Saturday, June 22, 2013

Now Is The Summer Of Our Discontent

With apologies to Shakespeare, this otherwise apropos title may be an omen for Canada’s most tense season in its relationship with its First Nations. With more broken promises from Canada’s government in its dealings with First Nations across the country, the inevitable response will be in the form of confrontation – planned to be civil and non-violent, but almost inevitable to end vastly different.

Much of the mainstream media has focused on high profile acts of civil disobedience and propaganda from some of Canada’s more notable leaders in the aboriginal community, such as hunger strikes and the prolific Idle No More movement that brought long standing issues between Canada and its aboriginal people to the forefront.

Holding itself out as a peacekeeper in the global community, where civil unrest and strife fill the front pages of daily newspapers and lead headline television news, Canada stands to lose more than just face if it cannot cool down the boiling tensions on its own home turf. At stake is possibly the worst civil unrest Canada has ever experienced, paling that of Trudeau’s administration in 1970 when Martial Law was invoked during what is now known as the October Crisis.

Is that where we’re headed?

From broken treaties to environmental issues, from land use consultation to Bill C-45, from launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women to respecting aboriginal rights, these form the backbone to aboriginal demands of Canada as a nation. And what makes this summer so tenuous is the planned “non-violent direct action” by aboriginal communities across the country designed to “increase tension”.

As one monster power ballad of the early 1980’s screamed, “We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”. We only have to look at America’s civil rights movement to see what kind of reaction governments spew on non-violent direct action.

It is time for Canada to act with honor in resolving legitimate concerns of its aboriginal people. Otherwise, with the summer’s planned unrest, what is now a clear collection of grievances easily has the ability to explode into full scale civil war, where we will all have to take more than just a moral stand.

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