- JAAZPosted 7 hours ago
- Robyn & Ryleigh Release Video Of New SinglePosted 4 days ago
- FHA Warns – Exercise Proper BBQ HygienePosted 5 days ago
- SWAT Reading Skills Program A SuccessPosted 5 days ago
- Election ResultsPosted 8 days ago
- VotePosted 9 days ago
- High Streamflow Advisory Issued For Lower FraserPosted 9 days ago
- Portage Park Tennis Courts Renamed In Honor Of Dorothy KostrzewaPosted 13 days ago
Issues: Native Justice – A National Shame
By Mike Archer. Why do we have a White Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs? Why are our fellow citizens ‘administered’ under the Indian Act? Why does our government still refer to them as ‘Indians’. [Click On Image For Full Story]
In a very revealing interview on CBC’s The Current on Monday, host Anna Maria Tremonte interviewed retired Albert Judge John Reilly on his controversial career and his ground-breaking rulings with regard to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
Judge Reilly has some pretty controversial views and has asked some pretty controversial questions during his career. In the interview he admits freely that, as a young man (30 years-of-age) when he was assigned as a judge to the Stoney First Nation, he was neither prepared nor experienced enough for the job. He brought with him, he says, very right-wing, conservative, tough-on-crime views and made many of his decision on that basis.
It was only when he visited a graveyard on the reserve and counted the number of young people, born since 1970 when he became a judge, who had committed suicide and were buried in that graveyard that he decided something had to be done. Someone had to say something.
Bad Medicine – Judge John Reilly
The figures are staggering. According to Stats Can, Aboriginal adults account for twenty-two percent of the prisoners in Canada, while making up only three percent of our population. And those numbers are bound to jump when the federal government’s tough on crime legislation starts to be felt across the country.
It’s a situation that John Reilly knows well. He is a provincial court judge in Alberta. And for most of his career he had jurisdiction over the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Morley, Alberta. At first he thought he was doing good from his courtroom but eventually Judge Reilly’s views changed. His story is told in a new book, Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community. Judge John Reilly joined us from Calgary.
To Listen To The CBC Podcast Click Here.
Judge Reilly argues that Canada should adopt a system similar to that which exists in Australia whereby electoral boundaries were re-drawn in order to provide Aboriginal peoples with representation in parliament. Though First Nations people comprise an inordinate percentage of Canada’s jail population they only account for 3 – 4 percent of our population. Judge Reilly argues they should have at least that percentage of representation in Parliament.Why is the Indian Act the only piece of Canadian legislation that is beyond the purview of Parliament or the Auditor General, effectively putting it beyond the scrutiny of Parliament or Canadians as far as how much we spend or on what we spend it every year?
When the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) recently revealed the amount of tax-free dollars that are earned by some of Canada’s band chiefs – some in excess of $300,000/annum – little fuss was raised.
But as Judge Reilly points out, there is nothing in the Indian Act that prevents any individual chief from keeping all of that money for himself and his family. Judge Reilly believes, and he is right, that until we as Canadians have an honest discussion about what had gone wrong with our centuries-old relationship with the First Nations People, nothing will get better.
The Canadians who must be included in that discussion are the individual members of each and every band across the country, the Métis, the status and non-status Indians and all those who have been victimized by the embarrassing and insulting continuation of the British policy of treating indigenous people like so many cattle to be bargained away in a trade deal.
The Aboriginal People of Canada should not be allowed to kill themselves out of desperation and continue to fail in a country that prides itself on providing opportunity and hope for all.
The story is told of Chief Crowfoot taking the voyage to Winnipeg in order to meet with new White invaders of Western Canada. It is said that when he saw Winnipeg he knew in his heart that this was not a battle his people could win. This was a new way of life that would smother the way of life his people had known for millenia.
Little more than a hundred years later, having defeated and subjugated his people, we are still unable to look them in the eyes and speak to the as equals.
As Judge Reilly says, the Indian Act should be repealed and renegotiated with the First Nations people and the Canadian people finally coming to terms with what is truly a nation shame.