Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What does Idle No More portend?

There are two possibilities - Idle No More means not a whole lot or is the beginning of a national awakening of a slumbering giant.

It is possible that the Idle No More protests are nothing more that the spontaneous outbursts of a few frustrated at the failure of aboriginals to find a place of respect and dignity in Canadian society. If this is all the Idle No More movement is then apart from some minor delay for rail traffic and a few tie ups at bridge crossings the impact on Canadian society will be passing and trifling.

But if planned and with a strategy the effect could be very different. If the Idle No More movement has a goal of delegitimization of Canadian society and its assumption that aboriginals form a marginalized part of society then a very different end may result.

If the million or so aboriginal Canadians together realized their joint power they could change Canada into a totally different society.

And there are indications that a strategy is there.

Some sense of strategy may, for example, be seen in the refusal of some of the Idle No More leadership to meet the Prime Minister without the Governor General. This refusal is not merely churlish -- it reflects an underlying position that Canada deals with aboriginal people as sovereign nations. It says Stephen Harper is not the Prime Minister of aboriginals -- so the proper person to deal with is the Governor General.

This is not just posing or nonsense. It is an attempt to change the view frame and delegitimize the existing social structure.

And should you think such a process cannot ever work, read From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp. These sort of tactics can work.
They have worked -- they destroyed the Soviet Bloc.

Now, as a Canadian, what should be done? I want Canada to survive and prosper. I want Canada to respect, cherish and include its aboriginal peoples. That means the existing structures cannot stand. But it does not mean that Canada need be foreign to its aboriginal peoples. Just as Quebec forms a distinct society within Canada so too the Metis, First Nations and Inuit can be recognized.

This goal is not beyond reach -- it has already been attained albeit in the far North.

Nunavut is an example of how an empowered aboriginal people can develop a prosperous modern and distinct society -- yes there are teething pains but Nunavut preserves Inuit values, welcomes newcomers and anxiously develops resources.

Idle No More need not be a confrontational force -- it can be the catalyst to bring about real justice and fairness for all the nations of Canada.


Peter said...

Some sense of strategy may, for example, be seen in the refusal of some of the Idle No More leadership to meet the Prime Minister without the Governor General. This refusal is not merely churlish -- it reflects an underlying position that Canada deals with aboriginal people as sovereign nations. It says Stephen Harper is not the Prime Minister of aboriginals -- so the proper person to deal with is the Governor General.

That is nonsense, and tired nonsense at that. In the first place, what has sovereignty got to do with who attends a meeting with the PM? Would you be impressed if Obama insisted the GG attend his meeting with Harper because the U.S. is sovereign?

We've heard about these "new beginnings", "new relationships" "partnerships" "sovereign nations" so many times in the past fifty years I've lost count, yet here we are still with far too many (by no means all) communities in great distress and lacking any promising futures--and not just because of insufficient monies. The aboriginal peoples and communities are legally sui generis to be sure, but if we're going to go all gooey about how the likes of Attawapiskat are sovereign nations and the Chief Spences akin to a heads of state, we're just playing rhetoricial Russian roulette with aboriginal futures. One isn't taking an assimilationist position by asking that we ground aboriginal policies in on-the-ground realities rather than ideological ether.

Your rhetoric may be soaring and play well at AFN conventions and in the cafés of Bloor and Yonge, but you are essentially condemning many aboriginal communities to dysfunction, lousy governance and a future as cargo cults. Why don't you spend a month in a typical Northern Ontario aboriginal community and then come back to tell us more about this grand strategy that is going to both delegitimize Canada and change it into a "totally different society"?

James C Morton said...

Take a look at From Dictatorship to Democracy -- it's not mere rhetoric

Anonymous said...

What has changed since it was revealed during an election campaign (Chretien era) that children as young as eight or nine were sniffing gas out of baggies on the reserve at Davis inlet?

This process will guarantee another 50 yrs of child abuse, addiction and corruption.

I was annoyed but not surprised when a former PM called Spence and her movement an "inspiration". Lawlessnes and disorganized confusing demands are not inspirational.

The Kelowna accord that a few have lauded would have only increased spending a tiny fraction over a decade and money would have been spent without audits or scrutiny. It would have been squandered or perhaps stolen. Remember adscam?

You are ignoring another movement that might be in the works.

The real heroes of Canadian society are the mass of men and women who work hard, pay their taxes and generally obey laws.

These people tolerate corruption of gov't at all levels, misspending, high taxation, gaps in public service and even laws that are applied differently to them. (Caledonia and gun registry as an example).

How long before there is a backlash? Do you care?

Some reserves, clearly not all, rely on casinos, booze and the selling of grey market tabacco(much of it ends up in our schools)for their economy. Not to mention a few are armed to the teeth with weapons that threaten the safety of all of us.

By all means, do continue living in your fantasy world.

Peter said...

Take a look at From Dictatorship to Democracy

I am familiar with it. Do you believe Canada's aboriginal people live in a dictatorship?

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how do i get a loan with bad credit said...

What has sovereignty got to do with who attends a meeting with the PM?

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