Reserve system doesn’t work and changes must be made

On reading Derrick Callan’s letter of Friday, Jan. 18, regarding my letter commenting on Joe McLaughlin’s praise of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, my first reaction was that Callan didn’t actually read the letter before he decided to criticize my observations. My second and perhaps more valid thought was that he was simply using his letter as a pulpit to expound on the platitudes, drivel and claptrap so dear to lifetime devotees of The Cause — you know, “Power to the People” and “Down With the Man.”

On reading Derrick Callan’s letter of Friday, Jan. 18, regarding my letter commenting on Joe McLaughlin’s praise of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, my first reaction was that Callan didn’t actually read the letter before he decided to criticize my observations. My second and perhaps more valid thought was that he was simply using his letter as a pulpit to expound on the platitudes, drivel and claptrap so dear to lifetime devotees of The Cause — you know, “Power to the People” and “Down With the Man.”

To say that I believe that there is little or no racism involved in native issues is incorrect. Unfortunately. bias has affected dealings with native conditions and needs for well over a century and it is doubly unfortunate that those biases cut both ways. It is also unfortunate that people like Spence and radicals on the native side continue to stoke these biases, causing a growing backlash from many Canadians who might otherwise support both native and government efforts to improve the situation.

Current conditions certainly need to change, but to say that the plight of natives in Canada is solely the fault of the Indian Act and Aboriginal Affairs is simplistic. The reserve system doesn’t work, not only because of the paternalistic approach taken by the government but because of unequal treatment of many band members by their own leaders. Many bands are led by greedy and incompetent chiefs and council members who misdirect millions of dollars in government funding to their own purposes.

This not only makes the tribes’ leaders the people’s own worst enemies, it makes it extremely difficult to effect any positive change and continues to anger the rest of Canada over wasted tax revenues. Many native leaders do not want fiscal and administrative transparency of band leadership because it would expose them as the frauds they are.

More unachievable demands from native radicals, strict adherence to the useless tenets of political correctness, continued belief in retroactive guilt and ongoing apologies will not solve native issues.

The expectations of returning to the so-called mystical Mother Earth existence of the past will not come about; it was subsistence living then and its subsistence living now.

It’s time to bring a little common sense into the equation and allow natives to assume an honoured place in Canadian society that not only respects their distinct heritage but also allows them assume equal membership in that society.

I also noted that Callan signed his letter as the local chair of the Council of Canadians. I’m not sure what credence that lends to his opinions but it does explain his dependence on the left lib nonsense spouted by he and his mentor Maude Barlow to support his views, no matter how skewed they may be.

Brian McLoughlin

Red Deer