Sunday, 30 October 2016

I Support Betterment for Indigenous Youth; I Dont Support Using Them for Political Gain

As stated in the title of this entry, I support the betterment and proper treatment/funding for Indigenous youth. It has been continuous that provincial and federal governments have not held up their side of the settler/Indigenous relations - forcing us on to reserves, taking our youth away, 'trying to kill the 'Indian' in the Child,' and seeking provincial control over Indigenous peoples, especially First Nations. Thus, it is more then overdue for shifts in the relationship and time for the proper and dutiful consultation and working relationship needed with our communities to rectify and fix these problems.

There is another problem with how we fix these problems? How can a new and better/more dutiful form of consultation, relationship building, and nation-to-nation context be developed and implemented if a Canadian government does not properly do what it needs to in order to move towards such consultation etc - this requires consultation on what consultation and thus implementation would entail. Furthermore, to whom is the consultation on how consultation is to be implemented and developed to be discussed with?

Indian Act Chief and Councils? Traditional Governance/Clan Mothers/Clan Leaders where they still exist? The people - in-community and off-of community? The Numbered Treaties, or the Modern Treaties? The areas not treatied or the pre-confederation treaties? Or all of the treaty and non treatied areas which, in many cases, have various differences within them? The Indigenous organizations or the grassroots Indigenous Organizations? Or Both? The list could go on.

As complicated as it all seems, the conversation needs to happen. But what doesn’t need to happen? The NDP utilizing the plight of Indigenous youth to score political points in the western political system that Canada utilizes.'

I have strong issue with this, as it has been a consistent thing the NDP has done for years - with many forgetting the party's recent history and past. Charlie Angus, and others, have been excessively vocal (with him recently belittling Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux on twitter because she had been a past LPC-Candidate and thus her work is tainted because of this - because, it always looks good when a white man belittles an FN Woman who is a survivor, who comes from it all and worked damn hard to persevere through it - sarcasm intended).

But again - Charlie Angus and others loyal and supportive of the NDP have no issue with putting forth a motion that, if defeated, will still make them look like defenders of Indigenous peoples, especially FNs. They do this despite knowing that their motion is impossible to enact. Why? Canada's political structure has a hierarchy, it has checks and balances, it has systems in place, it has a bureaucracy, there are also laws - all of which need to then be reviewed, changed, supported and endorsed in the HOC etc - all in order to make come into effect (despite the fact the Liberal Government is working towards (aka: consulting) how best to make consultation better and more reflective of both sides as equal partners on these lands).

Again - Angus and others are doing this and pushing it because if it is defeated, especially since the Liberal government is working towards making the changes needed on welfare but there are so many processes and protocols to follow when making these changes on both the Canadian and Indigenous sides of this issue, then they can use it to make it look like they are tryng to save us Indigenous peoples and that it is only them who are listening to us ... which is not true at all. They rely on the fact that many, including many on the Indigenous side, do not fully know or understand the political and legal processes that must be followed to make something occur or enacted.

Angus and others also rely on the fact that many do not know or recall or know the NDP's own history and how they have assisted in making things worse for Indigenous peoples, whether supporting colonial legislation in the past when they were called the 'Progressives' or 'Labour;' enacting legislation and law at the provincial level that sought further control and jurisdiction over Indigenous peoples, such as in Saskatchewan when they were called the CCF, or the steamrolling of FN communities and rights as the NDP when governing BC; or the flooding of FN communities as well as the attack on Indigenous youth as the NDP when governing Manitoba.

Thus, I wonder Mr. Angus:

           Are you willing to call out your provincial wings (as in the NDP their provincial parties and federal party are tied together – if you are a member of one, you are a member of the other and in fact the provincial wings have much impact on the federal side and the federal side can impact the provincial parts greatly too), especially the Manitoba NDP, for their colonial history, and even their recent history, in what they have done to Indigenous rights, jurisdictions, autonomy, and sovereignty?
         Are you willing to call out your own party for its impact on the Kelowna Accord failing, when you and your NDP colleagues stood up and caused an election – effectively killing the accord that would have had a great and positive impact on Indigenous youth and their welfare?
         Will you call out your own party for its role in preventing the destruction of the MRP legislation in May 2009, when you guys didn’t want to let the Liberals look good in getting to push the motion first to kill it (killing the bill would have been far more beneficial to FN youth)?
         Will you also call out your own party for promising to not go into deficit if having been elected in October 2015, but somehow still paying for the much needed upgrades and fiscal disparities that exist for FNs, and thus probably failing at doing so, despite not showing and explaining your plan?
         Will you and your fellow NDP MPs and the party structure acknowledge its own colonial past (as has been being done within the Liberal party through the Indigenous Peoples Commission of the LPC)?

I would have far more faith in your actions Mr. Angus – if there was an acknowledgement of your own party’s colonial past – federally and provincially. But because there is an unwillingness to even acknowledge the NDP’s only colonial past and the fact that such a motion will not bring change over night, it is hard for me to not see your actions as one for political points rather then true decolonization.

And because of that, I want to express to you, the NDP, and all of Canadian politics: My rights and well-being are not a pawn in a political chess-game; the rights and well-being of our elders and seniors are not a pawn in a political chess-game; our treaty rights are not a pawn in a political chess-game; the well-being of my nephews, niece, and all Indigenous children are not a pawn in a political chess game; decolonization, reconciliation, consultation, and nation-to-nation relations are not a pawn in a political chess-game. So stop using us as your pawns!

Deconstructing colonialism and settler-colonialism is not a game either and you cannot decolonize 300+ years in 13 months, let alone a motion that is more of a poison pill for political points rather then for true action and support. 

Thus I ask,  and I'd love to hear some feasible answers on how the Canadian government can move more quickly on all of thus while also working their the tons of other responsibilities they have and the encorachment of provinces on Indigenous nations and our rights?

Please see the following past blogs that also have the sources I used:

For Further Information, see what Joshua Fraser wrote as well (including his links highlighting many of the points I also made):

           The provincial Manitoba NDP under the leadership of Wab Kinew has passed a motion condemning federal inaction/spending on First Nations children. I have respect for a lot of good work Wab has done for Indigenous people. But it must be known that the NDP party that he was elected to, who just recently got booted from office, was known for the amount of First Nations children put into CFS (care).
         Manitoba First Nations child advocate says [NDP govt] province is muzzling her
         Manitoba has more than 10,000 kids in care and the vast majority are indigenous
         NDP provincial politicians such as Kinew and federal politicians such as Niki Ashton don’t want to acknowledge their party’s history and record on Indigenous children in care
          We also must keep in mind the federal NDP campaigned on a zero-deficit/balanced budget agenda. Considering that commitment and the books the Liberals inherited, there would be no money to fund many of their election promised, let alone fund new and emergency priorities, particularly for Indigenous peoples and communities.
         The NDP bring up important Indigenous issues, they are not always wrong, but they have to check their smugness and look into their own action/in-action and commitments. I for one, believe when Minister Bennett states that the federal government is committed to fixing this issue, starting with the record budget allocation, Canada Child Benefit and the recent commitments made by the federal government.

Government of Canada Focused on Making a Difference for First Nations Children and Families:

            Liberal Government priority continues to be first and foremost the wellbeing of children. Our government welcomes, accepts and is complying with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings and orders regarding Child and Family Services on reserve and Jordan’s Principle.
         Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux appointed as the Minister’s Special Representative (MSR) responsible for leading a national engagement process and providing advice on the reform of the on-reserve First Nations Child and Family Services program. Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux’s work will reflect renewed Nation-to-Nation relationships with First Nations communities, through engagement with a number of key partners, including First Nations youth and leadership, national and regional organizations, services providers and the provinces and Yukon Territory. This is a concrete step in our commitment to engage with partners to develop options for full-scale reform.
         For Jordan’s Principle, we have introduced a new approach, integrated with provinces and territories, with an expanded scope to make sure no child falls through the cracks, and have provided an additional $382 million over three years in new funding. As a result of this new approach, we have confirmed coverage for almost 900 First Nations children to receive services and supports through Canada’s expanded definition of Jordan’s Principle. A great proportion of these children are receiving support for respite care, and funding has also been provided for supports such as specialized medical equipment and supplies; medical transportation; specialized day programs; and addiction treatment programs. Our government has also committed to enhancing service coordination and to working with our provincial and territorial partners to ensure that First Nations children have access to the same publicly funded health and social services available to other children where they live.
         Budget 2016 also made historic investments in First Nations child welfare, with nearly $635 million over five years in new funding. This includes $71 million this year for immediate relief for additional prevention services to address the most pressing concerns.

         When the Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners wrote the Calls to Action they wisely began with child welfare. In the same manner, our government is committed to reforming child and family services and ensuring we are putting the needs of Indigenous children first. Through working in genuine partnership we will truly be able to change the status quo.”

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