Idle No More
It’s funny how social activists usually protest against the only things that have a credible chance of achieving the activists’ goals.
You can’t just sit around and make protest albums all your life; eventually it comes to the point where you have to do something.
Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane)
My daughter turns forty next year (I got married at 11) and I’m having some difficulty accepting that. I’ve never minded my own age, in fact, I’ve always felt that whatever age I was at any point in my life, including right now, was pretty much the perfect age for me. But suddenly realizing that your little girl is about to hit forty is a bit of a blow to the illusion of immortality. Perhaps it snuck up on me because she still looks like she’s barely thirty.
I’m getting older.
There. I’ve said it out loud and for about the first time in my life. Now I’m going to have to admit that the grey hair at the temples and in my beard isn’t something that makes look distinguished, it means I’m getting old.
When did that happen? Continue reading
I have issue fatigue.
Issue fatigue is not the same as having issues; I’m fairly confident that most of us have issues but it isn’t those personal issues of which I am tired. I grow weary of the constant carping about social issues by politicians, activists, the chronically under-informed, intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals alike.
Give it a rest – if only for a bit.
Every issue now is a crisis and each presented as the most important issue facing the world today by those who promote that particular issue. It doesn’t matter how the issues evolve, nothing changes. The rhetoric remains the same, it’s merely the justification to keep the issue alive that changes and that rhetoric is always borderline hysteria. “The issue is so critical that the world could end at 10:00 on Sunday if it isn’t addressed immediately – 10:30 in Newfoundland.”
Climate change is a perfect example.
It began as a sudden concern about a pending ice age. Scientists – the same scientists that environmentalists sell to us as the ultimate authority – were predicting a severe cooling of the earth’s temperatures. Based on their models, temperatures would dramatically drop, glaciers would emerge start moving south. Arable farm land was going to be lost causing food shortages and the water level of the oceans was going to rise causing major flooding along coastal areas.
When that didn’t work out quite as well as planned, the same scientists came up with new models that predicted global warming. Based on these models, scientists were now predicting significant increases in global temperatures which would melt glaciers causing the level of the oceans to rise. Arable farm land would dry out causing food shortages and there would be flooding along coastal areas due to the melting glaciers.
No matter which you believed, it didn’t seem to pay to live along a coastal area. Continue reading
Idle No More, now in its third month, has done something that few have accomplished in recent years. It has started to unite Canadians from all sides of the political spectrum and to focus them on aboriginal issues although perhaps not quite in a way that Idle No More was hoping to achieve.
After the revelations of the living conditions on Attawapiskat, there was a considerable amount of good will among Canadians to see the First Nations’ issues addressed, particularly with regards to education, water and poverty. That good will is slipping away like water through the fingers of the aboriginal community.
While its original intentions may have been good, Idle No More has been hijacked by cynical chiefs trying to use the movement as a hammer to prevent having to disclose their incomes and how they spend band money; by extremists, some of whom are neither Canadian or even aboriginal; and by foolish people like Theresa Spence who increasingly lacks credibility with any thinking person, aboriginal or non-aboriginal alike.
Canada is basically a nation of fairly decent people. We argue among ourselves over politics and sometimes trivial things but we are quick to respond when there is a human need, regardless of our political ideologies.
When Attawapiskat came to light, Canadians didn’t just demand action from their government on behalf of that beleaguered community, they responded with donations of clothing, boots and other needed supplies. When the CBC did a subsequent follow-up story on the reserve, there sat all those donations in a room not only not distributed but not even unpacked. There were many who took that as having been spit upon.
And there are many taking the current situation with Idle No More protests and demands in much the same way. If the First Nations are looking for ways to galvanize support for their cause, they’ve picked a poor way to go about it. Spitting on those who control both the government and the money typically only galvanizes resentment. Continue reading
By its simplest definition, democratic governments are government by the people for the people. We elect others to represent us and to manage our common resources and affairs on our behalf. While I’m quite willing to criticize government for its general lack of competence, the truth is that we the people are responsible for the governments we elect and always get only the government we deserve.
The outgoing Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, is a case in point. He is being justifiably vilified for his cynical, inefficient and dishonest approach to governance.
In his nine years in office, Mr. McGuinty has managed to rack up the highest debt in the province’s history, create completely unnecessary labour strife in our schools, presided over the squandering of billions in eHealth, Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Ornge Medical Helicopter Service. His energy policy has seen costs for sustainable energy increase by as much as eight times compared to hydro electric and much of that energy is not needed and is sold below cost to other jurisdictions. He has broken so many election promises that people stopped counting after he hit 75 during his first term in office.
Under his leadership, the province dropped from being the economic engine of Canada to being a ‘have-not’ province that has had its credit rating lowered and which now requires equalization payments from smaller provinces through the federal government.
There is little question that he remains one of the worst premiers in the history of Ontario, if not Canada and it is a relief to the majority that he is finally stepping down.
But here’s the thing. We elected him and not just once but three times. The writing was on the wall in his first term when he lied to us and publicly acknowledged it. It didn’t matter. He was reelected and reelected a third time despite the province’s dismal economy and myriad of other problems.
While Mr. McGuinty remains responsible for his abysmal performance while in office, we are responsible for not doing anything about it when we had the opportunity.
A similar situation is taking place right now in the United States. Continue reading
Once again Canada is being subjected to protests that include blockades of roads, railways and entrances to various facilities; flash mobs and drum circles. Once again militant members of various First Nations are demonstrating, inspired by a movement started earlier this year by four women in Saskatchewan.
The movement is called Idle No More and whatever its original intent, it has quickly been overrun with those who have more militant agendas. It is also a movement that was started based on some serious misunderstandings and misinterpretations about recent government legislation that has been promulgated by the leaders of the First Nations, many politicians on the left and the mainstream media.
In a three-part series beginning today, Peggy Tupper, examines those misunderstandings and misconceptions that sparked the Idle No More Movement, Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the protests, blockades and demonstrations occurring in various parts of the country. Continue reading