Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Pikangikum faces ideological foe

Today the Globe offers a poignant snap shot of Pikangikum, microcosmic representation of a social crisis far larger than itself. One Grade Seven class in one year sees six suicides. I daren't suggest that some sort of governmental action might be called for, lest the Taxpayers Federation reign scorn and indignation down upon my head.

The story at Pikangikum is housing, though. And Tom Flanagan, close friend and confidant to our Prime Minister, presents his version of the problem:

"Paradoxically, housing on Indian reserves is on average much newer than the general supply of housing in Canada, but it is also in much worse condition. People do not respect what they do not have to pay for, and they do not invest in the upkeep of what they do not own.

A drive through a reserve will show the sad results. Even though there may be a current housing shortage, derelict homes stand vacant, no longer habitable because they have not been maintained over the years."

It ain't our fault, get it! With some swift strokes of the pen, 308 Ottawa-based consciences are mericfully unburdened.

And it only gets better. If community ownership is the problem, the solution is of course a private housing market. So we parcel off pieces of treaty-guaranteed Reserves and sell them to the residents. You'd better believe it's going to work. If I steal your car and sell it back to you at a premium, you're going to appreciate it that much more. And if I make a pretty penny in the doing, so much the better.

The dispassionate political end of this is I believe there is an ideological battle raging within Indian Affairs. Thus far, Jim Prentice has lost more than he has won. The new housing agreement with Pikangikum will be a good indicator of who's really running this show.

On the human end, smarten the hell up Canada.

- Mike (SCG)


Blogger rabbit said...

People do not respect what they do not have to pay for, and they do not invest in the upkeep of what they do not own.

You disparage this remark, but can you argue against it?

Native Indians are caught in an economic system that patently does not work, for them or anybody else. They are half way between their old world and European's new one. Undecided as to whether to jump the chasm, they have managed to jump half way.

Canada already throws massive amounts of money at the problem. Given the results, how can anyone seriously propose that the solution is yet more money?

2:07 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

a) Read the Globe's account of the gut-wrenching living conditions, then understand that Flanagan's suggestion is that Reserve inhabitants invite these conditions upon themselves. Natives resign themselves and their children to life in dilapidated hellholes because they don't have a mortgage filed away somewhere? That's a bizarre suggestion, and exceptionally easy to argue against.

b) It is insane to suggest that First Nations should be asked to purchase from us what is already and has always been theirs. Period. There is legal ownership already in play, enshrined in the many treaties Flanagan suggests we further ignore.

c)Over the last half-decade or so there has been proportionately less money flowing to reserves (a trend that would've been reversed had the Kelowna Accord been ratified). This has meant a slowing and reversal of progress made. THere is a clear causal relationship between more money and better results. THere hasn't been enough money in play, plain and simple. The conservative argument that the money already spent hasn't entirely solved the problem so we should spend less is irrational, illogical, idiotic.

6:53 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:28 PM  
Blogger decoin said...

It ain't our fault, get it!

Or put another way, all you citizens who work and pay your taxes and support your families are in fact losers because it is YOUR FAULT that despite sucking billions from the feds year in and year out our aboriginal brethren still can't get their act together. Feel guilty losers, and pour billions more each year in to the black hole of Prentice's department, until your guilt is assuaged. Steel knows he is personally responsible for the plight of our poor helpless aboriginal brethren - at least he feels guilty about it. Do you?
(Chances of this being posted - zero - observing the extent of Steel's ignorance and delusion when it comes to aboriginal issues - priceless.)

11:55 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I wondered if this post would bring our bargain-basement lawyer friend out of retirement. And yes, I certainly won't allow his comment to stand, lest it expose my faulty argument. Any rational individual can see that "our aboriginal brethren still can't get their act together" is a more well-reasoned explanation for a housing crisis than is governmental neglect. And invoking the 'priceless' MasterCard commercials! Awesome. Let's satire like it's 1999! I've no weapon in my arsenal to defend such an onslaught.

When I said something about '308 Ottawa-based consciences' that was my indirect way of assigning responsibilit/ with government. Perhaps you missed that. So no, not every Joe Schmoe. Excepting Decoin, of course, who does owe a personal apology to every aboriginal person he has never met.

12:19 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

To be clear Decoin, you can call me a fatty-bo-batty and I'll let your comments stand. It's the overt racism that I've objected to in the past. It's the hiding behind an exceptionally clever moniker to post things that spoken in the real world would get you beat up or arrested that I've objected to. You can't post child porn either. Sorry.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Zac said...

I see the "moderate" under belly of the CPC is alive and kicking.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

And it gets posted.

1:37 PM  

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