[MMIWG Report] ‘Genocide’ appropriation makes reconciliation harder – by Barbara Kay (National Post – June 12, 2019)


Doubtless many Canadians of Armenian, Rwandan, Bosnian, Ukrainian and Jewish descent were disturbed by the MMIWG report

I won’t pretend to have professional detachment in my reaction to the MMIWG report’s deployment of “genocide” to characterize disproportionate violent crimes suffered by Indigenous women. The word cut to the quick, and Justin Trudeau’s endorsement of its use — slightly delayed while he calculated the political cost of refusing — added salt to the wound.

Yes, a number of Indigenous peoples have been systematically and purposefully annihilated by Europeans in the past. Those tragedies meet an international norm limiting assignment of “genocide” to acts “seeking the biological destruction of all or part of the group.”

But the MMIWG situation falls wildly far of the mark by any objective metric. Apart from any other consideration, the MMIWG inquiry only investigated violence to individual girls and women. Genocides generally feature either bilateral slaughter, or wholesale slaughter of men, reserving women for wholesale rape.

As a result, however commendable it may be in other respects, I am too distracted by the report’s claim of genocide to consider them objectively. Doubtless many others: fellow Jews, plus Canadians of Armenian, Rwandan, Bosnian and Ukrainian descent — to name the five genocides Canada recognizes — are equally disturbed by the report’s misappropriation of the term, and the imprimatur given to it by Canada’s highest office.

Personally, I disagree with the premise that Canada’s often-harsh treatment of native people in the past constitutes a genocide. But that is at least a debatable proposition.

For the rest of this column: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-genocide-appropriation-makes-reconciliation-harder

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