More and more I hear Canadians making mean and disparaging comments about those who disagree or have different points of view. I also hear racist remarks, which is terribly distressing. It's not who we are as a nation. Some of the things said after the shooting at the Mosque in Quebec made me feel like I was at a Trump rally. And I'm not ashamed, or afraid, to say I don't like it.
Canadian indigenous people have been described as "ghosts of history," spectres lingering in the background, haunting our legacy. This refers to the fact that indigenous people have been ignored to a great extent in Canadian history, yet Canadians are fully aware that indigenous people were here long before the arrival of the Europeans.
Speaking at the recent Global Fund replenishment conference in Montreal, Mr. Trudeau touted that "Canada will continue to lead by example, and show the world what we can accomplish when we unite in pursuit of a larger goal." However, this declaration came at a time when HIV rates have been steadily rising across the country, people with HIV being criminalized for non-disclosure and underfunding for HIV organizations.
This group thinks Aboriginal Peoples are getting a free ride with status cards and tax exemptions (limited, and specific) and they want in on it. Do these people not realize that Aboriginal Peoples do pay taxes? If not, it is unlikely they have thought further about the history of cards and tax exemptions.
Canada does not appear to possess a definitive or authoritative narrative that properly connects when and by whom the country was founded. While surveys reveal that most Canadians believe that 1867 is the founding date of Canada many of those same people think the First Nations are amongst the founding peoples.
With indigenous peoples among the fastest growing demographic in Canada, providing education opportunities that ensure they have the skills they need to succeed is more than a social responsibility, it is also an economic imperative. Collaboration between educators and leaders in the business sector is therefore key in achieving real progress.
Either one understands that a people's land is sacred, or one doesn't. If someone wants to make a bundle of profits, no matter how green the project, at least take if off sacred land. The sacred Chaudières site, which has been abused by industry for over a century, is in need of remediation, not redevelopment for private profit.
Epidemics of obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases and suicide that plague First Nation children across Canada are complex and multi-faceted. Yet government solutions often focus on simplistic bio-medical approaches -- when they address the crises at all -- and too often ignore the cultural strategies proposed by indigenous leaders.
Organized sport played an important role in the residential school system, which means that sport is implicated in Canada's history of cultural genocide. How we move our bodies, the values we attach to those movements, and the resources we provide to support certain types of movements and not others are political decisions.
The health of Canada's indigenous people lags substantially behind other Canadians -- and the tragic reality is well documented. Sadly, the data regarding poor health status for indigenous populations shows us this is true across all major illnesses and across all age groups. In other words, being an indigenous person in Canada is too often a dangerous reality. But it doesn't have to be this way. These phenomena are not new, and while Canada has been good at documenting health crises, and collecting evidence, we've been poor at doing anything about it.