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Thread: Congratulations Canada

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Congratulations Canada

    Politicians, especially Conservative ones, talk a good game when it comes to notions of 'responsibility. All too often they hide behind a wall of lawyer's weasel words when it comes to actually accepting responsibility for wrongs past & present.

    PM Harper is to be congratulated for his apology & for his willingness to pay compensation to victims of misguided state policies. Unfortunately Australia's government is yet to take that final step an a comprehensive way, though some state governments have done so.

    It is easy to sneer at events like today's as 'gesture politics' etc. One only has to see the tears in the eyes of those directly impacted by these events to see that this was very important.

    I believe that the mark of a modern, confident society is a willingness to publically acknowledge past wrongs & commit to learning from them. All nations have dark corners in their past. Grown up nations accept this, admit to it & apologize publically.

    Congratulations Mr Harper & congtratulations Canada.

    Harper Apologizes for Abuse of Canada's Aboriginals (Update3)

    By Greg Quinn

    June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized today for a century of child abuse and assimilation policies at former government-run schools for aboriginals.

    An estimated 150,000 children and youths were taken from their homes and forced to attend the schools, most of which closed in the 1970s. Survivors of the schools came from across Canada to attend the formal apology, and other parliamentary business was canceled.

    ``The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history,'' Harper said in a speech to Parliament in Ottawa. ``Far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and there were inadequate controls, and we apologize for failing to protect you.''

    The statement comes two years after the government and churches that helped run the schools settled the country's largest-ever class-action lawsuit. The apology follows one by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February, to the ``Stolen Generation'' of Aborigines who were taken from their families and forced to blend into society.

    Europeans who created settlements in Canada around the start of the 17th century pushed aboriginals out over time, moving from policies based on cooperation to dominance and assimilation, a 1996 government-sponsored panel report said. Children were taken from their parents and isolated in ``Indian residential schools,'' forbidden to speak their own languages and, in many cases, beaten or sexually abused.

    `New Dawn'

    Harper was led into the legislature today by 104-year-old Marguerite Wabano, the oldest living former student to receive compensation from the government, and Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Ottawa-based Assembly of First Nations. Harper spoke for about 15 minutes, followed by opposition and aboriginal leaders.

    ``What happened today signified a new dawn in the relationship between us and the rest of Canada,'' said Fontaine, wearing a traditional feathered headdress. ``Together we can achieve the greatness our country deserves.''

    Canada's government says it had a role in the schools as early as 1874, a relationship that wound down in the 1970s. The last such school was shut in 1996. About 130 of the schools operated over that span.

    ``I am sorry that Canada tried to erase your identity and your culture,'' said Stephane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party, the largest opposition bloc. ``I am sorry we took away your children.''

    Class-Action Settlement

    As of April there were 90,000 applications for compensation stemming from the class-action settlement, according to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. The settlement allowed former students and their families to apply for a share of at least C$1.9 billion ($1.86 billion) that was awarded to victims.

    Canada has about 1 million people who consider themselves part of the First Nations, a term used to describe aboriginals in the country, according to a 2006 census. Canada's current total population is about 33 million.

    ``This is a historic event -- finally Canada is standing up and taking responsibility,'' said Ted Quewezance, 55, executive director of the 50,000-member National Residential School Survivors' Society, said before the announcement. ``There has to be substance and follow-up,'' he said, including money to foster ``healthy communities and healthy families.''

    Traumatic Memories

    The memory of the schools still causes so much trauma for former students that the government's Web site includes a telephone hotline for people who break down when reading about or watching the apology. Grief has been passed on to children of former students, with 26 percent having suicidal thoughts by age 12 compared with 18 percent for other aboriginal youths, according to the Assembly of First Nations.

    ``Today is filled with incredibly strong emotions,'' said Shawn Atleo, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief, who came to Ottawa today with his father to help comfort survivors who attended the ceremony.

    Atleo, 41, said his father was placed in a residential school where his tongue was pricked with a needle because he wouldn't speak English. The apology ``alludes to the promise of a better future,'' he said.

    Canada still has disputes with aboriginal peoples over unclean drinking water on reserves and land claims that remain unsettled after more than a century.

    Harper's Conservative Party government is taking other steps to improve conditions. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, responsible for providing most government services on reserves, spent a record C$10.2 billion on programs in the fiscal year that ended March 31.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: June 11, 2008 17:11 EDT


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  2. #2
    Contributor LetsTalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post

    I believe that the mark of a modern, confident society is a willingness to publically acknowledge past wrongs & commit to learning from them. All nations have dark corners in their past. Grown up nations accept this, admit to it & apologize publically.

    Congratulations Mr Harper & congtratulations Canada.
    Completly agree Bigfella!

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    Banned gamercube's Avatar
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    Congratulations indeed. It has been a long time coming. How much compensation would each victim be getting, does anyone know?

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamercube View Post
    Congratulations indeed. It has been a long time coming. How much compensation would each victim be getting, does anyone know?
    The figure I heard was C$10,000 for the first year of school & C$3,000 for each subsequent year. Those who can prove abuse can apply for further compensation.

    While these figures are not high by the standards of civil court cases, they are on the high side for government run schemes in Australia that pay compensation to victims of crime.


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    Banned gamercube's Avatar
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    That amount isn't bad. I thought at first that the government would try to shield itself by making legislation against compensation-but it seems that the government move was indeed sincere and the amount paid is also not peanuts.

    As it is, apologies are a rare thing-I'm proud that it was a Conservative government that took this step, since usually they would be the last ones expected to do anything like this.

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    Harper also took the unusual step of giving credit to New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton for making him realize the importance of the issue. The non-partisan nature of this event is a pleasant surprise.

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    Senior Contributor Canmoore's Avatar
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    Indeed I am proud, finally a government has opened the closet door, and cleaned out this skeleton.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Politicians, especially Conservative ones, talk a good game when it comes to notions of 'responsibility. All too often they hide behind a wall of lawyer's weasel words when it comes to actually accepting responsibility for wrongs past & present.

    PM Harper is to be congratulated for his apology & for his willingness to pay compensation to victims of misguided state policies. Unfortunately Australia's government is yet to take that final step an a comprehensive way, though some state governments have done so.

    It is easy to sneer at events like today's as 'gesture politics' etc. One only has to see the tears in the eyes of those directly impacted by these events to see that this was very important.

    I believe that the mark of a modern, confident society is a willingness to publically acknowledge past wrongs & commit to learning from them. All nations have dark corners in their past. Grown up nations accept this, admit to it & apologize publically.

    Congratulations Mr Harper & congtratulations Canada.
    I understand where you are coming from BF, but for a range of reasons I do not agree with your desires for Australia.

    Brett.

  9. #9
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enterpriser View Post
    I understand where you are coming from BF, but for a range of reasons I do not agree with your desires for Australia.

    Brett.

    As is your right.

    Unfortunately you haven't actually provided any specifics, so I don't really know what you are getting at. By all means disagree with me. Use italics if you wish. But for the sake of clarity stating what you specifically disagree with & why would be helpful.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    As is your right.

    Unfortunately you haven't actually provided any specifics, so I don't really know what you are getting at. By all means disagree with me. Use italics if you wish. But for the sake of clarity stating what you specifically disagree with & why would be helpful.
    Sorry BF, not deliberately trying to be vague....I am still attempting to collate some material to support my arguments later when I post them. I am in exams at the moment and only have limited time to pursue the issue at this particular moment. At a general level I guess I am inclined to agree with some of the material posted in "the other place" on the subject when you were last debating it.

    Suffice to say that whilst I didn't agree with all that was said there (about numbers affected etc, or the vitriole) I did agree that generally the quality of life for those not taken appears worse and that any allocation of funds should have been to assist those within the framework of the Howard government intervention and to support those associated programs. At this stage I would not support the dispersal of funds to those who have suffered in the past, but are quite okay now (for whom the appology was probably the most important for them) as opposed to those who really need help now.

    I'll try to detail more when I get some extra time so that we can discuss this issue properly, but that is the general gist of where I am coming from.

    Brett.

  11. #11
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enterpriser View Post
    Sorry BF, not deliberately trying to be vague....I am still attempting to collate some material to support my arguments later when I post them. I am in exams at the moment and only have limited time to pursue the issue at this particular moment. At a general level I guess I am inclined to agree with some of the material posted in "the other place" on the subject when you were last debating it.

    Suffice to say that whilst I didn't agree with all that was said there (about numbers affected etc, or the vitriole) I did agree that generally the quality of life for those not taken appears worse and that any allocation of funds should have been to assist those within the framework of the Howard government intervention and to support those associated programs. At this stage I would not support the dispersal of funds to those who have suffered in the past, but are quite okay now (for whom the appology was probably the most important for them) as opposed to those who really need help now.

    I'll try to detail more when I get some extra time so that we can discuss this issue properly, but that is the general gist of where I am coming from.

    Brett.
    OK mate. Thanks for the reply. Get back to me when you can.

    Good luck with the exams.


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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Absolutely the worst possible thing they could've done. Reparations? Horrible.

    AN apology is in order, absolutely. But transferring damages FROM people that have committed no crime TO people that have not been personally wronged is stupid, and turns on its head the premise that makes any society free: your rights belong to you INDIVIDUALLY, and membership in ANY group, particulalry a RACIAL group, is no claim to any exceptional entitlements that all are not judged worthy of.

    It's no wonder that most wrong-headed of ALL WABbits would see this as something wonderful. Quite to be expected, actually.

    Philosophically, ANY person that will proudly cop to being a socialist will be wrong nine times out of ten on ANY given subject, and the tenth time will manage to prove the Law of Random Chance by a lucky guess, being unencumbered by any coherent judgement about the first goddam' principle of freedom.

    What a BRICK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Absolutely the worst possible thing they could've done. Reparations? Horrible.

    AN apology is in order, absolutely. But transferring damages FROM people that have committed no crime TO people that have not been personally wronged is stupid, and turns on its head the premise that makes any society free: your rights belong to you INDIVIDUALLY, and membership in ANY group, particulalry a RACIAL group, is no claim to any exceptional entitlements that all are not judged worthy of.

    It's no wonder that most wrong-headed of ALL WABbits would see this as something wonderful. Quite to be expected, actually.

    Philosophically, ANY person that will proudly cop to being a socialist will be wrong nine times out of ten on ANY given subject, and the tenth time will manage to prove the Law of Random Chance by a lucky guess, being unencumbered by any coherent judgement about the first goddam' principle of freedom.

    What a BRICK.
    As I understand it, it wasn't reparations per se, it was a lawsuit. And the money went only to actual victims and their family members. Not just any member of the First Nations.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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    Senior Contributor smilingassassin's Avatar
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    You know I feel for what happened to the Natives, its not unlike what the Spanish did in their conquored lands, but I fail to see how granting money based on liniage is really going to heal old wounds. What really needs to be done is to truely help natives blend in to Canadian society without losing their individuality.

    Its most unfortunate that we can issue an apology, grant money, slap each other on the back and consider things fixed when it is far FAR from that point.
    All I have to do is visit downdown Vancouver, Hastings and Main, ground zero and I can see many natives wasting away living meaningless lives as drunks and scavangers. I only need to visit the North shore and their reserve to see that they are living at a far lower standard than the rest of us.

    I don't think congratulations are in order here, not by a long shot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilingassassin View Post
    You know I feel for what happened to the Natives, its not unlike what the Spanish did in their conquored lands, but I fail to see how granting money based on liniage is really going to heal old wounds. What really needs to be done is to truely help natives blend in to Canadian society without losing their individuality.

    Its most unfortunate that we can issue an apology, grant money, slap each other on the back and consider things fixed when it is far FAR from that point.
    All I have to do is visit downdown Vancouver, Hastings and Main, ground zero and I can see many natives wasting away living meaningless lives as drunks and scavangers. I only need to visit the North shore and their reserve to see that they are living at a far lower standard than the rest of us.

    I don't think congratulations are in order here, not by a long shot.
    Well said.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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