Jagmeet Singh Shows He’s UNFIT to be Opposition Leader, Let Alone PM

Politicians can get caught up in rhetoric, passionate arguments, robust accusations … especially during election campaigns: I get that.

But none of them … especially party Leaders … should make rash, unproven, dangerous allegations that can stir up hate, anger, division and even violence … just to score votes.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh not only stepped over the line Friday: he obliterated it and I believe totally cast aside any standard of acceptable ethics, truth and evidentiary integrity … even for a politician… to cultivate First Nations’ (and extreme left) support.

Singh chose for his campaign stop the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan which claims there are 751 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the former Marieval Indian Residential School site, about 150 kilometres east of Regina.

Without a single shred of actual, physical forensic EVIDENCE from this (or any other unmarked sites across Canada) that bodies indeed ARE there or how/why they died , Singh repeatedly … over and over again … referred to those buried there as having been “killed”.

“Children were stolen from their parents and then killed,” the NDP Leader told the media.


Really? How can any “Leader” who aspires to be even Canada’s Opposition Leader, let alone Prime Minister, just come out and say …. without ANY actual evidence … that those in any graves anywhere were “KILLED”?

“Kids that were killed in a genocide,” Singh added … making sure he used the word “killed” several times over before he was done.

Words mattter!

Is Singh so ignorant he is not aware of the high death rates throughout Canada from 1910 to 1975 from childhood diseases, tuberculosis, polio, and numerous other critical medical conditions (heart damage, epilepsy, type one diabetes, kidney, liver problems) untreatable at the time?

And has he ever heard of the judicial standard of “habeas corpus” that protects everyone under our justice system?

Apparently not: Singh has already decided it’s all “a crime”.

““This is a crime committed against Indigenous people. This is a crime of genocide,” Singh said adding ” we would appoint a special prosecutor and make sure it’s prosecuted.”

I guess saying “killed” makes a better headline and is Singh’s attempt at overcoming Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s advantage in pandering for First Nations votes by promising/handing out millions and billions of public dollars over the past few months.

But in Singh’s case, the disgrace Friday got even worse.

Since during this election kissing babies for a photo op is out, Singh’s campaign had a better idea.

At the Cowessess First Nations site, Singh and his wife “walked along the hundreds of graves, each marked by a small white flag and solar-powered lights. Sidhu knelt down and laid a bouquet of flowers,” CTV reported.

And Singh himself said a prayer. As the media recorded it all.

You can read the full CTV story here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/federal-election-2021/singh-emotional-after-visiting-site-of-cowessess-first-nation-unmarked-graves-1.5555381.

(In July, visiting Kamloops, Singh placed a teddy bear on an alleged unmarked grave area.)

And the ever-compliant, complacent, co-opted media lapped it up!

During Singh’s televised media conference, I did not see a single question about his repeated, but unproven, allegation that thousands were “killed” in what Singh referred to as “a country that killed its own people”.

Too bad no one asked Singh about the thousands of unmarked graves, uncared for and/or abandoned by First Nations themselves across the nation … which I wrote about recently: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/why-real-reconciliation-is-not-happening/.

Does Singh want the Chiefs, Band Councils of all those native bands with uncared for, unmarked graves prosecuted too?

Instead the NDP leader was lobbed this question:

“You’re about to be a parent: what was it like going through those unmarked graves?”

Almost as if on cue, Singh choked back tears and then replied: “”I don’t want it to be about me. That’s the important thing. It’s about Indigenous communities and what we’ve got to do for them. It’s about what this means that a country killed its own people.”

The media had their clip!

And CBC Newsworld … which I have long regarded as the unofficial voice of the NDP … went to town in its “news” coverage and one-sided “panel” discussions. Of course, n hard questions! LOL!

Probably a better “news” day for Singh than Trudeau or O’Toole … certainly when it came to getting more First Nations votes in the bag.

But I believe it’s very dangerous when any politician declares anyone GUILTY of any crime … especially GENOCIDE … before there are actually ANY evidence, ANY actual forensic analysis, ANY trial, ANY findings.

That’s why Singh … dreaming of becoming Prime Minister … is unfit to be even Canada’s Opposition Leader.

Harv Oberfeld

(Pass it on: help keep election discussions going on topics of concern to Canadians but which the mainstream media won’t touch. And remember, you can get FREE First Alerts to all new topics on this Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. )

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30 Responses to Jagmeet Singh Shows He’s UNFIT to be Opposition Leader, Let Alone PM

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    I shake my head, Singh is rewriting history, George Orwell style, pander to the first nations and the higher purpose persons who literally want to shred this country because they have deluded themselves that the first nations were victims of genocide.

    Er no, not even close, but the NDP types are perverting history, desperate to get votes.

    Singh is unfit to be the NDP leader, yet here he is, demonstrating how unfit he is.

    The NDP have lost their way; have lost history and have been molded into a party of hate – the hate of Canada.

    And I am quite left in my politics, yet the NDP leave me a cold as a week old corpse.

    In the Tyee today, the bid story is about autonomous government in the Queen Charolotte’s (OK, OK, Hiada Gwaii) and i asked a simple question; “What is the cost?”

    My god holy hell erupted that I dared to ask such a question.

    On Facebook, Singh claimed that Canada committed genocide on the First Nations, which I strongly objected to. but the NDP types are now saying we treated the first nations as the Nazi’s treated the Jewish people or Turkey treated the Armenians. Say anything else and I am a holocaust denier of some sort.

    This is today’s NDP and Singh should resign immediately, but he won’t because the Canada hater’s are lapping it up.

    I cannot help to think that the NDP have become puppets of a foreign government trying to weaken this country and the more he opens his mouth, the more I believe this hypothesis.

    (Response: I realize that, not really expecting to win the election, Singh and the NDP have it pretty easy: they can promise anything and everything to everyone. But as a lawyer, Singh is an officer of the Court and has an ethical duty to uphold the rule of law. You would think someone in the media would have a field day with his use of the words “killed” when not a single body has been produced, forensically studied to determine cause of death. What a “hanging” judge he’d be! Worthy of perhaps of sitting on the bench in China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela … but in my view totally unworthy of ANY position of power in Canada. h.o)

  2. JC says:

    I always thought that Jagmeet Singh wasn’t ready for primetime in politics but now I’ve changed my mind. The man is ignorant, completely irresponsible, and shouldn’t even be leading a small political party.

    I posted about the irresponsible use of the term Genocide last month in your article from July 12th. I read, subsequently, an interesting article on CBC online. A legal expert at McGill University stated that to prove Genocide, a prosecutor or tribunal must make the case there was actual intent to physically destroy a race of people. Singh is alleging Genocide, where is the intent? Aside from inflammatory speeches and disgusting statements from long dead 19th Century politicians, there is no record of intent that would stand up in any trial. Genocide is a unique crime and one that is a product of 20th Century Totalitarian states. The Residential School system was from the Victorian 19th Century and the Victorians were harsh and brutal people (just look at the Workhouses, Prisons, and Orphanages of that era) but not Genocidal. It shows that Singh is historically illiterate.

    Singh also said he wants a special prosecutor to investigate the Residential School deaths but the province’s are responsible for administering Criminal Justice. If there are specific allegations against individuals for Murder in the residential schools (which there aren’t yet, since there haven’t even been police investigations) the Provincial Crown can lay charges. As a former MPP and Lawyer, Singh should know all this. But then again, he was ignorant about the division of powers in the Constitution on taxation and health care. I also remember him attacking the jury’s decision of acquittal in the Coulton Boushie trial (as did Jodi Wilson Raybould and Justin Trudeau). Its amazing a lawyer would attack Jury Trial, one of the foundations of a free society. Someone in the media should try and find one of Singh’s old clients to see what kind of a lawyer he was. I wouldn’t want him defending me, since he doesn’t appear to believe in the presumption of innocence!

    Another interesting point about Singh (that has gotten next to no media coverage) is the case of his brother-in-law. On February 28th, Singh’s brother-in-law (Jodhveer Dhaliwal) was arrested for assaulting a man and breaking his wrist at a Pro Modi rally in Brampton Ontario. Despite video of the incident, the Crown dropped the charges against him and imposed a peace bond (where was the Special Prosecutor in that case?). Imagine if Erin O’Toole had a family member charged with assault at a Far Right or Anti Vax rally or even if a member of Justin Trudeau’s family was involved in a brawl at a political event. I’m sure it would have been the leading news story and I doubt the criminal case would have been dropped either.

    I take your point about CBC Newsworld/Network, but I would give a couple of honourable mentions to two of their presenters. I remember Vassy Kapelos grilling Singh on his energy policy last year regarding Trans Mountain (he did very badly lol). And Terry Milewski rightfully confronted Singh on his links to extremism in the Sikh community and caught him out promoting conspiracy theories regarding the Air India bombings (Milewski got a lot of flak for it, but it all turned out to be right).

    Singh, as you right fully say, is incapable of being Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and I think the NDP should think hard about him staying on as Leader of the Party after the election, notwithstanding how many TikTok followers he has.

    (Response: I think anyone who attended schools back in the 1900s (right up to the 1960s) can remember being … or knowing of others …strapped, struck with rulers and just generally being treated in ways that would lead to protests, lawsuits today. And I understand the Sisters could be particularly harsh. I can still remember at my Montreal Protestant School Board elementary school, the principal one day summoned all the Jewish kids from each classroom to the hallway outside his office and then told them they were all being too loud at recess and in the halls. Only them. It was just before Easter. Maybe Singh will lead the charge for them … and bemoan all the psychological damage they must still be suffering! Compensation!! Or at least a teddy bear on the steps of the school, which is still being used. h.o)

  3. Stu de Baker says:

    Good call Harvey.

    If you are correct about politicians regularly reading you, I hope Mr. Singh is feeling very uncomfortable right now; itchy, skin crawly uncomfortable.

    This Instagram selfie exercise shows a complete lack of class and extreme desperation. It makes me question the conscience, smarts and integrity of not just the NDP election team but the party itself for electing him leader.

    An apology to Canada’s First Nations people, or at least residential school victims, for this tasteless opportunism would be appropriate, but those who would organize and pull this stunt in the first place, likely don’t possess the understanding, compassion or IQ to do so.

    Through several leaders now, the Federal NDP has evolved to a fringe party. This foolishness just makes them fringier and I believe it could result in enough seat losses to give the Liberals a majority.

    (Response: First a teddy bear; now he’s kneeling with his wife …and saying a prayer. If it’s so sincere, why wasn’t Singh bringing teddy bears and kneeling and praying when there were the first reports of unmarked graves … before election talk was in the air? And how can anyone …especially a lawyer accredited to the Courts … CONCLUDE these people were “killed” and it was deliberate genocide by “the country”. In the 1900s, children died of many diseases, about which little was known and there were few or no cures. I had a family member who died of tuberculosis: can I say the sanitorium “killed” him? Compensate me! I believe Singh is being totally irresponsible … agitating and stirring up anger and division: not just among First Nations but I’d bet millions of other Canadians who are fed up with SUDDEN grief, mourning …and cashing in for millions of course. ..for events 100 to more than 50 years ago!!! And what a pathetic job the fearful media are doing in not hard questioning Singh … or First Nations activists pushing their agenda and cashing in on it all. h.o)

  4. K.R. says:

    I agree, he’s definitely NOT who I want to lead the country, for many reasons. I was annoyed watching that coverage too. When I saw his hands go into prayer pose I thought he’s seriously full of crap. And the drama of constantly saying the aboriginals were “killed” is just pure drama. Sensationalism! Call me old fashioned, but I also want a leader that looks pulled together. He looks too casual, dressed in rolled up pants-can’t he afford a tailor?- he is running for PM ! If he doesn’t care about how he presents himself to the masses then he won’t care how we as a country present on a world stage. This might sound superficial but I don’t think it is, not when we are talking about running a country and requiring interaction with various leaders from all over the world. Dress the part already!!

    (Response: Singh knows he has no hope of becoming PM or forming government: I suspect he’s “dressing” for his base … who might be turned off by a business look. But I don’t worry about that as much as I am appalled at his use of extremist language, spewing unproven accusations/charges … creating dangerous divisions and, in my view, taking First Nations and other Canadians for fools. He is so irresponsible, he is unqualified to be even Opposition Leader!! And the media should START doing their jobs and calling him on totally judiciary or forensically-unsupported claims! h.o)

  5. Harry Lawson says:


    I couldn’t agree more with your post.

    This is a case of cold and cruel pandering that not only is a disservice to our indigenous people. It is a disservice to all Canadians, a disservice to the not only the rule of law also the role of law.

    The damages from his remarks will be felt for years.

    I would hope that there would be other parties calling Singh out ,however I won’t hold my breath..

    (Response: Looks to me like the First Nations are being PLAYED by Singh, being used as stage props for photo ops and “touching” TV clips. They’re also being exploited by their own activists and scammers trying to turn the Residential School issue into lottery wins for bands/councils and all their relations. But the saddest part is the impression I get talking to REAL Canadians … not the “politically correct” ones you see featured on the mainstream media … is all this is HURTING First Nations … not helping any true reconciliation efforts. h.o)

  6. Keith says:

    That was no “ misspeak, misspoke, words out of context’ and other assorted excuses for saying something appalling, the NDP and Singh knew exactly what they were saying with the effect it would have. These photo ops. with attached pressers aren’t a spur of the moment decision, words and actions are made well in advance for maximum impact.

    Same stuff repeated in the Times Colonist via the Associated Press.


    Problem I see with throwing genocide and variations of “ state sponsored genocide” is those terms become mainstream, until a final determination is arrived at by those charged to investigate we don’t know, but it gets embedded in the national conscience and narrative so many end up believing that is the case no matter what, and making true what they want to be true. For Singh to add to that is reckless at best and not befitting of anyone running for office with or without a law degree.

    Apart from the press not asking Singh if he meant what he said, I’m waiting for any reporter to ask any politician or first nations representative;

    “why there are so many unmarked graves all over Canada, can they all be genocide”?, preferably at another inevitable similar photo op.

    (Response: Your question is better than ANY I heard at Singh’s press conference where he made his outrageous, sensational, and in my view dangerous, statements. And is it just me, or is he now repeatedly looking like he is trying to deliberately exploit his religious faith as a way of trying to win sympathy and votes from the left? Religion is a personal calling and should be completely left out of politics! But the article you provided reported Singh “noted the kirpan he wears as part of his Sikh faith is a symbol of his commitment to fight for justice.” Since HE brought it up, I’d ask Sikhs in Quebec whether they felt Singh adequately spoke out in Quebec, where I’d describe him as being shamefully weak after the provincial government passed a law barring provincial government employees (government offices, public agencies, schools, hospitals, police etc.) from wearing religious gear (turbans, skullcaps, hijabs) or lose their jobs?? I guess it’s easier to stand up publicly for “justice” in Saskatchewan without losing votes than in it is in Quebec! h.o)

  7. Richard Skelly says:

    I guess reporters assigned to cover the Singh campaign probably lean centre-left and are sufficiently ‘woke’ that none would pipe up to question the leader’s inflammatory use of “killed”. New York Times columnist Bret Stephens recently described modern reporters as little more than “media stenographers.” As a former print reporter myself, I think Bret is onto something. Unquestioning stenography is so true, on so many issues of the day that get covered.

    To digress, Harv, the more votes for the NDP likely means fewer for the Liberals. And, thus, a better chance of an upset victory by the Conservatives and the removal of the most ethically clueless or deliberately unethical Prime Minister in my lifetime.

    One low-hanging fruit of opportunity for Singh is to pledge an NDP government would re-close Canadian land borders. Especially given President Biden’s continuing ban on Canadians wanting to head south by land. Not likely the Liberals or Conservatives would upset Canadian businesses by again banning American land visitors.

    (Response: The NDP clearly see alienated Trudeau supporters … not Greens … as their key to increasing their vote. Of course, it’s easier for Singh to play Santa Claus and make billions of dollars in promises for all kinds of new programs, coverages etc. since the NDP know they have NO chance of forming government. But with Singh’s latest performances, I don’t think he’s fit to become Opposition Leader either. h.o)

  8. Gilbert says:

    This is a brilliant piece of writing. I have a question for Mr. Singh. Are all the unmarked graves in Canada those of natives? May I ask another? Can you tell us how the natives in unmarked graves were killed?

    Religion is a sensitive topic for many. Politicians need to be careful about discussing their faith for three main reasons: 1) many voters believe in the separation of church and state; 2) politicians represent everyone, not just those of their own faith; 3) religion should not be used in an attempt to gain votes.

    (Response: I agree: a person’s religion should not be used … pro or con …as election fodder. But Singh does certainly seem to be using it: not just in offering a prayer, but in pointing to his kirpan and saying it symbolizes/requires adherents tp stand up for justice. Does he not believe the cross does the same? Or the Jewish skullcap? Wasn’t placing a teddy bear at one site and kneeling down with a bouquet of flowers at another … all before the cameras … enough? h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      Two issues. First with Singh, first he is a fundamentalist Sikh and as Canada is a secular country, I believe anyone who is a fundamentalist with their religion should not be Prime Minister as religion will always ‘trump’ good politics. It is the nature of the beast.

      The so called unmarked graves were probably marked at one time with wooden crosses, where over time they have weathered and rotted away.

      The first bit of culture shock I had was on my first trip to the UK, in 1974, was on the bus from Heathrow to London, where it passed a classic “parish church’ with a children’s playground in the middle of the church graveyard.

      Unmarked graves today, were probably not unmarked 50 years ago. That being said, I still firmly believe an international investigation must take place with the residential schools, but I am now afraid the issue has been hijacked by unscrupulous politicians and First Nation activists, using the remaining victims as pawns in a cynical game of both getting elected and getting more money from government.

      (Response: If the Canadian media was not so easily intimidated and did its duty, instead of just the one-sided propaganda pieces we see today, we would also see stories about how millions of Canadians believe/see the EXPLOIATION of the troubles surrounding the residential schools (supposedly settled with a 2015 agreement) and the suddenly “discovered” thousands of unmarked graves dating back more than a hundred years, when diseases and early child deaths ran rampant in ALL communities, … as just part of a huge CASH shakedown attempt by First Nations activists, that will hurt more than heal the true reconciliation so many Canadians people want so much. h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    People may not agree with what he is saying, but he certainly receiving a lot of press and that is the name of the game. He has chosen an issue which other parties don’t want to talk about because they were in office, federally when all of this went down. Smart move on his part. He knows how to play to the press. Playing to the press is one of the job requirements. Singh also knows he isn’t going to make P.M. so no one is going to hold him to any of what he says. I’d say he pretty smart.

    Now I do disagree with you, as we know from your previous article. The governments of the day stole the children and did kill them. Not immediately by shooting them, etc. but they died because of they way they were forced to live and that has been well documented. In my opinion, it was a genocide. Indigenous people are still dealing with dirty drinking water, mercury in their water, etc. Singh’s made a smart move. I’m sure more than one Indigenous person is going to vote NDP because of Singh’s position. Winning is part of the leader’s job.

    Trudeau may regret calling this election. He may still be dealing with Singh when this is all over. Both Singh and Trudeau know the NDP will not support a Conservative government. It will be interesting to see what the Quebec seperatists do.

    (Response: Singh’s “performances” will not doubt impress his base …but I believe it is very base indeed for a party leader to say anyone was “killed” without a single body being examined forensically … esp given all the diseases that ravaged lives back in the 1900s. It’s irresponsible …and as a lawyer, and a Party leader Singh should be held to a higher standard …which I believe he has failed miserably. h.o)

  10. Not Sure says:

    Well Singh isn’t the only one to use genocide.

    “The Green Party of Canada acknowledges the extraordinary patience and generosity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Peoples in the face of the injustices, empty promises, racism and yes, genocide they have endured.

    How about a Conservative.

    A Manitoba cabinet minister who, three weeks ago, defended some of the intentions behind residential schools said the schools were part of a genocide. “It wasn’t just cultural genocide. They weren’t just attempting to erase the culture,” Alan Lagimodiere said. “Sir John A. … his plan was to eliminate Indigenous people from Canada, and that to me is genocide.”

    And of course Trudeau in response to the report on missing and murdered women and girls said.”We accept their findings, including that what happened amounts to genocide,”
    Note his careful phrasing: Not necessarily genocide but amounts to genocide.

    Now should the term be used? In response to the holocaust, Raphael Lemkin, coined the term genocide because there was no word to describe the crime that the Nazis had inflicted on the Jews of Europe. But he didn’t limit the definition to the horrors of the holocaust or the mass killings of other groups. Here is his definition.

    “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.”

    I am not going to argue for or against its use, but using that definition it is not a stretch for some people to use the word genocide when discussing residential schools and the treatment of Indigenous Canadians. (maybe not genocide but perhaps amounts to?)

    How about the word “killed”. Did residential schools kill Indigenous children. What evidence do you want? There is evidence, at least no denial, that children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused. They were malnourished. The medical facilities were inadequate. They were neglected. The death rate among residential school children was two to five times greater than the rest of the childhood population. Certainly not every unmarked grave holds a murdered child nor were they necessarily killed directly at the hands of an individual. But far too many died, were killed by an abusive system.

    I don’t like photo ops and especially the politicizing of tragedies so go ahead and bash the third maybe fourth party candidate all you want, but let’s not lose sight of what happened to Indigenous children at residential schools and the multi-generational impact it has had.

    (Response: In hindsight …and let’s remember this is ALL hindsight … residential schools would never meet today’s standards. But neither would a LOT of schools (and orphanages, foster care and juvenile detention facilities/programs) in the other rural areas or cities either …esp those run by religious or government agencies. And some it goes back more than 100 years ago. But you don’t see seniors or their children grand children sporting T shirts saying “I survived XXX Secondary School!” and trying to cash in on it all. And again, what about all the thousands buried and abandoned in unmarked graves by First Nations themselves all across the country? Will we see Singh lay teddy bears there …or demand former Chiefs and band council members in charge be prosecuted? . I really believe the First Nations are really hurting real reconciliation efforts the way all this is being carried out … especially allowing themselves to be used by politicians during the election campaign. As for quoting some MP for using the word “genocide”, that is a diversionary red herring: Canadians should be able to expect MORE from a Party Leader aspiring to be Prime Minister than some MP or candidate mouthing off. h.o)

  11. Elle says:

    The definition of genocide that Not Sure posted could sure apply to what is happening in Canada under the Trudeau government. We have been inundated with changes to our lives by the government of the day and it is totally destroying our way of life. We are more divided than ever before. Our freedoms are being stripped, our national feelings are being eroded. Does anyone feel proud to be a Canadian anymore? This is Trudeau’s plan to bring us to our knees so he can put us under the UN thumb. The word “genocide” has been thrown around very loosely and we are all being blamed for the sins of the past. No one is going to win after all is said and done.

    (Response: When activists and irresponsible politicians so easily throw around the word “genocide”, it cheapens the definition and insults the victims of REAL genocides in the world. Shame! And I believe in Singh’s case, as a federal party Leader under the British Parliamentary system, it shows he is indeed UNFIT to become not only Prime Minister, but even Official Opposition Leader. h.o)

  12. nonconfidencevote says:

    Never let a good story get in the way of the truth.
    Never underestimate the depths that any politician will plunge for a vote.
    Never assume the media won’t roll over and play dead for advertising dollars.
    Never vote NDP while this crass opportunist is at the helm.

    (Response: This morning, Singh was on CKNW’s Mike Smyth show. I urge everyone to go to the CKNW website and search out Monday Aug 23 at 9:30 a.m. in their audio vault and listen. It’s actually funny to listen to Singh slip and slide and evade and, in my view, disgrace himself and the federal NDP. h.o)

  13. Not Sure says:

    In your response to me, you said

    “In hindsight … residential schools would never meet today’s standards. But neither would a LOT of schools … in the other rural areas or cities either…. And some it goes back more than 100 years ago. But you don’t see seniors or their children grand children trying to cash in on it all.”

    Harvey, there is no comparison. We are not talking about corporal punishment. Indigenous children were separated from their families. They were strapped for speaking the only language they knew. Most were emotionally and physically abused and many sexually abused. Did that happen to our grandparents. Did that happen to us when we went to school. Of course it didn’t. But there are still living survivors of residential schools who can’t say the same.

    Also to Stu you said “I had a family member who died of tuberculosis: can I say the sanitorium “killed” him? Compensate me!”

    Again Harvey. No comparison. My grandfather was in and out of hospital for 15 years before dying of TB in 1941. He like most everybody else got whatever care was available for that time period. Can the same be said for the children in residential schools? Were they even sent to sanitoriums?

    And comparing these graves to cemeteries that have been neglected is not the point either. We are talking about children who died under a neglectful (to put it mildly) system.

    I am going to repeat myself. Go after the politicians all you want,but let’s not lose sight of what happened to Indigenous children at residential schools and the multi-generational impact it has had.

    (Response: I’m not saying residential schools were good … but the last one closed down more than 40 years ago. And thousands went through them, got an education, better food, better health care, and frankly better living and even family conditions than existed on a lot of reserves at that time … and emerged able to get better jobs and even pursue higher education. Today, a lot of naïve do-gooders, pandering politicians and the mainstream media are buying into the First Nations’ activist narrative/agenda without ever questioning, let alone challenging even some of it: the truth is many Canadians view what is going on now as a shakedown … yet another demand for more and more federal cash to be be doled out. Like it or not, I believe millions of Canadians feel that way…and that’s why it is actually HURTING real reconciliation, not helping us all to move forward together. Sad. h.o)

  14. nonconfidencevote says:

    ” ….the truth is many Canadians view what is going on now as a shakedown … yet another demand for more and more federal cash to be be doled out.”



  15. M.S. says:

    My thoughts are …” has there been a concerted effort to hear from all the surviving Residential school care givers, teachers and other staff that were involved with the running of the schools?”

    It seems to me that that there are a large number of well meaning, dedicated workers are being painted by the same brush as the dishonorable ones. How fair is that? It seems to imply that if there was a bad apple they all were.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think that the staff members went there to harm or in anyway physically abuse the students but rather to prepare them for the world outside of the Reserves.

    As for the unmarked graves, remember that communication in the early years was very minimal. I assume that many residents of the Reserves had no telephone or even a mailing address. If the RCMP and others brought these children in from their homes how would the staff know where they came from or how to reach their families even if they knew? How long can a body remain manageable in the summer months, and what do you with them in the winter? If they died from tuberculosis would it be prudent to leave the bodies around to spread the disease further?

    Compared to the other children who didn’t attend these schools how many died of some disease or were abused or died from exposure and poor nutrition? How many children went on to prepare themselves for the outside world and contribute to the overall society?

    There doesn’t seem to be statistics that I could find to make a comparison.

    All of the Residential school staff, teachers and other workers that worked there need to come forward to tell their side of the story. Natives, politicians and the news media are making a big issue mainly out of hear say.

    All of us who are paying for these reports, that are all one sided, need to stand up and make sure we are heard.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say my piece.

    (Response: I have no doubt there were/are MANY former students who did very well after getting an education at the residential schools that was impossible to come by at that time on remote reserves: but I suspect they just don’t need the hassle of coming forward and saying so and those stories don’t play into the agenda of First Nations and other activists or the mainstream media either for that matter. Yes, the schools failed by today’s standards in that they did not respect First Nations cultural identities … but neither did many “public” schools back then, when Christianity ruled supreme and Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh students were also culturally deprived and even disrespected. In Montreal, where I was raised, these minorities had to choose whether to attend “Catholic” or “Protestant” schools … and I remember in the Protestant elementary school I attended, we ALL said the Lords Prayer and sung a Christian hymn to start off class each day!!! And to top it off: Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh parents, even if property owners, couldn’t vote in school board elections … because only Protestants could vote for the PSBGM!! But I don’t see them wearing T-Shirts “I survived the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal” … and demanding cash to get over the “trauma”. They used the terrific education they received, and as you suggest very dedicated teachers, to go on to become, in many cases, very successful. h.o)

  16. Harry Lawson says:


    Once again I have to ask what is reconciliation?

    We have Mr Singh politicizing a tragic chapter in Canadian history with rhetoric that panders to a political base.

    I would have had more respect if he acknowledged the wrong doing of the past and asked all.parties involved how do we move forward on a historic wrong doing ? How do we heal ?

    Instead he chose to use inflammatory rhetoric

    This is exactly why he is unfit to be a leader.

    The divenese pandering within issue’s must stop ,if we are ever going to get solutions.

    (Response: Quite inflammatory rhetoric!! And totally UNPROVEN accusations when he says the government “stole the children and killed them”. Outrageous … a cheap, political attempt at vote getting in my view, and if people REALLY want reconciliation … including First Nations members …they should repudiate Singh and the NDP’s crass tactics and send them a message this kind of rhetoric (accompanied by shameless photo-ops) is not the solution. h.o)

  17. Not Sure says:

    M.S. wondered about ex-staff at the schools and their stories. Here are two.


    Fired within four months because they spoke up.


    This teacher (one of the good ones) reconnected with a former student. She was surprised at how naive she had been, unable to see what was actually going on. The student on the other hand, says that it wasn’t her fault, that the kids covered up the abuse from the ones they liked because they were afraid of losing them if the teachers spoke out.

    Harry asks for a definition of reconciliation. Here’s how the TRC defines it.

    “Reconciliation” is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. For that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.”

    If you you try to excuse residential schools by saying that “thousands went through them, got an education, better food, better health care, and frankly better living and even family conditions than existed on a lot of reserves at that time … and emerged able to get better jobs and even pursue higher education” then reconciliation is impossible as there is no awareness of the past and no acknowledgement of harm done.

    Here is a different blogger’s take after Lynn Beyak’s comments about the good that came out of residential schools.

    TB spread more rapidly because they lived in crowded dormitories.

    Kids were buried at the school because it was too expensive to ship the body home.

    Whatever education they got in practical skills (sewing, carpentry, cooking etc) was when they were taken out of the classroom to do work that the school could not afford to have done by paid staff.

    As for Singh’s rhetoric: he is a politician doing what he thinks will get votes. It doesn’t bother me because I can see where he is coming from. Kids were taken from their homes (stolen) and kids died, often from neglect (killed). On the other hand, maybe he should tone it down because it results in inflammatory rhetoric that we are reading here with the use of “shakedown” and “cash grab” without any examples of how money has been or will be spent. (The survivors already got compensation.)

    If you go to the 94 calls for action, you can see what governments and other groups are asked to do. For example here are the six calls for action regarding unmarked graves.

    The Conservative Party of Canada has specifically included these six calls in their platform although O’Toole has already promised to include the other 88. Does anybody have a problem with these six?

  18. nonconfidencevote says:

    Unfortunately it appears the Liberal voters in the last election are fleeing droves to the NDP.

    The thought of another Liberal minority with Jaggy pulling the purse strings….makes me cringe.

    Get ready for a $0.50 Canuck buck.

    (Response: I have a recommended course of action for BC … in Monday’s Blog. h.o)

  19. Stu de Baker says:

    I wrote my first post based on the KIR banner which was about Singh. My comments were directed at him for making it a classless campaign photo-op.

    Now that the topic has veered off into First Nations bashing, I too will switch gears.

    What I am seeing here is a group of individuals who probably grew up in the 50s and 60s when the taught language, culture and rhetoric instilled it was good sport to denigrate “lazy drunken Indians.” Few seem capable of thinking back beyond those years, have not grown with the times and now just talk of and see cash grabs.

    Then the ultimate deflection; “there were good things which came from the schools.” Sort of like excusing a father who abused his two daughters, because his three sons did well.

    I suppose I can’t blame them though because the residential schools still existed as recently as the mid-80s when Vancouver, BC and Canada celebrated our progress as a nation, a civilized people and a world class city in 1986. Albeit most of the celebrations took place on stolen land.

    Now that indigenous peoples have become educated, have realized the injustices and are secure and comfortable enough to confront us, we don’t like it. They not in any position to take back all that was stolen from them, so it becomes a business. Demand and supply, if you will.

    And now it’s us white folk who whine and complain about Asians coming here, taking our land, destroying what we grew up with and making life for our children unaffordable.

    Irony, is the word which comes to mind.

    (Response: The fact that, as you say, “indigenous people have become educated” pays tribute to the fact that Canada has made great progress since the residential school system ENDED in 1975. They should never be forgotten, nor the negative aspects that went with them. But I … and I believe millions of other Canadians … find it a little “rich” that people are suddenly “finding” THOUSANDS of graves of apparently disappeared (???) children over a hundred year period that First Nations Chiefs, band councilors and, most of all, families didn’t raise hell about at that time or in the almost 50 years since the residential schools shut down??? People …old and young, of every race …DIED a hundred years ago: but there has been absolutely NO EVIDENCE unearthed that they were “killed”, not too many people at that time could afford granite grave markers and wooden crosses etc would long ago have disintegrated. So many Canadians believe what is going on now stinks … and is all part of a shakedown by First Nations bands and activists … taking advantage of the current politically-correct, left-leaning politicians holding office … too lose with the public purse strings. h.o)

  20. Stu de Baker says:

    I’m at that stage of my life where if I don’t write it when it hits me, it falls through the hole in my memory pocket.

    In my last post, I wanted to mention genocide and say that I believe the more fitting term is ethnic cleansing.

    Definition of genocide: To qualify as genocide, the actions must be done with intent to eliminate an entire group of people. Without provable intent, a group or individual can still be guilty of “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing” but not genocide.

    Definition of ethnic cleansing: the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity.

    What the colonialists did to the indigenous people was, by today’s definition, clearly ethnic cleansing; the forced expulsion and assimilation into our cultural, mores, ethics, laws and religious beliefs.

    (Response: I would agree “ethnic cleansing” would certainly be more reasonably arguable than “genocide”. But since the government(s) apparently thought …a hundred years ago … this was for the First Nations kids’ own good, to educate and make them good Christians, and not proven to be motivated by deliberately nasty intentions or hate and they didn’t try to forcibly move entire communities or have them abandon reserves and get absorbed into the general population in urban areas, I’d describe it more as attempts at “assimilation” through education and reprogramming than the more provocative “ethnic cleansing”. But still, in today’s context, it is not acceptable or defensible. h.o)

  21. Not Sure says:

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began in 2009 and the final report was written in 2015. They had six calls for action dealing with Missing Children and Burial Information. In other words as shocking as these discoveries have been it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they exist. I have read through the six calls for action. I have no problem supporting them. Of course money will have to be spent to accomplish the goals. In fact some money has already been allocated and that may be why these discoveries are happening now.

    Harvey I am unclear about your use of “cash grab.” Are you opposed to addressing the six calls for action or are you just worried that more money will somehow be spent beyond the scope of those specific calls.

    As for Singh, there is no call for a special prosecutor in those those six calls for action. Maybe evidence will turn up that will lead to that, but I don’t think we are there yet.

    Just address the six calls. Identifying graves, setting up a registry, memorializing, etc. This shouldn’t be controversial.

    (Response: I have no problem with those specifics you mention. However with my experience in covering all levels of government, it is very easy to see how/why I worry about a lot of it ending up being just a big shakedown. Whenever the feds announce millions or even billions for various programs and projects, especially those that are labour intensive, especially in remote communities, it’s very easy for huge amounts of that money to go to waste, for spending be improperly supervised, for jobs to be handed out to friends and relatives, at excessively high “wages” to be paid, not to mention any “overtime”, and for money to just somehow disappear. Ask Canada’s Auditor General! I would not be at all surprised to see, about 10 years after the millions and billions announced by Trudeau/Liberals in just the past few months for various Reserve works/projects/programs will be handed out/spent, the AG will issue a audit saying a lot of the funds were poorly administered, not fiscally properly recorded/controlled and as a result millions simply disappeared. And many of the problems the spending was meant to resolve on Reserves will still be with us!! While accountability will have been made even worse because Trudeau ended a requirement brought in by Harper that all band financial records be open to band members (and the general public). A terrible move! h.o)

  22. D. M. Johnston says:

    Well I have really caused a s**t-show on the Tyee. I posted a link to this blog on this subject and oh boy did the NDP acolytes get their collective knickers in a knot.

    More and more, I see reconciliation as a massive grift and Singh and the NDP fell for it., hook, line and sinker.

    There are two completely different issues at play.

    1) The residential schools and the abuse issue, which is more of a Catholic/Anglican/United Church issue than a government issue.
    2) Reconciliation, which now is more of a land/money grab by First Nations.

    I still believe an international investigation is needed, to clear the air for once and for all as the issue is now devolving into politcal void, where the truth ceases to exist.

    As for the latter, I think who ever is advising the First Nations have overplayed their hand and the public has grown weary of the issue and Singh is just exacerbating the issue.

    What is so sad is that the NDP now mistake good journalism from a true professional in the art, than the fawning unnews portrayed by the electronic media types.

    Quote: “That blog (Keeping it Real) is for old guys who think All in the Family is still relevant and everyone who didn’t watch Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk is uninformed.”

    Sad thing is, I was never a great fan of All in the Family at the time and even lesser of a fan today and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon is still one of the greatest events in mankind’s history, considering that most of the calculations made for this historic event was done on slide rule and the power of the computers used on that flight, had less power/memory, than a computer on a modern household fridge.

    I am very afraid that if that is the best the NDP acolytes can say, they are doomed.

    (Response: Well, KIR is old fashioned: I believe in a media that questions ALL sides of an issue and isn’t just a propaganda mouthpiece for any party or, worse, any government; I believe in a media that asks TOUGH questions of public officials and doesn’t just run press conference clips; I believe in a media that challenges claims, accusations and demands from activists, agitators and community group leaders and lobby organizations … especially when they use violence to demand legally approved public or private projects be stopped, or try to extort millions or billions in public funds from taxpayers’ pockets, without ever having been elected by those same taxpayers. Very old fashioned … but built a pretty good city, province and country, I’d say. h.o)

  23. Not Sure says:

    OK Harvey if politicians actually pay attention to your blog we need to leave them with something.

    To Stu, you said, whatever word we want to use to describe what happened at residential schools or how indigenous people were treated in general, “in today’s context, it is not acceptable or defensible”. I think we all agree.

    Then to me, you said you had no problem with the specifics (the six calls to action pertaining to Missing Children and Burial Information.) Can’t speak for anybody else, but at least you and I agree.

    But then you said “it is very easy to see how/why I worry about a lot of it ending up being just a big shakedown….Whenever the feds announce millions or even billions for various programs and projects, especially those that are labour intensive, especially in remote communities, it’s very easy for huge amounts of that money to go to waste”

    This, more than a Singh’s rhetoric and photo op, is the real issue and I am not going to question you on this. But here is the pickle we find ourselves.

    A. Do we do nothing to address a problem that we agree needs addressing until we are confident that the money will not be wasted. (And when it comes to government spending who knows when that will ever happen.)


    B. Do we spend the money to address the problem hoping that there is enough oversight to ensure little is wasted.

    If we go with A then I wonder if potholes would ever get fixed. So on this particular issue – Missing Children and Burial Information – I am definitely going with B.

    (Response: I won’t say who, but I know of cabinet ministers who follow me on Twitter (where I only post advisories of new blogs) … not to mention officials/media members, party strategist types as well … some of whom I recognize, but no doubt there are several I would not; readers will recall former Premier Glen Clark has written in to comment; I get Press Releases from some (not all) provincial/ federal parties/Ministries/campaigns (the SMART ones 🙂 and even invites to Press Conferences (I’m retired!); and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually have had to deal with a complaint from my Host server company that too many monitoring bots (I believe these are used by companies, strategists, parties, agencies etc to scan for mentions) are trying to access my “hobby” level Blog and they want me to upgrade my service to commercial level! Aaargh!! This Blog is pooh-poohed by some mainstream media bosses because I criticize the failings in our media these days harshly … but I often hear from real journalists/reporters and others who work there who urge me to continue speaking out and exposing how terrible, how embarrassingly politically correct and even how biased too many in the media have become. (Kudos who keep trying!!!) So I think we ARE on to something here … and KIR remains a GREAT way for me/readers/contributors to reach out to our politicians and make their views known. And enjoy the exchanges. Even those who somehow disagree with me! h.o)

  24. Not Sure says:

    This is a bit off topic, but …

    10 days ago when the election was called the 338 site had the Liberals as clear favourites. Going from memory the odds were something like

    26% Liberal majority
    63% Liberal minority
    11% Conservative minority

    Now the popular vote projection is a tie and odds have change to

    11% Liberal majority
    46% Liberal minority
    43% Conservative minority

    This site almost dead on last election.

    (Response: Watch for my next Blog …Monday! h.o)

  25. Stu de Baker says:

    I have a hunch Not Sure and I may be a little closer to this issue and more able to relate, having spent much of our lives on the coast with the indigenous people.

    Conversely, it pains me to still observe listen to the 1950s bigotry in some of the smaller coastal communities.

    Harvey, just for chuckles, with any luck your old pal Jo Hal will make you a regular contributor to his new NW open mouth show.

    Wouldn’t the sparks fly then?

    (Response: I’m retired! And just FYI, I sent Jas a Congratulatory note on his new gig … but never heard back. h.o)

  26. P.P says:

    Thank you for your article “Why REAL Reconciliation is NOT Happening”.

    The residential school system, and all history, should be understood in the social mores of the time. My mother was born in England in 1910. All her schooling was done at boarding school. From the age of 7 until she completed her schooling she was at the boarding school for the full school year and only home at Christmas and summer holidays. The Canadian residential school system sounds very similar. I believe that is because the English boarding school system provided the template for how schooling was done in those times. There may have been other motives or objectives – I can’t say. I wasn’t there. Nor were many of the people voicing their opinions now.

    Please – look through the viewpoint of the time in order to understand our history. Don’t rewrite it. It is ours and we live in one of the most prosperous societies on earth because of it.

    (Response: I totally agree with your statement “Look through the viewpoint of the time in order to understand our history.” There are many, many actions, programs, beliefs etc. in the history of many nations, religions, societies … yes, even the First Nations … that would be and should be condemned today. I believe the important measurement is how each has progressed and changed with time … and in that regard, Canada can be proud of how far we have come (not far enough yet for many, but a lot better than many other nations, as anyone who watches the nightly news can testify.) h.o)

  27. e.a.f. says:

    It is interesting a number of polls have found Canadians think Singh is the most likely of the party leaders. Now that doesn’t mean they’ll vote for him, but he’s still young. He has time.

    Ethnic cleansing is a good term for what was done to Indigenous children in the schools. Still am of the opinion it was genocide, but ethnic cleansing is also good.

    Health care may not have been great in the early days in this country, however, for Indigenous people is was way worse. By the 1950s in B.C. if your parents were working class and you had msa, you got decent medical care. One could not say the same for Indigenous children.

  28. Harry Lawson says:


    Your comments about Singhs popularity reminds me of back when Ed Broadbent was leader . I was told by many right man wrong party .

  29. e.a.f. says:

    Harry Lawson, we both must be old, I remember that very well.

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