December 30, 2012 1 Comment
Unlike many on the loony left, I like to deal with solutions. Many solutions I suggest, of course, get dismissed, or attacked, or ridiculed by the left on one level or another, but that is, sadly the nature of the left today.
Before I go any further, let me explain that:
The Left seems to be very insecure in their ideology. It isn’t a surprise, really, given their ideology is a proven, demonstrated, complete and utter failure. It simply doesn’t work, and, I think, the Left knows this. Which, naturally, completely shatters their belief system.
When someone on the right advocates a solution which someone on the left cognitively knows to be correct, it contradicts their ideology. This leads to them trying to hold two conflicting beliefs in their minds at once. This is a psychological phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance.” The resulting discomfort leads them to lash out, to attack, to insult and belittle.
If someone is really, truly secure in their beliefs, convinced they’re correct, then someone expressing a contrary opinion wouldn’t bother them. At all. They’d debate the point on its merits. Instead, the insults, attacks, and attempts to silence come out.
First Nations Chief Theresa Spence is now engaged in a hunger strike at the moment. She claims she wants a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and open a “national conversation” over the conditions of First Nations in Canada.
A bank account was opened in her spouse’s name accepting donations for some reason. This seems rather strange, given the hunger strike is purportedly to begin a “national conversation” or “force a meeting with Harper” or “make the government honour treaty obligations” or something. Secondly, the account is in her spouse’s name – at her insistence. Why? What’s that all about? The optics are terrible, and immediately call her true motives into question.
Ms. Spence’ motives notwithstanding, I have personally seen the conditions on several reserves in western Canada. I have journeyed to Atikameg and Wabsca-Demarais, each about an hour north of Slave Lake, AB. I’ve been to reserves near Whitecourt, Gleichen, Stand Off, Cardston, Hobbema, and so on.
First, let me be clear – my experience with the people on these reserves was wonderful. I felt very welcome, and got treated extremely courteously. A more friendly, happy and loving group of people is rarely found.
Sadly, however, I have also seen, first-hand, some of the conditions within which these people live. One reserve I visited was overrun with packs of semi-wild dogs. This is due, in part, to the residents not spaying or neutering their animals. On this reserve, the buildings were new and well-maintained, however on another reserve, I saw a school that was dirty and run-down. There was litter blowing around all over the place, and, while the people were wonderful, it was clear that poverty was rampant.
In fact, poverty is the main problem out on the reserves. Hobbema is notorious for gang violence, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is rampant among native children. A few years ago, my job took me to Drumheller, where I visited the Drumheller Institution for a day (where, clearly, I was escorted continually by a prison guard. That was an experience in and of itself!) The Institution’s population has a very high native contingent, with many suffering from FAS and/or ADHD. One member of the population was very open with the guards – he would tell them that he was “dealing”, yet was also a “model prisoner” all the time. Whenever the guards searched him, no contraband was found – his “flunkies” always had it instead.
But we have to ask, why does this happen? It’s poverty! Poverty leads to desperation, which leads to drastic, desperate actions. Kids with low self-esteem look for a sense of acceptance and belonging, and, if a gang offers them acceptance, a sense of belonging, and a steady source of finances through crime, then they’re going to be swayed into a life of crime.
The solution, then, is to create an environment which reduces the rampant poverty among the native population.
To do this, we need to look at what causes the conditions for rampant poverty to exist.
Canada’s reserves are isolated. Many are out in “the middle of nowhere”, miles from anywhere. The government has created a system which provides a strong incentive for natives to live out on the reserves, because in doing so, they live tax-free, pay no income tax or GST, and many receive government benefit cheques. Unemployment is rampant, due to lack of economic activity out on reserve, and the large distance from anywhere likely to have employment available.
Many First Nations want to keep their culture and language. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Heritage is what makes people who they are, after all. But at the same time, reality must come into play, and the reality is the reserve system just isn’t working.
So what’s the solution?
Eliminate the reserve system!
Obviously, this cannot be accomplished over night, nor will it immediately eliminate the rampant problems with poverty Canada’s First Nations experience. It would need to be phased in gradually over possibly a generation. Eliminating the reserves would remove the incentive for First Nations to isolate themselves out in the middle of nowhere. Many would find reasons to live closer to – or in – major urban areas, with ready access to jobs and, for those motivated enough, post secondary education. The result being, eventually, higher self-esteem, less poverty, and less crime.
In the shorter term, there are many options available to natives living on-reserve. Pick up the garbage. Take pride in what is theirs already. Clean the buildings – wash the windows, wash the floors, paint over the graffiti. Fix broken hinges on doors, and so on. Mow the grass, and, for heaven’s sake, spay or neuter the dogs! Clearly, these few suggestions here won’t solve the overall problem, but a sense of pride and accomplishment goes a long way to boosting self-esteem, which is the first step in a long road to solving the problem overall.