Reality Check

Terry Glavin notes the ineffectuality of the Idle No More people and the not noticeably thinner showboating chief on her little island.

Empathy, I get. If I were a 14-year-old boy living in Pikangikum with no prospect of getting out, I’d probably want to kill myself too. What is far more difficult to get one’s head around is just what possible good might come from Idle No More, the recently erupted viral craze that has attached itself to Chief Spence specifically, and to aboriginal grievances in Canada more amorphously.

So far, it’s shaping up to look a lot like last year’s Occupy Wall Street conniption, the thing the activist avant-garde insisted was going to be the great anti-corporate insurrection that counterculture icon Naomi Klein always wanted. Our very own Arab Spring! It ended up more like the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962, and so far, Idle No More appears headed in exactly the same direction. ottawa citizen

It is not difficult to note that the current situation vis a vis Canadian Indians is awful. But what to do about it is elusive. Keeping the Reserve “system” alive means that a whole bunch of awful communities with no economic justification are forced to chug along no matter how dreadful the conditions. The Indian Act, in its hundred year run, has not seemed to have helped Indians so terribly much.

For all the billions spent there is virtually nothing to show for Canada’s earnest efforts on behalf of its Indians.

My own sense is that we should get out of the Indian business altogether. Do a systematic payout over several years and wish our Indians all the luck in the world as Canadians. I very much doubt the Indians will be any worse off without the neglectful paternalism of white do-gooders.

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