By Crystal Vase
So I told him he is NOT a visible minority. I'm having dinner with my East Indian immigrant friend, Navel, and the topic of visible minorities comes up.
Now let me be clear, my friend makes a good living. And Canada has never had a history of bigotry toward the East Indians even when they had less than amicable relations with our home country England. Economic opportunity and personal security have always been as good for East Indians in Canada as anyone else.
I told him, that to point out one is a visible minority implies some sort of negative expectation from that fact. I reminded him he is quite successful and that the average East Indian in Canada makes about the national average of $30,000 a year while he in particular makes much more than that. I also pointed out there are 1.21 billion East Indians in the world. For some perspective the entire Canadian population would account for only 0.02 percent of the world's East Indian population.
He said none of that matters, he's entitled because he is brown and just being brown works against him. I asked him to present any evidence he has faced more resistance than anyone else in Canada and accused him of conflating American history with our own. He, of course, couldn't think of any specifics. I win. So why does the media keep pushing the lazy story?
I like my friend, but he is wrong on this issue and I don't appreciate the attitude. My primary reason for pressing this is because there is one and only one visible minority in Canada that can claim both historical support for unfair treatment as affirmed by our Supreme Court and clear contemporary measurables that show ongoing discrimination. I'm of course referring to the real Indians in our country. The Nation of Plains Walkers. The Eldest Tribes. The Wise Ones. Ironically, Navel's wife is an authentic Canadian Indian and she is firmly on my side of this as Navel himself told me.
The average Indian in Canada makes much less than our national average a year. Metis had the highest median income at nearly $28,000, followed by the Inuit with just less than $25,000 and First Nations people with a median income of approximately $19,000 in 2005. They are discriminated against for real in almost every urban market they try to enter, and the federal government makes it very difficult for individual Indians to start and run businesses that capitalize on local resources or labour opportunities on the reserves. I want all who read this to remember your responsibility to our Indians and our Canadian heritage.
Don't let revisionist historians lay the sins of others at our feet or we may be so distracted by phantoms we don't slay the real monsters when we have the chance.
Canada, uniquely, has never had a civil war or slavery and has a long tradition of welcoming all peoples. Has never had a major uprising of any ethnic group other than our Indians who once took over a bridge in protest and we deserved it as the Indian population, unjustly, became the victim of economic self interest from international trade forces committed to overruling their sovereignty for profit.
Let us not forget that the Indians are a distinct nation within Canada, subject to unique laws and considerations as was decided when we avoided war through peaceful negotiations during the initial formation of this great country and the hard won partnership between the English, French, and Indians that it represents. Never forget who turned the tide against the American aggressors in 1812, fighting...and dying for Canada.
Non Indian Canadians, including new Canadians who inherit this responsibility, need to do everything possible to show the Great Chiefs we are serious about doing fair trade. From our general support they can gain the influence to make positive change in their communities and further enrich shared Canadian interests. They are a partner no one else on Earth gets to have just because of our proximity and mostly peaceful history.
It's time to make that work for Canada AND the Nation within her. It's time to come together as a strong Canadian story, so as the forces of globalization and corporate branding threaten to drown out the voice of the people, there is such a strong foundation that when the storm passes only the Nation, surrounded by Canada's protection, remains. We are one people now.
A Government has a responsibility to protect the heritage of a country more than the economy of the day. Without our past, we have nothing. Without the Indians, Canada cannot stand. History has shown us this.
My Proposed Solution
Ideally... get rid of the Indian Act; end the reserve system; only spend federal tax dollars on culture related services (parades, holidays, ethnic support services, etc) respecting narratives of the core 3 (French, Indian, English collectively Canada); Reflect only these three in government documents and uniforms; reduce taxes radically; allow only special labour to immigrate(with an "i") otherwise only accept emigrants( with an "e"); end all crown corps and break up reserves into regular territory; start charging Indians same tax as any other citizen; restrict immigration to a percentage of birthrate; stop subsidizing domestic infrastructure in ridiculously remote and expensive places with almost no population yet endless alcohol.
Sell off all crown assets and reserve resource rights held in public trust to local citizens at whatever price they can afford. Even if that means an oil rig selling for 5 dollars if that is the only person within local jurisdiction then great; must not sell to already established businesses; instead directly to a citizen via local bidding who would then be required to form new enterprises using only local labour and the investment they can attract now owning the resource rights.
This would go a long way to solving many of the problems I see.
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