Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Non-Mining Issues

[Thunder Bay] Mayor sets a new [Aboriginal] priority – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial (December 21, 2011)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

IN some ways, Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs’ State of the City address was standard fare — pride in development; careful, targeted spending; looking to the future. But sprinkled throughout his speech at city council this week were new themes that speak to priorities that are important because he’s making them Thunder Bay priorities.

Foremost among these is a determination to live in harmony with First Nations. Whether neighbouring Fort William or distant communities like Webequie, Mayor Hobbs is making it his business to collaborate with aboriginal leaders to make Thunder Bay a more welcoming place.

Having visited four Far North first nations this year, the mayor remarked how warmly he was welcomed. But while “hundreds of people from these communities” come to Thunder Bay each year “for their schooling, medical needs and business,” the welcome isn’t always warm. While “it seems only right that we do whatever we can to work together on a brighter future for all,” left unsaid was the terrible cultural dichotomy that divides the native and non-native communities here. Continue Reading →

Attawapiskat’s ‘dire’ conditions are deeply concerning: UN human rights official- by Thandi Fletcher (National Post – December 20, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

OTTAWA — A United Nations human rights expert says he is deeply concerned about the “dire” conditions in the Attawapiskat First Nation community.

“I have been in communication with the Government of Canada to express my deep concern about the dire social and economic condition of the Attawapiskat First Nation,” wrote James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, in a letter to the Canadian government published Tuesday on the UN website.

Anaya, who reports to the UN’s Human Rights Council, said he is especially worried for the people of the northern Ontario reserve as temperatures drop to extreme levels. “Many of this First Nation’s approximately 1,800 members live in unheated shacks or trailers, with no running water,” he wrote. “The problem is particularly serious as winter approaches.”

Attawapiskat is at the centre of a political battle over unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions on Canada’s First Nations reserves. Continue Reading →

A Christmas wish list for our many Attawapiskats – by Patricia Pearson (Globe and Mail – December 17, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Patricia Pearson is a journalist and an adviser to the North-South Partnership for Children, a coalition of NGOs, private companies, universities and individuals working with Ojibway and Cree communities.

They may be closer to the North Pole, but the aboriginal people of Northern Ontario have a much harder time grabbing Santa’s attention, apparently, than those of us in the South.

It’s not that they’re being unrealistically desirous of swimming pools and ponies. On the contrary, their wish lists tend to be almost heartbreakingly humble. The children of Pikangikum First Nation, an Ojibway reserve a few hundred kilometres north of Thunder Bay, told youth-engagement workers for the North-South Partnership for Children that they longed for running tap water.

Can they garner our goodwill and understanding? That would be on their wish list. So would a desire for simple and practical help. Continue Reading →

‘Dead capital’ killing reserves – by Michel Kelly-Gagnon, Special to QMI Agency (Sudbury Star – December 16, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper

Michel Kelly-Gagnon is president of Montreal Economic Institute (

Several years ago, I was asked by a journalist to explain why people in Third World countries were poor while we were rich. She had never heard any other explanation than the Marxist claim that those poor nations were being exploited and deprived of their wealth by evil and greedy multinationals.

I told her about the ground-breaking research done by famed Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. He showed convincingly how their own governments systematically prevented the populace from accumulating capital and creating wealth.

When it takes months of paperwork and it costs a small fortune in bribes to simply register a small business, when everything you possess can be taken away because property rights are not recognized or enforced, it’s awfully difficult for entrepreneurship to flourish. De Soto estimated there exists at least $9.3 trillion US in what’s termed “dead capital,” untitled assets held by the world’s poor. Continue Reading →

Algonquins in West Quebec prepare to launch biggest land claim in Canada’s history – by Mohammed Adam (Ottawa Citizen – December 11, 2011)

Even larger than Nunavut claim, it includes lands now held by Mohawks

A group of Algonquins in West Quebec is preparing to launch what could be the largest land claim in Canada’s history — for a swath of territory covering 650,000 square kilometres across Eastern Ontario and West Quebec.

Stretching from Sault Ste. Marie and Cochrane in Northern Ontario through much of Eastern Ontario, including Ottawa, the territory cuts across West Quebec to Montreal, and all the way to the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and St. Lawrence rivers at Trois-Rivières. About two-thirds of the land is in Quebec.

Gilbert Whiteduck, chief of the Algonquins of Maniwaki known as the Kitigan Zibi, says the process will begin soon with the presentation of the territorial map to Quebec Premier Jean Charest to underline the claim. Whiteduck says the map and accompanying documents were presented to the federal aboriginal affairs minister earlier this year, and the group is now seeking a meeting with Charest to do the same. Continue Reading →

How first nations can own their future – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – December 16, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Tom Flanagan is a professor of political science at the University of Calgary and co-author of Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights.

Reports of people living in tents and shacks at Attawapiskat evoke comparisons with the Third World, with people living in the shantytowns of South Africa and the barrios of Mexico. The comparison is apt, because we now know a lot about how people in the Third World have elevated themselves out of extreme poverty.

Stable government is essential. Failed states, such as Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, produce colossal misery. But it must be the right kind of government. Regimes that arbitrarily violate the rule of law, such as Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, or concentrate all property rights in the state, such as China under Mao, produce poverty on a mass scale. Redistribution through foreign aid also does not work. Countries that have received the most foreign aid, such as Tanzania under Julius Nyerere, have performed poorly. Continue Reading →