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Prime Minister Harper Denies Colonialism in Canada at G20

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  • Rob Schmidt
    http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2009/29/c2111.html Prime Minister Harper Denies Colonialism in Canada at G20 WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 29 /CNW
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2009

      Prime Minister Harper Denies Colonialism in Canada at G20

      WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Prime Minister Harper's statement
      denying colonialism in Canada made to the press last Friday at the G20
      Summit in Pittsburgh is an insult and injurious statement to all First
      Nations and Indigenous people in Canada. While gloating about Canada's
      economic situation at a press conference, Prime Minister Harper said, "We
      also have no history of colonialism", referring to Canada. "We cannot remain
      silent when such false statements are made. In fact society has a
      responsibility to denounce such misleading statements. Denying the history
      of colonialism in Canada is like denying the holocaust" said Chief Ghislain
      Picard of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL).

      A simple search on Google on "Canada and colonialism" would certainly deny
      PM Harper's statement. What can be more colonial than a system where the
      original inhabitants have been removed from the land and forced to live on
      plots of land that are often the size of a postage stamp. There can be no
      other term than a colonialist regime when a constitution of a country is
      drawn up and the original inhabitants are excluded and made wards of the
      state, with no citizenship.

      Legislation such as the Indian Act with policies of registering the
      Indigenous population for purposes of control have established a long
      standing colonial relationship of a racist, exploitative and coercive nature
      by the dominant settler population and their governments.

      The government of Canada faces the Human Rights Commission and the Supreme
      Court of Canada for violation of the rights of Indigenous people in Canada.
      Canada was cited no less than 38 times for the same reasons at its Universal
      Periodic review at the United Nations on February 3rd 2009. Canada's
      continued restrictive legislation and policies as well as the persistent and
      consistent underfunding of First Nations economy, housing, health,
      education, while heavily investing in these areas for the non-Indigenous
      dominant population is on record and a clear testament to the continuing
      refinement of a colonialist regime in Canada.

      Canadian Heritage confirmed the precarious situation of Aboriginal languages
      over 20 years ago. Since Mr. Harper has come to power, we have seen the
      meagre programs for Aboriginal languages cut drastically. This is consistent
      with the extinguishment policies of colonial regimes as demonstrated by the
      admitted objectives of the residential schools which were, "to kill the
      Indian in the child". Historical policies such as, "Belcher Declaration"
      that financially rewarded colonialists for scalps of Indigenous men, women
      and children, and the circulation of infected blankets are acts that were
      committed here in Canada.

      Colonialism is alive and well in Canada and this can be seen very clearly in
      the province of Quebec where the federal and provincial governments are
      cooperating on initiatives to continue the exploitation of Indigenous
      territories that remain unconquered and unceded. Canada remains silent on
      the violation of the rights and titles of the Indigenous peoples and the
      exploitation of their territories but promotes the developments of these on
      the world stage.

      "The tactics have changed, they are now more refined. The colonization of
      Indigenous lands and resources continues to this day and federal policy to
      that effect still denies our title, rights and treaties" adds Chief Picard.

      The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) is a regional
      organization regrouping the First Nations Chiefs of Quebec and Labrador.
      For further information: Alain Garon, Communications Officer, AFNQL, (418)
      842-5020, Cell (418) 956-5720
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