From the Globe and Mail:
Native leaders are warning the 2010 Winter Olympics will be marked by bridge blockades, airport disruptions and Internet campaigns if they don’t see significant progress on aboriginal poverty and land claims by the time the world turns its attention to the Vancouver-area Games.
B.C. native leaders are drafting plans with an escalating scenario of options, beginning with peaceful pamphleteering and increasing to more disruptive tactics.
They are looking to the protests of China on-going as precedent.
Then this from Phil Fontaine National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations:
“The situation here is compelling enough to convince Canadians that while it is okay and right for them to express outrage with the Chinese government’s position against Tibet and the Tibetans, they should be just as outraged, if not more so, about our situation here,” Mr. Fontaine said.
Having completed now a second paper on this topic, been to a number of discussions (though by no means anything approaching real understanding analytically or emotionally) the thing that strikes me as true about what Phil is saying is how out of touch and in denial Canadians are about the very high levels of racism in this country. In Vancouver it is directed against Asians and Aboriginal peoples.
Now this is slightly different though related I would say to Brother Bergen’s post on whether the government is “coddling” minorities.
Namely what is not allowed to be discussed in public in PC culture is racist stuff (which can get you in trouble with the law here) and how racist people actually are. It rubs both ways.
The discussion needs to make a separation between discrimination which the government has to do 0something about (and which is wrong) and racism–which has to be dealt with by public debate and showing people’s racism to be the ugly vile thing it is.
In terms of discrimination relative to the aboriginal issue (which is different than the new immigrant issue Bergen is discussing)–the history is easily readable and still on-going. Part of the reason Fontaine points out that Canadians so easily protest for Tibet is because it’s free. It doesn’t really cost them anything. To deal with aboriginal issues would bring it back to home and to the fact that all of us are here profiting off the illegal seizure of traditional lands, built on lies, baked in children forced to convert from their “primitiveness” to “civilization” and now having de-colonized (supposedly) since the 60s (but not really) the perpetuation of a colonial mindset. And that everyone participates in the effects and structures of that reality–myself included now as an American. And therefore will not guilty, implicated and responsible.
Sorrow that such took place was expressed by the government (though not much in the actual way of dealing with it), but not responsibility or a full-throated apology–nor again actually working to undo the injustice of the situation.
That would be a discussion of discrimination. Structural discrimination.
The fact that people are racists (everybody is racist–racism is the natural human developmental cycle) and hold racist views has to be brought out and discussed in public. But it can’t be forced by a government institution and is prevented by a PC-multicultural mindset that does not allow any public airing of supposedly controversial issues. One strike and you’re out policy.
So no one speaks. Only those from within said communities which then looks like “bitching” and leaves the mainstream communities asking when will they stop their whining. If they hate this country so much why don’t they leave is heard–although with the aboriginal populations that doesn’t quite work.
But let’s just get to the nitty gritty here. What rules is money and image/power. And the issue of aboriginal claims strikes at both. Massive effort can easily be called upon to garner the Olympics because money will be made–by a few that is. The city overall will likely lose money as most cities do from Olympics. [If we're lucky we'll get some really ugly architecture out of it for perpetuity :)] But something like this will not be invested because there’s no coin to be garnered from it.
If people don’t see what is going on, don’t repent, don’t in the heart want it differently, it doesn’t and won’t happen. On this scale, the discrimination scale. No government can make you moral. It is an agent of those who have created the social contract to which the government responds. And in this country (not dissimilar from the US) the social contract is writ with this history of death. Its shadow does not cover the whole of the contract, but is not insignificant either.