We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we try

If historical figures with 2020 attitudes could be found, renaming familiar streets and place names wouldn’t be so daunting

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we tryWinnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is determined to pursue his name game – renaming, removing and rewriting history. Among his targets is Bishop Grandin Boulevard – the mayor doesn’t like the late Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin’s attitudes. If Bowman succeeds, the next logical renaming would be St. Vital – also named after Grandin, who was an important…

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressed

Pushing for redrawn borders may force the province to address the unique economic and infrastructure needs of the region

Northern Manitoba alienation must be addressedManitoba Premier Brian Pallister recently threw cold water on the notion of Western Canada separation, saying good relationships aren’t built on threats to leave. But Pallister has similar issues on his own doorstep: Northern Manitoba alienation is real and the government must take it seriously. Last year, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy initiated a landmark…

First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

All levels of governments need to work together to develop a detailed strategy for dealing with COVID-19 among Indigenous communities

First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19The federal government has a mixed record on helping Indigenous communities deal with health issues. In the case of COVID-19, Ottawa must get it right. For many reasons, Indigenous communities are a perfect storm for this kind of outbreak. In 2009, during the height of the swine flu epidemic, Health Canada came under hot water…

Churchill pipeline a rare opportunity for Indigenous

Getting communities engaged in a potential project would allow the northern region to take control of its economic destiny

Churchill pipeline a rare opportunity for IndigenousA pipeline to the Port of Churchill would revitalize the long-neglected economies of northern Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan. But the ultimate success of this proposed project to Churchill, Man., will depend on the involvement and support of Indigenous communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. This alternate route to get oil to ocean tankers was proposed when…

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?

First we need to deal with our own problems, starting with the huge inequities among our Indigenous peoples

Can Canada lead a global push to eradicate poverty?Despite our best efforts towards eliminating poverty and inequality, large segments of society remain left behind. Problems seem to outpace rhetoric. Worse, governments face huge challenges in meeting their obligations and commitments. We face two tragedies: our domestic challenge with poverty and inequality, and the estimated 828 million people globally living in slums (expected to…

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communities

For economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities, we need consistent and stable policies for the resource sector

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communitiesThe decision by Teck Resources to withdraw its application for the Frontier oil sands project could risk future opportunities for Indigenous communities if it leads to more resource companies declining to invest in Canadian resource projects. Although Teck stated officially that the decision to withdraw was prompted by controversies surrounding Canada’s climate policies, Teck’s decision…

Where is the willingness to suffer for your beliefs?

Thoreau, Gandhi and King understood that going to jail was a reasonable price to pay for protest. Why don’t we accept that today?

Where is the willingness to suffer for your beliefs?In 1849, American philosopher Henry David Thoreau was angry at his government’s actions in the Mexican-American War and at the continued legality of slavery in the United States. He published an essay entitled Civil Disobedience, in which he stated that that the evils of war and slavery should be confronted by citizens through withholding their…

A place of reconciliation and pride

The process can include something as simple as discovering and using the ancient name for where you live

A place of reconciliation and prideAs we continue to hunker down in our Sunshine Coast house to avoid COVID-19, and come to emotional grips with the pandemic, it’s wonderful to have good news. We got some today. I just saw a new road sign go up in what has been called Saltery Bay since the early 1900s. Fair enough, you…

When reconciliation defies the common good

In a democracy, politicians need to balance various interests. Indigenous needs can’t always come first

When reconciliation defies the common goodTen years ago, Douglas Bland, a retired lieutenant-colonel from the Canadian Forces and the chair of Defence Studies at Queen’s University, published Uprising: A Novel. In this 500-page work of fiction, Bland outlines how militant Indigenous warriors and their allies could, in the tradition of Louis Riel, hold Canada up for ransom, stopping rail traffic, blocking…

We must face up to Canada’s dark past

Telling our Indigenous people to ‘get over it’ comes dangerously close to outright genocide denial

We must face up to Canada’s dark pastAs tensions have mounted in Canada in recent months over land claims and Indigenous rights, I’ve heard and read many variations of the phrase, “The Indigenous just need to get over it.” I wonder if the people who embrace this view really know what they’re saying. It reflects complete ignorance of the history of Canada…

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliation

Taking shortcuts becomes a fast track to ending the conversation and starting the shouting. We need to build a workable partnership

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliationCanadians have been swept over the roaring information waterfall and plunged into a kind of suspended frenzy, from the ‘crisis’ of Indigenous railway blockades to the fresh hell of a spreading global virus most of us had never heard of when 2020 began. One immediate effect is a dizzying distractedness that makes coherent political response…

Energy industry a pipeline to Indigenous prosperity

The link between oil sands development and First Nations prosperity is clear and profound. Project delays can be devastating

Energy industry a pipeline to Indigenous prosperityBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre When Teck Resources cancelled its proposed Frontier oil sands project last month, Canada lost more than the government revenues and blue-collar jobs the mine would have created. The loss of this project was also a blow to northern First Nations communities. On average, people who live…

Putting forests to work for Indigenous communities

Governments need to work with First Nations to ensure they have fair access to forest tenure and opportunities for partnerships

Putting forests to work for Indigenous communitiesWhen you think of Indigenous engagement in the natural resource economy, you usually think of opportunities in the oil and gas industry or in mining. However, First Nations are increasingly getting involved in commercial forestry. Certain provinces – including Manitoba – have a sizable forest industry that plays a substantial role in the provincial economy.…

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decision

I have no right to tell my neighbours what to do with a natural gas pipeline. We should leave it in their hands

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decisionSwiss physician and author Paul Tournier said, “The worst thing is not being wrong, but being sure one is not wrong.” I wrote a column several weeks ago stating that I support the Wet’suwet’en in their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built through their territory. What I have come to realize is that…

Thomas King exposed inconvenient Indigenous truths

Thomas King exposed inconvenient Indigenous truthsThe Inconvenient Indian By Thomas King Penguin Random House Canada There are many cheery stories in Canadian history. They focus on the Order of Good Cheer, the adventures of the Company of Adventurers, Radisson and des Groseilliers, and so on. It’s possible that Indigenous author Thomas King sought a counterbalance as he wrote The Inconvenient…
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