When the grave situation in this or that remote reserve hits the news, moral outrage is the order of the day. Liberals always demand that more money be thrown the situation and invariably throw in some reference to the Third World. Conservatives, on the other hand, always question whether current monies are being wisely spent.
Neither side seems to have noticed the guy in the gorilla suit. The long and troubled relationship between First Nation peoples and the Crown has blinded them to patent absurdity of the current situation. It has blinded them to the fact that Attawapiskat is a natural consequence of an economic and legal relationship built around Native rights, the reserve system, the Indian Act and Native Self government. In any other context this would be evident. Indeed, imagine if the government happened to, oh, legally define what it means to be Chinese, created a department of Chinese affairs, created Chinese rights, reserved land for Chinese so defined and exempted Chinese living on reserve land from paying taxes of any kind. No one would doubt that is a recipe for disastrous social relations. So, why would anyone doubt the same about Native Affairs, native rights and native reserves?
The reserve system, premised as it is on the notion of native rights, is a bureaucratic, fiscal, jurisdictional, legal, intellectual and sociological abortion that does nothing save waste mountains of money, breed corruption, black marketeering and poverty, encourage tax evasion, instill in the native community a vile sense of identity based on “blood” and breed racism in the Canadian society at large. If the Liberals want to accept this as Canada's historical cross to bear, so be it. However, they need to acknowledge that the problem is intractable so long as the only possible solution, viz., the abolition of native rights and the Indian Act and privatization of reserve lands, remains legally untenable.