AN Opinion piece on the current state of aboriginal affairs.
Randy Ochoa, Staff Writer
Most people are aware that Canada does not have a positive history with aboriginal people, often shrouded with darkness and controversy. People are aware of the residential schools, the abuse, the social ostracism and much more. What people may not be aware of is that Canada has STILL not figured out how to treat aboriginal people with respect.
In the wake of this past election, Peterborough-Kawartha federal candidates were discussing the issue of clean drinking water, one thing that everyone takes for granted. The First Nations at Curve Lake have issued boiled water advisories because the water is not safe enough to drink. These advisories would sometimes occur daily. While this was a hot topic issue, access to clean drinking water was not the only issue debated. Two other highly debated topics that arose were the issue of the missing and murdered aboriginal woman as well as mental health care for aboriginal peoples in particular.
Will anything change? Probably not.
Many people are aware of aboriginal history and know what has happened. The general populace is also informed about the current state of aboriginal affairs in Canada. So why is nothing getting done? The response is pretty simple: our country doesn’t care; it never has, and it most likely never will. Justin Trudeau has just become our second youngest prime minister to take the helm with a huge voter turnout amounting to 68% of the population. This has turned out to be the highest within the past twenty years of voting history.
It was only four years ago when the conservatives won a majority and now the Liberals have taken the helm. Whether something will be done, I am unsure. Bottom line:
Indigenous peoples are a minority who become treated as formalities in the platforms of many politicians.
Although they may mention aboriginal people during their campaign to show compassion, this is but as far as it goes.
It is an extremely stressful and difficult time to be a Canadian citizen. From paying bills, raising kids, paying off debts, education, health care… the list goes on. There are so many daily responsibilities arising left, right and centre that it's no wonder people know or even care so little about aboriginal people. In a struggle to manage one's own life, it can be tempting to turn a blind eye when someone else is in need. The governments do not care about aboriginal people because the rest of the population does not care. Unless life becomes easier to manage and society becomes less competitive, I predict that nothing will change. At the end of the day, the vested interest of the masses will only continue to guide the governments’ involvement to inevitable destruction.