canadians (or fill in the blank) with the actions of the Nazis. This language enrages rather than engages.

There is a big difference between assimilation and acculturation. Many peoples, from multiple cultural backgrounds have come to Canada and maintained many of their traditions. There is no reason to assume that integrating into the larger population, taking advantage of modernity, will lead to a social, cultural, legal or physical elimination of the First Nations. That is plain fear-mongering.

By encouraging nostalgia for some ephemeral past, the left patronizes and infantilizes while promoting the eternal and infinite victimization of the people they say they are defending. While Canadians are paying to give our First Nations a leg up into modernity, this Romantic attitude, the calling card of the left, stands in the way of hope and change.

Enormous transfers of money have been made over the decades to no avail. Substantial amounts of money go to very small communities where there is a lack of trained professionals to enact the modifications needed. There exists minimal infrastructure -- from homes to schools, hospitals and water, sewage and electricity, as well as the basics of political and judiciary institutions.

In response to criticism there is a constant deflection away from personal responsibility -- whether it is from Chief Spence or Daniel Wilson, former senior director with the Assembly of First Nations who said (as quoted in Andrew Coyne's article), "Indigenous death and despair serve the government's purpose ... through underfunding and interference with local governance, the current government is starving people off reserves [to] make it easier for the government's friends in the oil, gas and mining industries to go about their business unhindered." It is easier to pass the blame than shine a light on one's own dark shadows. And why should they accept blame? Politicians from the left, including Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau validate the behaviours when they pay homage; the mountain going to Mohamed.

Do the First Nations wish to come to the table as victims or as equals? As equals they must bring with them the list of obligations they have to their people and the responsibilities they have toward the rest of Canada. In negotiations there must be an understanding of mutual obligations responsibilities and duties as well as a discussion of rights.

If the Aboriginal Peoples do not break away from the left and their anti-capitalism dogma, they are doomed to remain trapped in the past; forever waiting for Godot.