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What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Barriere Lake community members block logging machinery on their territory. Photo: Pei-Ju Wang
Barriere Lake community members block logging machinery on their territory. Photo: Pei-Ju Wang
DeBeers' open pit mine near Attawapiskat.
DeBeers' open pit mine near Attawapiskat.

by Dru Oja Jay

There is a prevailing myth that Canada's more than 600 First Nations and native communities live off of money -- subsidies -- from the Canadian government. This myth, though it is loudly proclaimed and widely believed, is remarkable for its boldness; widely accessible, verifiable facts show that the opposite is true.

Indigenous people have been subsidizing Canada for a very long time.
 
Conservatives have leaked documents in an attempt to discredit chief Theresa Spence, currently on hunger strike in Ottawa. Reporters like Jeffrey Simpson and Christie Blatchford have ridiculed the demands of native leaders and the protest movement Idle No More. Their ridicule rests on this foundational untruth: that it is hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians that pays for housing, schools and health services in First Nations. The myth carries a host of racist assumptions on its back. It enables prominent voices like Simpson and Blatchford to liken protesters' demands to "living in a dream palace" or "horse manure," respectively.
 
It's true that Canada's federal government controls large portions of the cash flow First Nations depend on. Much of the money used by First Nations to provide services does come from the federal budget. But the accuracy of the myth ends there.
 
On the whole, the money that First Nations receive is a small fraction of the value of the resources, and the government revenue, that comes out of their territories. Let's look at a few examples.
 
Barriere Lake
 
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have a traditional territory that spans 10,000 square kilometres. For thousands of years, they have made continuous use of the land. They have never signed a treaty giving up their rights to the land. An estimated $100 million per year in revenues are extracted every year from their territory in the form of logging, hydroelectric dams, and recreational hunting and fishing.
 
And yet the community lives in third-world conditions. A diesel generator provides power, few jobs are available, and families live in dilapidated bungalows. These are not the lifestyles of a community with a $100 million economy in its back yard. In some cases, governments are willing to spend lavishly. They spared no expense, for example, sending 50 fully-equipped riot police from Montreal to break up a peaceful road blockade with tear gas and physical coercion.
 
Barriere Lake is subsidizing the logging industry, Canada, and Quebec.
 
The community isn't asking for the subsidies to stop, just for some jobs and a say in how their traditional territories are used. They've been fighting for these demands for decades.
 
Attawapiskat
 
Attawapiskat has been in the news because their ongoing housing crisis came to the attention of the media in 2011. (MP Charlie Angus referred to the poverty-stricken community as "Haiti at 40 below.") More recently, Chief Theresa Spence has made headlines for her ongoing hunger strike. The community is near James Bay, in Ontario's far north.
 
Right now, DeBeers is constructing a $1 billion mine on the traditional territory of the Āhtawāpiskatowi ininiwak. Anticipated revenues will top $6.7 billion. Currently, the Conservative government is subjecting the budget of the Cree to extensive scrutiny. But the total amount transferred to the First Nation since 2006 -- $90 million -- is a little more than one per cent of the anticipated mine revenues. As a percentage, that's a little over half of Harper's cut to GST.
 
Royalties from the mine do not go to the First Nation, but straight to the provincial government. The community has received some temporary jobs in the mine, and future generations will have to deal with the consequences of a giant open pit mine in their back yard.
 
Attawapiskat is subsidizing DeBeers, Canada and Ontario.
 
Lubicon
 
The Lubicon Cree, who never signed a treaty ceding their land rights, have waged a decades-long campaign for land rights. During this time, over $14 billion in oil and gas has been removed from their traditional territory. During the same period, the community has gone without running water, endured divisive attacks from the government, and suffered the environmental consequences of unchecked extraction.
 
Sour gas flaring next to the community resulted in an epidemic of health problems and stillborn babies. Moose and other animals fled the area, rendering the community's previously self-sufficient lifestyle untenable overnight. In 2011, an oil pipeline burst, spilling 4.5 million litres of oil onto Lubicon territory. The Lubicon remain without a treaty, and the extraction continues.
 
The Lubicon Cree are subsidizing the oil and gas sector, Alberta and Canada.
 
What will Canada do without its subsidies?
 
From the days of beaver trapping to today's aspirations of becoming an energy superpower, Canada's economy has always been based on natural resources. With 90 per cent of its settler population amassed along the southern border, exploitation of the land's wealth almost always happens at the expense of the Indigenous population.
 
Canada's economy could not have been built without massive subsidies: of land, resource wealth, and the incalculable cost of generations of suffering.
 
Overall numbers are difficult to pin down, but consider the following: Canadian governments received $9 billion in taxes and royalties in 2011 from mining companies, which is a tiny portion of overall mining profits; $3.8 billion came from exports of hydroelectricity alone in 2008, and 60 per cent of Canada's electricity comes from hydroelectric dams; one estimate has tar sands extraction bringing in $1.2 trillion in royalties over 35 years; the forestry industry was worth $38.2 billion in 2006, and contributes billions in royalties and taxes.
 
By contrast, annual government spending on First Nations was $5.36 billion in 2005 (it's slightly higher now). By any reasonable measure, it's clear that First Nations are the ones subsidizing Canada.
 
These industries are mostly taking place on an Indigenous nation's traditional territory, laying waste to the land in the process, submerging, denuding, polluting and removing. The human costs are far greater; brutal tactics aimed at erasing native peoples' identity and connection with the land have created human tragedies several generations deep and a legacy of fierce and principled resistance that continues today.
 
Canada has developed myriad mechanisms to keep the pressure on and the resources flowing. But policies of large-scale land theft and subordination of peoples are not disposed to half measures. From the active violence of residential schools to the targetted neglect of underfunded reserve schools, from RCMP and armed forces rifles to provincial police tear gas canisters, the extraction of these subsidies has always been treated like a game of Risk, but with real consequences.
 
Break the treaty, press the advantage, and don't let a weaker player rebuild.
 
Idle? Know More.
 
The last residential school was shut down in 1996. Canadians today would like to imagine themselves more humane than past generations, but few can name the Indigenous nations of this land or the treaties that allow Canada and Canadians to exist.
 
Understanding the subsidies native people give to Canada is just the beginning. Equally crucial is understanding the mechanisms by which the government forces native people to choose every day between living conditions out of a World Vision advertisement and hopelessness on one hand, and the pollution and social problems of short-term resource exploitation projects on the other.
 
Empathy and remorse are great reasons to act to dismantle this ugly system of expropriation. But an even better reason is that Indigenous nations present the best and only partners in taking care of our environment. Protecting our rivers, lakes, forests and oceans is best done by people with a multi-millenial relationship with the land.
 
As the people who live downstream and downwind, and who have an ongoing relationship to the land, Cree, Dene, Anishnabe, Inuit, Ojibway and other nations are among the best placed and most motivated to slow down and stop the industrial gigaprojects that are threatening all of our lives.
 
Movements like Idle No More give a population asleep at the wheel the chance to wake up and hear what native communities have been saying for hundreds of years: it's time to withdraw our consent from this dead-end regime, and chart a new course.
 
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dru (Dru Oja Jay)
Montreal
Member since January 2008

About:

Writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

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Comments

Of course you didn't say it,

Of course you didn't say it, you implied it.

You state that First Nations have been "subsidizing canada" by allowing the profits from their lands to go to the federal government. 

I can not fathom any other implication in that statement other than for you to believe that First Nations should be receiving more government subsidies derived from the tax on the profits of said industrial endeavors. Why else would you do so much work listing all the figures of these beloved profits that the First Nations have missed out on?

"Racism is when something is a huge deal when it happens in a tiny impoverished community, but business as usual when it is done on a massive scale." -You

So, going by that standard, it would be racist for the First Nations to be invested in mining and gas, as they are, and be opposed to it ideologically on a larger scale?

What I think

I didn't imply anything. You did!

You didn't ask, but I'll tell you what I actually do think anyway: my belief is that Indigenous nations should have self-determination when it comes to their traditional lands. Beyond that, I don't think that we should despoil the land and water and fry the planet. I suspect that Indigenous folks with a relationship to the land would be way less likely to do that, but to the extent that they didn't respect the earth, it would be a question of persuasion and diplomacy rather than federally-imposed coercion to get them to change their (entirely hypothetical) behaviour.

So you advocate for giving

So you advocate for giving special rights to First Nations over the rights of others, based on ancestry and a history of oppression? 

Because I don't see it as "First Nations" rights and "Everyone else's" rights. I see it as rights. We should all have the same rights. And we should all be seeking to regain these rights together, not by trying to divide people into "First Nations" and "Non First nations." I see that division as somewhat arbitrary.

Cool.

You're entitled to your opinion.

So you still won't admit that

So you still won't admit that an article entitled "What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada," containing figures demonstrating the massive profits and tax-revenues received by industrial projects, implies that First Nations bands should be entitled to a more significant portion of these profits?

I already told you...

...my position.

Actually, you dodged my

Actually, you dodged my question and stated a vaguely relevant opinion.

If you sincerely think articles like this are going to help society progress in an equitable fashion, than more power to you.

I see this article as detrimental to unifying First Nations and Canadians.

Your ignorance to this is telling of your motives for writing the article. My guess was you wanted to write this as a means of seizing an opportunity to gain readership.

Got me

Yup, you caught me in the act. Misrepresenting my own views in order to cynically gain readership. I planned for it to go viral, and you all are just pawns in my game. Bwaha.

@Natebx Unfortunately, the

@Natebx Unfortunately, the real world and real circumstances are not so black and white that you can deal with them in some kind of perfect, ideologically utopian fashion. Just waiting for "the revolution" so that we can all live in a utopia of equality isn't addressing the realities of the present. Continuing to expect everything to be"ideologically sound" means that you're going to keep condemning those who are treated horribly by a ruling power simply because they have to address the cirumstances thrown at them. Fighting back isn't always pretty or "logically sound" (as defined by petty academics).

"First of all, it endorses the idea that land ownership and capitalism are worthy causes. It is almost advocating for these ideas. As far as I know, neither of these values are traditionally supported by First Nations. "

The article doesn't endorse either, but recognises First Nations as having to deal with a specific political and economic system from which they cannot easily escape, no matter what political ideology they happen to espouse. You can "rah rah capitalism, rah rah land ownership" until the cows come home, but it will never change the fact that Canada, and in fact the majority of the world as we know it, operates under a capitalist economic system. This article is one that is responding directly to the claim that First Nations are entirely subsidised by the federal government and tax payers in Canada. The entire notion of Canada as a nation defined by borders is based on the premise that the federal government of Canada owns the land known as "Canada." However, in order for that government to come to own that land, colonisation and the history that unfolded from it had to occur first. As much as the government has "apologised" for past atrocities, it has never really addressed its continued land ownership claims or its aboherent treatment of indigenous peoples. According to that governing body and general international consensus, First Nations are perceived as living within that land known as "Canada" which is perceived as owned by "the Crown" and are thus subject to its political and economic systems.

The reality is that First Nations are continuously subjected to sub-par living circumstances and robbed of many of the services and opportunities afforded to others living in Canada simply as a result of their status as First Nations. The federal government and many Canadians justify this treatment and condemn Idle No More because of their belief that First Nations live off subsidies or "government handouts" and "contribute nothing to Canadian society." Many of these claims are based upon land ownership claims (by the federal government) to begin with and the idea that all First Nations even want/consider themselves as members of Canadian society to begin with.

While it is certainly easy to sit there with rose-coloured glasses and dream that "well, wouldn't it be nice if land couldn't be owned and its resources could be shared by everyone and we'd all live happily ever after," one of the only ways for First Nations to challenge the oppression they face in an effective way is to turn these assumptions on their heads. To demonstrate that if we're going to get into an "ownership" debate, if we're going to get into a subsidy debate, then under the capitalist system under which the modern incarnation of Canada was founded and according to legal documentation, Canadian industry is being subsidised by First Nations land for which First Nations peoples have received very little revenue for in payment of the use of their lands. It is difficult to talk about traditional indigenous values in this case because the best chance First Nations have to fight back legally and address the oppression they are presently facing is to address the fact that technically the land from which these resources are taken are situated on First Nations land. It is also a way of showing Canadians who are otherwise ignorant, that what they've taken for granted as "truth" is, in fact, utterly false and based on the continued oppression of indigenous peoples.

"It is not a racist myth to say that First Nations are subsidized by the government. It doesn't paint a fair or whole picture, but it is not a racist myth."

The willingness of people in Canada and elsewhere to believe that First Nations are subsidised by the government/taxpayers is based upon racial stereotypes of laziness and living off the "hard work" of non-indigenous Canadians. Those myths/stereotypes include the idea that First Nations people have lower access to quality education,  housing, jobs, health care and are more often on social welfare, homeless or incarcerated as a result of this perceived "laziness." These ideas themselves are based upon social standards set up by colonialist powers to constantly degrade and deny indigenous people the same rights and respect afforded to others living in Canada. So yes, these myths/stereotypes are founded upon insitutional racism at its finest.

"I am here to speak about your lack of ideological integrity."

Personally, I couldn't care less about "ideological integrity." I care more about reality and addressing people's needs. Am I here saying that all people, and yes including indigenous peoples, have not contributed in some way to the exploitation of the environment and natural resources. No, because realistically not even indigenous peoples have perfect track records when it comes to environmental protection simply by virtue of being indigenous, and I think its a page out of the whole "noble savage" white supremacist ideology to assume that indigenous peoples are always infallible when it comes to protecting the environment. That being said, it cannot be denied that First Nations are often far more likely to oppose policies/bills and corporate attempts at exploiting natural resources in Canada than most any other group, and yes that has a lot to do with with cultural values tied to respect for the environment. At the same time, the article is certainly right in pointing out that Canada basically runs on resources stolen from lands occupied by First Nations without their explicit consent, justified by colonialist gains and with very little monetary return for not only said stolen resources but the continued oppression of First Nations on their own land. The article challenges the entirely racist assumption that it must be First Nations who are in debt to the "hard working" Canadian tax-payer...the same tax-payer who can live in ignorant bliss of the oppression their own luxuries stem from.

"So you advocate for giving special rights to First Nations over the rights of others, based on ancestry and a history of oppression? 

Because I don't see it as "First Nations" rights and "Everyone else's" rights. I see it as rights. We should all have the same rights. And we should all be seeking to regain these rights together, not by trying to divide people into "First Nations" and "Non First nations." I see that division as somewhat arbitrary."

"Special rights to First Nations over the rights of others based on ancestry and a history of oppression"? There are definitely no "special rights" given to First Nations in Canada. It is not a "special right" to demand some form of revenue for the use of resources found on land that was stolen by imperialist powers and never returned even afterall the "heartfelt" apologies...especially when that revenue could be used to make sure that First Nations don't have to live in horrific conditions and can gain equal access to services and opportunities.

Talking about "regaining rights for everyone" and "equal rights" is ridiculous without recognising the current reality of social privilege, and the fact that "equal rights" are certainly not equal for everyone. And First Nations tend to be among those that get the shittiest end of the stick when it comes to rights and access to things the rest of Canada takes for granted. You seem to think that the fight for equality is going to look the same for everyone. It's not and it doesn't.

I'm sorry but I have to agree

I'm sorry but I have to agree with almost everything you said. My problem isn't with the idea that everybody's fight for equality looks different. My problem is with this article.

I asked the author and never got an answer. What was the point of the article? Technically, don't we all profit off of activities we conduct on stolen native land? If we are going to go as far as to call out industrial profit and tax revenue, should we not continue onto ourselves? Is it useful to frame the argument in a manner which hinges upon the distribution of exploitative profits?

I don't think so.

I also don't think it works to convince the racists of anything. This is what I've been told was the purpose of the article.

To paint all people of a

To paint all people of a specific group, whether it be first nation people, or settlers, or any group for that matter is simply irresponsible.  First Nation people of canada have more opportunities that anyone else in this country.  You can give them all the doors to open you want, but its up to each indavidual to make the choice to open that door.  Your desire to cast an image to encompass all people is not only impossible, but illogical.  Where do you live?  What experience do you have with the entire subject?  Do you see things first hand all across our country, or do you know only of stories you see on TV?  The biggest problem in Canada regaurding FN people is their leadership.  They are the true people keeping their people down.  They are the ones that are supposed to protect, inspire and direct their fellow FN brothers and sisters, yet they suffer from the same hangups as the capatalist society...GREED.  If you aren't a relative of the chief or council, you do get the short end of the stick.  I know this because I have grown up in it.  It is most relevant in the smaller FN communities, but also found in all FN communities.  We as a society (FN included) need to find a way to inspire and motivate each other, rather than pick and choose who wins and looses.  The best canada is a strong united canada, and until that happens Im afraid that the cycle will simply continue to repeat.  We need a government that is willing to stand up to the chiefs, make hard decisions and do whats best for all, not simply the few in the inner circle.  A human is a human, a canadian is a canadian.  Plain and simple.

Inherent rights Natebx

Look up "inherent rights", and "treaty rights".  The First Nations bargained their lives for these rights.  What makes you think they don't deserve those rights?  Whether you agree with them or not, they are bound in our laws and constitution.  Various governments including the current one have wasted 100's of millions of our tax dollars in the courts trying to fight for YOUR ideal of equal rights for all by stripping First Nations of their hard bargained rights to hunt and fish on Crown land, cross the border unmolested etc, but they never win.  Leave it alone already, stop wasting tax dollars on these fights.  Aboriginals account for less than 10% of the population, less than half of that actually qualify for the rights in question.
How easy do you really think it is going to be give non natives these rights?  Becuase you sure as heck aren't going to see the Natives stripped of them in our lifetime.

Thanks for the rhetoric. I

Thanks for the rhetoric. I find that silly.

Should we start keeping records of all the grievances of people so we can compensate them with "rights" to offset them?

Maybe a system of oppression credits?! We can keep tally of all the individual injustices that happen to people and we can let them cash it in for greater influence in politics in the future.

Remember. Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. This is clearly a principle that we should continue to pursue.

Understanding them...

...as different nations might help you think about this in less simplistic terms.

And that is helpful only for

And that is helpful only for perpetuating segregation and individualism.

To each their own. I value unity over division.

  Much as I hate referring to

 

Much as I hate referring to the corporate press, this piece from today's G & M speaks to the problems of viewing Idigenous peoples and their communities as a monolith. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/we-natives-are-deeply-divided-theres-nothing-wrong-with-that/article7096987/

And I'm unclear about how peopl who have seen their land stolen, cuiture attacked, face undrinkable water and higher-than-normal per capita imprisonment rates are somehow tirst among equals, or more equal than others... Could you explain?

Equality in the context I

Equality in the context I speak of is not about he current political sphere. They are clearly at a disadvantage now. I can point to many groups or individuals who are currently at a disadvantage. Being at a disadvantage shouldn't, in my opinion, grant that person or group greater influence going forward than any other group or individual. Equality is about going forward, not backwards. We're never going to be able to adequately restore what first nations have had taken from them (physically and spiritually speaking). So we should focus instead on giving them, and everyone else, the same opportunities to better themselves.

I know people love to play the "history of gross atrocities" card. That's fine. I don't discount these atrocities. But that shouldn't grant special privilege going forward. The world was built upon a history of gross atrocities. Let us move forward, towards equality.

In this sense I feel that having an "indigenous led" movement which purports to represent all is as disrespectful as some of the "European led" imperialist movements of the past.

I actually find that quite

I actually find that quite astonishing. While INM obviously touches on issues that affect us all and not just Indigenous folks, a huge aspect of it is based in respecting the self-determination of Indigenous peoples. I'm at a loss to understand how we can be allies and participate in this movement without recognizing indigenous leadership of it.

And respecting Indigenous self deterination isn't simply subjating ourselves to some other force, but rather respecting our differences and realizing that, as settlers (and not just in the sense of descendents of original colonizers, but also in the sense that Canada continues to be a settler state we cannot be leaders of a movement for Indigenous rights and sovereignty. If we want to lead something it would need to be based on changing Canadian society itself, not on how Indigenous folks achieve sovereignty or self determination.

There are clearly lots of intersections of interests that make this movement vital for Canadians as well, but it is a movement started to fight for Indigenous sovereignty, rights and livelihoods. And that, to me, is a crucial distinction to make.

And why is that not seen as

And why is that not seen as racist? Why is it seen as okay?

You have a prejudice. Plain and simple. To overcome prejudice we must overcome the idea that we should be "led" by specific ethnic group.

Even to be "led" by a group of ideologues, such as communists, capitalists, socialists or anarchists seems unfair to me.

I will not be "led" be a predetermined group of people which excludes many. I would not participate in a movement led by British people only, or Asian people only.

Jut because a group has been oppressed does not, in my opinion, make them viable or automatic leaders.

Is there something particularly compelling...

...about putting words in peoples' mouths which they did not say and then responding to that?

I did not put words in any

I did not put words in any mouths. Thanks, though, for another totally useless comment meant only to provoke.

A common theme of the idle no more movement has been that it is an indigenous led movement that represents all of Canada.

Hey Natebx,My initial

Hey Natebx,

My initial reaction to your comment was similar to Dru's, and felt that you didn't take the time to really consider what I wrote, and instead responded to what you wanted to read. I still feel that way, but also think that we're just so far away in our views on this that we're probably not going to come to some solution here. 

I really can't support the idea that Indigenous self-determination is a "racist" or "prejudiced" standpoint, though. To me what you're aruging is that in the fight against apartheid in South Africa or the current fight for the self-determination of Palestinians, both against colonial rule, that it would be racist or prejudiced to say that those movements should be organized by anyone other than members of those groups. This isn't to say non-Palestinian Israelis or non-Black African South Africans had no role in those movements - nor does it mean that those groups should have been/should be (or were/are) disregarded by those movements. To live in peace on the land, substituting one ruling class for another isn't going to help. But to me, there is absolutley no way that this is a racist standpoint. But there needs to be a recognition of oppression and with it a willingness to support self-determination of peoples. 

Now I know these situations aren't 100% alike to what is happening here in Canada, but I really don't want to hear spurrious arguments that treatment is different/there's a different population balance/different history. Maybe you or others wouldn't argue that, but I've heard it before, and I don't believe that these differences discount the idea of self-determination.

Just a note on leadership: I'm not arguing for some vanguard elite of Idigenous peoples under whose rule we should all obediently fall. That's what it seems you are painting my arguments as, and it's fals. In the next steps of resolving the colonial quandry of Canada, it's time for settlers to step back a little and not pretend that we're all on an equal footing. Sometimes you need to step back and take a little less space in order to allow for people who have been put down to take their own place, and not pretend that we're all coming into this equally. Stepping back isn't subjugation, it's making room for others.

And one last thing: I don't know where you got the idea that the INM movement claims to speak for all Canadians. From what I've seen, they've said we're all in this together and that we need to work towards a common outcome, but that INM is an Indegnous peoples-initiated movement, with allies welcome. There's no claim that rep all Canadians (and in fact, from much of what they say, I would argue they wouldn't even say they speak for for all First Nations folks, since they recognize the plurality of stances within First Nations communities).

Like I said, I don't really think we're going to get anywhere. I felt the need to clarity about whether "self-determination" is a racist principle, and also to respond to the idea that my postion makes me racist or prejudiced. Like all people, I recognize that I need to struggle with internalized prejudices, racism and priviledge, but I hardly think this is one of those cases.

Ah I see. Yes I have slIghtly

Ah I see. Yes I have slIghtly misinterpreted your understanding of INM. Obviously, with such a grassroots movement, interpretations and understandings of the movement stem from our own experiences and correspondence with it. Views will vary from person to person, day to day. I don't mean to say I disagree with your interpretation of the movement, it's just not my current understanding of the general sentiment.

What you seem to be saying is that INM seeks to achieve self-determination for indigenous peoples. Where does that leave me? I'm native to Canada. I'm not a settler. Why do I get left behind? I want self-determination. Everyone does. To me self-determination is something to be provided to individuals, not ethnicities.

The way I interpret INM, is that they seek to use their position as oppressed people to gain momentum in achieving fair dealings for all, not just for themselves. That, I believe is a noble pursuit.

If they seek, however, to only take steps in improving the lives of their own ethnicity, then it is still a noble pursuit, but only in the short term. I see that as a waste of momentum. Why not go all the way? Why not fight not only for yourself but for everybody you share this country with?

Regardless of the color of my skin, I was born here. I have no where else to call home (and feel that I have been oppressed my entire life also, coming from an upbringing in poverty.) Is there no room in this movement for my rights?

Not so equal

Those that signed treaties get "special treatment" but if you actually pay attention to the message, not the media, you will soon find that you wouldn't trade your rights for theirs and neither would I.

If others who are dealt the hand the First Nations were, and they can actually get a government to sign a treaty with them, more power to them I say.  But us Canadians are stuck with these legal agreements and whining about them isn't going to change anything.

The idea of making treaties

The idea of making treaties with the federal government is fine in a short term sense. I agree: any power that an oppressed population can regain from its oppressors is valid and good; in the short term. The idle no more movement seems inspired by long term goals. I don't think legitimizing the federal government's power over first nations is really going to help them in the long term. It certainly isn't going to help a transition from the current power structure go smoothly - it might, however, hinder it.

First Nations opinions of treaties and the "Indian act" are mixed. To make a blanket statement to the likes of treaties being unequivocally good is misleading and detrimental.

Coercion is not ok

I am one of the people stuck in your protest on Route 102 in Nova Scotia a few weeks ago.

You left me stuck on a highway, in the cold, for over an hour with my cat loose in the car. After that hour when I finally got to see your protest, the sense of enjoyment on your faces at your ability to trap and control unsuspecting people was sickening.

I am not racist and I believe in human rights and fair treatment for all people.

But what you did WAS NOT OK.

Coercive bullying practices are what make me have no respect for unions- and I lost respect for you and your cause. That was false imprisonment. The worst part was, after an hour of starting and stopping driving, looking at how happy you friggan all were to be destructing other peoples lives and trapping them into giving you attention, then waiving your bloody ignorant sign "TAKE A PAMPHLET IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE FASTER". It was SELFISH. It was inconsiderate. It was COERCION and it was ***BULLYING***! It shows **sociopathic tendencies.** You are all jerks for doing that.

Now I am campaigning against your cause because no cause has the right to use coercion as a method of campaigning. You deserve no respect because you gave us NONE.

No doubt you won't post my post because you are too closeminded and ignorant to actually support free speech. The only speech allowed on your sight is filled with your selfish and closeminded bias.

 

Stuck on a highway

It sounds like you were stuck on a highway for an hour. That doesn't sound like fun, but it seems like a pretty tolerable inconvenience, given what the government is doing.

Do you have some sense of the history of the folks who were protesting?

You believe coercion is ok.

You believe coercion is ok. Nice.

 

IT WAS NOT AN INCONVENIENCE- IT WAS COERCION!

It was winter and it was COLD! I had a aged cat in the car who did not have a litter box or a sweater! You SELFISH JERK!
 

We all have rights. Not just closeminded ignorant jerks like you. Its not ok to trample on mine!

Rights

THE CAt haS RIGHTS!

Petition the Harper Gov't to send a sweater to all cats caught up in native protests!

Construction

I wonder, do you respond the same way when you're stopped on the highway for an hour due to construction? Do you call the construction workers "selfish jerks" and scream at them for "coercing" you into stopping for an hour? I really doubt it.

Why, then, was this "not an inconvenience" but instead coercion? When it's construction, often for some environmentally destructive road widening or something of the sort to increase traffic, it's barely even considered above the level of a (justifiable) annoyance. When it's some of the poorest and most unfortunate among us trying to hand out information about their situation, it's pure outrage, as if someone had done this directly to harm you, with the worst intent possible.

Does that really line up with your values?

You think coercion is ok

Its not. Stop trying to justify it.

If it had been construction, they are legally required to advertise it and they have to have an alternative route. They can shut down a lane in a highway but they cannot shut down the entire highway as your group did. Your group shut down 4 LANES OF TRAFFIC backing up 100s (1000s?) of cars for MILES.

OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TO FOLLOW LAWS AND CONSIDER THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS> Why do you think its ok to trample on other people and force your views on them?

You clearly have sociopathic tendendencies if you think this level of coercion and bullying is ok.

ITS NOT OK TO TRAP PEOPLE SO YOU CAN COERCE AND BULLY THEM. Morally and ethically wrong.

BTW you defining things as morally ok because they further your selfish desires is a clear sign of a sociopath. Normal human beings have a conscience.

For people not in Nova Scotia

Their protest was by Truro, near where the highway turns on to the trans-canada. The traffic was backed up from Truro all the way to Enfield NS, 60 kms packed bumper to bumper with cars. Its the only exit to get out of NS if you are coming from Halifax. So you are trapped. Completely.

I thought it was a horrible accident at first. Because only something that bad could shut down four lanes of traffic both directions. It was worring and actually traumatic - waiting to see what had shut us down for so long, dreading what I thought I would see. But nope, it was this group forcing their views on other people by trapping them.  That's simply called coercion. There is no other word for it and none of their biased false justifications actually excuse it.

When did I say...

I understand your frustration with having to sit in traffic for an hour. That's pretty reasonable. Making the leap to call it "coercion", and then to accuse anyone that raises issue with your characterization of the matter of "thinking coercion is ok", though, I find hard to see fair or reasonable.

You make a number of assumptions in your comments, starting with the false notion that simply by raising issue with your logic, and moreover your insults and outrage, that somehow I am saying that I think coercion is ok. Well, I don't know what to say... I don't. I didn't comment on whether I thought the blockade/pamphleting was right or wrong; I questioned your characterization of it. One doesn't necessarily imply the other - I hope you see that.

Why, also, do you say this is "your [my] group"? What did I say that made you think such a thing? I had absolutely nothing to do with it, nor did I suggest that I did.

I agree with you that, for the most part, "people have to follow the law and consider the rights of others". If the government of Canada did indeed follow the law, uphold treaty rights, live up to international obligations, etc., doubtless conditions for natives and others in Canada would be far better. Instead, the government systematically and consistently violates its own laws and obligations, or finds ways to undermine protected rights, as with bill c-45. Why aren't you outraged about these far greater and more harmful violations of law?

However, what are people supposed to do when the government does *not* follow the law? What are people supposed to do when the government uses legal measures to steal land, destroy culture, "kill the indian in the child" as in the residential schools... we could go on and on - what then? Clearly you don't think a road blockade is justifiable. What means would you find acceptable for people to address having the law broken and their rights systematically and deliberately violated, for the better part of two centuries?

As to your other comments:

"You clearly have sociopathic tendendencies if you think this level of coercion and bullying is ok."

I don't think such a level of coercion and bullying would be ok, nor do I think that's what happened in the case you're referring to. I'm sorry you feel otherwise.

"ITS NOT OK TO TRAP PEOPLE SO YOU CAN COERCE AND BULLY THEM. Morally and ethically wrong."

I agree. Again, I'm sorry that you feel that that's what the protestors were doing in this case. I'm sure many others felt differently - even supported them.

"BTW you defining things as morally ok because they further your selfish desires is a clear sign of a sociopath. Normal human beings have a conscience."

Where and how did I do this, exactly? So by questioning your statements and trying to draw an analogy to another common situation in which people often have very different reactions, suddenly I'm a sociopath without a conscience? Doesn't that seem a little harsh to you?

Look - if you don't support the blockade and feel it wronged you, fine. I don't see it the same way. Maybe a blockade wasn't the most effective method of outreach, but I don't think it's the end of the world, and far worse things are perpretrated by the state and corporations every single day, with immense human, social and environmental costs. I'm much more concerned about the latter than about a protest. But it's up to each of us to choose where we stand on such things.

Biased sociopath

You think you should be able to do anything you want to other people.

Because only you matters.

You are a sociopath.

You are corrupt, which is why you have no problem with corruption and coercion.

lolzy

kinnndaa like the natives where "Coerced   of there land right?" oh wait that was at gunpoint..
i think idleing by on a highway for economic protest (much like Gandhi or nelson Mandela style work is hardly something to wine about) mind you, i dont think it will get them very far. both the Indian independence and lifting of apartheid took armed Resistances to end it...

so quit crying and get a readly check, we’re lucky there not rockets and mines involved.
and ps. wherrred you get that gas? or the rare earths for your computer or phone you own? mabeeye of land not yours... sooooo, ya.. think about it, you live in a liberal democracy, you are responsible for your governments actions, thus people can protest you.

i think it is you who is selfish

Another person ok with coercing others

Unethical immoral coercive practices are not wrong to you.

Says a lot about your person.

BTW I did also loose 1/4 tank of gas thanks to the coercion practices of this organization.

But its not selfish to want to be treated with respect. And its not selfish to be upset when your coerced, stripped of your free will and forced to do something because of a selffish childish groups tantrum.

The rationale that its ok to do something because something was done to you, besides being biased, subjective and racist, is also childish because they only time that argument was acceptable was when you were in primary school. (Yes racist because you assume I deserve to be treated badly because you also assume (incorrectly) that I am not of the same race as you. That's called racism you closeminded ass)

lol

hahaha. yes. some use the terms "pragmatism" and "realism". ( realpolitik)... etc..
realty some of us prefer to think of it as politics by other means, if you wish to quote Carl von Clausewitz..

i could really go on and on.. but, i don't really feel as you have a full grasp of say literary, cultural and historical reality,  both in Resistances war, and humanity. (Warsaw uprising not a fan?) - the point that you, miss is that it is fair to respond when they are out of options and can use the tools applyed agesnt them, twards you.

your pedantic, and reticules.
as for you fray into ethics, that's actually not how that line of reasoning goes.
and i recommend you to jus a bellum theory. or the UN.... or how like international politics goes... ie, it not exactly conflatible into a personal me, you as equal free citizens, when it comes to a political identity  and crisis, (think Spanish civil war, or, syria, or arab spring?), when is violence justified? is a metaphysical question, and a complex ethical one, not easily written down on taking points.

i don't care what race you are.

only your class.

and by your use of language, form style and ideas, i'd put you down the rung alittle.

do you know what  my blood is?

I don't care what

Your blood is. That only matters to you because you make assumptions based on it therefore are racist.

You are of the human race. Thats the same as mine.

Though unlike you, I am not a sociopath so I actually care about animals and the environment as well as humans.

I also think that coercion is wrong as well as illegal. Its immoral, unethical and wrong. Regardless of your motivations and rationale.

Troll.

huhz

sociopath you use this world alot.
i'd go look it up.
cuzzzy. i aint one.

i still dont see how i'm being racist. this is not clear.. cultralist mabye. anti-nationalist yes.
why don't i care about animals and the environment? and i do love my frends and fammly.
sooo i think i like people well enough, i let them in my house all the time even strangers! and i give them a drink and food!. omg.
soo, i think i'm fine with humanity on a holy level.
as for war, i think it is a sad reality.
but one none the less.
you should exept that. as for "legal" this is only tided to your notion of legal presned in librealism, something which if someone is not aprt of can legally function onder diffrent law.
law is a compelx thing. alittle byond want you are willing to admit it is.
the government, the sovereign? god?

love thy nabour, kill thyn enemy.. are also solders sociopaths? is anyone who uses weapons evil?

Keep changing your handle Troll

real credible.

I understand typos but you need to work on grammar.

Sociopath: A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

Its the lack of conscience that has me pointing out the sociopathic tendencies. See just because someone shoots someone, even in the army, does not mean they don't have a conscience about it.

But you think its ok to use coercion and any practice to achieve your goals without regard to ethics, laws, morality or conscience. You don't seem to know the difference between right and wrong. Which means no conscience. Hence the word sociopath. But there are some other options on why you don't seem to have a conscience.

 

 

i'm concerzy

ii'm concerned your kinda parinod... i am one person, and one handle. no more no less.
nor am i a troll.. as i engage, not simplely rant over and over the same thingyz. as you seem to do. panicing, hardocre it would appear.

internnetz grammer is my right, now wouldzz been a little nazi. this is not work, work, school, offical publication to my publishers, etc. soooo i can be alittle lazzy at 11:37. in my robe. thx ver muchzuy. (whoz to say english is my 1st langauge, orrr i sayyy something else? now whoz been all prgyz

as for racist. no no, how can i be racistsz  if i don't know what race you are, nor you know of me? like i said cultralist, yupz. classest yes. etc. i dont care nor no what race you are.. (your relgouse might intrest me, but i dont really care eather., it would just help ground some of your comments onto a cohrent doctren. i suppose.

anywhoz, thinking war is ok, does not make one sociopathic, thinking you can use force to stop something, which you perceive is unjust is not exactly sociopathic, protests are kinda anti-social mob mentality but the agents are not neccsarlyz and unlikely all sociopathic.  just cuz they are happy to see their results does not mean they don't feel bad. i am happy though you think yourself a qualified pysco-annalist /psychiatrist. particularly cuz sociopathic is not really even used anymore in real medicine. or even modern psychoanalyzes

and who is this “we” you speak of? also conscience, right wrong. sooo black and white. sooo, weak. so, simple. ah, tell me something, which will make me think, here i’m just goin on and letting you wast my time, your the troll. moi chereez

No you aren't being 'lazzy'

No you aren't being 'lazzy' <sic>.. you are being lazy deliberately to try and make people think from you trolling, to hide away making up fake handles to leave muliple post responses. Of course you do it non intelligently so its still obvious. But you think you are misleading people *rolling eyes*.

Nice to see you assume you are in war with me so you have the right to do anything to me. Anything to anyone. Because only your views matter and only you matter. You are a sociopath and a racist.

BTW the "we" is the IdelNoMore group that you support moron.

You do not have the right to hold people against their will and force your views on them. Your group got sick enjoyment from doing it and even advertised it (after an hour) with their sign 'take a phamplet if you want to go faster'. That is corruption and coercion- plus clear sociopathic tendencies.

Makes total sense why you are supporting the corruption coming from the Chief as well.

 

 

soooo you are a ceazzzy

i live in montreal.
i've not partaken in any protests, about this movment. nor the student movemnt.
however, i have had friends that have. (i have lived in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Victoria, through my life, i have visited reserves in northern Ontario, NB’z and the prairie, i have friends who where from reserves. etc.  i have family ancestry, from new England (American-English).-rural Ontario many generations,- British.
Newfoundland over 400 years-Irish-English. and alittle native due to the long period they have been there, butt iz nothing much.  soo, it would be hard to be “racists” towards anyone of of these groups,, racism has to do with “power”, and oppression, one can not be racists because they are targeting a political entity which you are an agent of. (agent used in the sociological term form) as for my spelling/grammer, yes lazzy is right. i am.

i've just offered conceptual and discosive postions to enlighten other routes.
i have one handel.
i am not  a regestered native.

CW "You think coersion is okay"

Hey, did you really write:

"ITS NOT OK TO TRAP PEOPLE SO YOU CAN COERCE AND BULLY THEM. Morally and ethically wrong."

??

And I presume putting people on reserves is a kindness of some sort?

Oh, Canada (Kanata)...

So you round up all the Natives that you can find, you sign treaties that you don't honour, you steal their children and beat and rape those little ones to "kill the Indian in the child", you threaten to kill or imprision Natives if they practice their religion, culture or dare to step off the reserve without permission... 

And there are many more atrocities than these that occured.

But making one sit with their cat in a car for an hour?  Now that's "morally and ethically wrong"...

 

 

Thanks for making assumptions on my race

Oh goody, a troll with yet another handle.

When you assume that I am responsible for those behaviours because of my race, you are being a racist. Any assumptions on a human's behaviour due to their race is racist. You are racist.

And holding someone against their will to force them to achieve your goals IS COERCION AND IS JUST AS WRONG. Sociopath.

And its not just sitting on a highway. It was sitting on a highway for over an hour IN WINTER and COLD. With a cat who did not have a fur coat adequate for the cold and who was tortured by the starting and stopping.  Thanks for trying to tell me that I have no right to have feelings or rights. I understand that you think your world trumps all my rights but you don't actually have the right to tell me what to think or what I should be concerned about. Stop forcing your closemined and ignorant views on me.

Really doing a lot for your cause IdelNoMore (CorruptSomeMore?)- pull out all your closeminded sociopathic corrupt wingnuts to tell the readers about the quality of this cause. Smart move editors.

I guess their argument would

I guess their argument would be that coercion was used on them as well, for decades, while their collective identity was molested. They are now returning the favour. I don't see that as just or fair -- to treat someone with disrespect as you once were. But so be it. It seems trying to seek equality in this country is deemed racist. Remember: All people are equal, but First Nations people are more equal than others.

 

umm

ya. for some strange reason i remember hearing about, poison blankets, massacres , executions, forced relocation at gun point, and these "schools" which took children away, and raped and beat them,...
funny,. i learned this in high-school.. werrrd these people go to school? wowyz. coercion by standing on a road? seems alittle tame...

DEFINITION co·erce

DEFINITION co·erce  (k-ûrs)

tr.v. co·erced, co·erc·ing, co·erc·es
1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.
 
This organization trapped me and forced me to force their will on me. That's called coercion. Go back to school bully.

 

Sorry. I don't discount the

Sorry. I don't discount the atrocities committed against the first nations people. They were as continue to be truly terrible. The only reason I used that lightened tone was to relate to the person I was replying to.

Meow

I'm worried about that cat!

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