NDP/Libs’ APARTHEID View of Canadian “Nation”

Who ever thought a federal election would generate a new discussion of “What exactly is the Canadian nation?”

I had thought was already settled: the Canadian “nation” being the sum of all its parts … a cohesive society made up of all its citizens … peoples originating from all around the world.

In Italy, Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Turkey, Hungary etc. …” nationalities”  were long more easily defined based on common genealogy, ethnicity, culture … but even that has been changing/expanded in each country as diversity has increased.

In the New World … where EVERYBODY’s descendants came from somewhere else …   “nations”  (Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Australia,  etc.) have been regarded in modern times as a compendia of all the people … from everywhere …  that is, ANYONE holding citizenship is part of the Canadian “nation”.

But apparently Mulcair and Trudeau do NOT see Canada this way.

Both of them, during the course of the campaign, have expressed the view that Canada is composed of TWO nations: those of us from all around the world, as outlined as above … and aboriginals.

Because both have said, if elected, they will establish a new relationship and regard any negotiations between the government and aboriginals as being on the basis of “NATION TO NATION”


Amazing that NO MEDIA have questioned that, because it raises very serious questions/issues regarding the NDP and Liberals’ view of Canada … and the place our First Nations occupy within it.

I have always seen aboriginal Canadians as a full, equal part of our  Canadian “nation”  … to be INCLUDED  within that great family encompassing ALL of us…. together as the Canadian “nation”.

Of course,  our founding peoples (aboriginals, the French, the British) enjoy special historical status that should be respected.

BUT … EVERYONE holding Canadian citizenship is an EQUAL part of the Canadian “nation” , deserving EQUAL rights, EQUAL status and EQUAL  respect from our politicians. Including Canada’s natives.

Not as a separated out group … holding citizenship and passport … but not to be regarded as REALLY a part of the Canadian nation.

That’s Apartheid.

And it disrespects the aboriginal community from coast to coast who are made up of more than a HUNDRED different bands, tribes,  and nations …yes that’s nations, with an “s”…. as in the Assembly of First Nations or the United Native Nations or the Coastal First Nations Alliance.

Negotiate “nation to nation”???  Note the clear SINGULAR reference  by Mulcair and Trudeau for each side … trying to win votes by dividing Canadians instead of uniting us.   (And by the way, if Harper has also done that kind of pandering, please let me know, where and when ..because I’ve tried to find an instance.)

And how will these “nation to nation” discussions/negotiations actually take place?

I guess the federal government will represent the “Canadian nation” … you know, all the rest of of us from all over the world … but which “nation” will represent Canada’s aboriginals from coast to coast at the table?

The Mohawks from Kanhawake, Quebec?  Bet the Iroquois won’t like that! Nor will the Haida, the Tsimshian or the Assiniboine.

The pledges by Mulcair and Trudeau to view and negotiate with Canada’s hundreds of aboriginal bands, tribes, nations as “nation” to “nation” is either pandering at its worst or a warning to taxpayers they do intend to literally negotiate everything with each and every aboriginal “nation” separately.

Well, I guess that’s one way of creating jobs!   Think of all the lawyers who will become millionaires if an NDP or Liberal government tried to keep THAT election promise.

As for me, I will continue to treat Canada’s aboriginal citizens as an integral part of the Canadian nation …  yes, with grievances to be dealt with WITHIN our family …  but not as some segregated out and categorized outsiders, to be dealt with separately …  as was done under apartheid.

Harv Oberfeld

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27 Responses to NDP/Libs’ APARTHEID View of Canadian “Nation”

  1. nonconfidencevote says:

    Interesting that you noticed that.
    I was watching the news last night when Trudeau mentioned “negotiating with each aboriginal nation”….
    I was scratching my head thinking to myself,
    “Are we really going back down that road again?”

    Trudeau and Mulcair better be careful what they wish for because once you start pandering to the “nationalists” a la Quebec. It will never end.
    Nothing like negotiating with 100 “nations” one at a time to cause confusion, anger, envy, jealousy, roadblocks, etc.
    Greed isnt necessesarily a white mans’ exclusive vice.

    (Response: 100 nations? I believe there could be 500 separate nations or more. So even the idea of negotiating “nation to nation” is a farce …unless this is a massive employment creation program for lawyers and bureaucrats. And it does contain a very definite contention that our natives are not part of the Canadian nation. That’s racist and apartheid thinking. h.o)

  2. skidder says:

    It isn’t amazing that the media isn’t questioning this “nation to nation” stuff. As a whole the media is a campaign for anybody but Harper. I picked up on those comments when they were made and chalked up Trudeau’s to his sharing soup with the now out of a job female native chief.(her name escapes me).

    (Response: It SHOULD be questioned. Can you imagine if Mulcair or Trudeau described Ukrainians or Italians or Chinese or Jews as separate “nations” living in Canada … but not really parts of the Canadian nation! h.o)

  3. BMCQ says:

    Great Subject and Analysis here H.O.!!

    More and More for every one that Reads and Posts here to consider over the Ten remaining weeks or so of the Campaign.

    It seems the more Trudeau and Mulcair OPINE on almost any subject the more confusing, complicated and convoluted their Policy Platform becomes!!!

    The more MINUTIAE the NDP and Liberal Platforms the “Great Unwashed” is forced to navigate through the more People will question not only their Policies but their motives!!

    NonCon – 1

    Harvey – 1 – Response

    Great Post by NonCon and Response by H.O.!

    Very Very Insightful!

    Very Very Important!!

    Nothing any one could add really. I hope Voters from ALL Parties are listening and reading what you both said here!

    Thank You!!

  4. DBW says:

    Semantics aside (nation and country are not exactly synonymous), we definitely have to do something about the living conditions, education and future of our First Nations people and the role they will play in our country. It is an extremely important topic.

    And I am not sure why you using apartheid as if it were something new in regards to our First Nations. Forced on to reserves, residential schools, the last significant group in Canada to gain the right to vote. Apartheid has been part of our history and many continue to feel it still applies .

    (Response: No doubt our First Nations have had a difficult past and have legitimate grievances that are/can be pursued through negotiations and the Courts … just as any other groups of Canadians have done. But I find it strange … and unacceptable …that the leaders of two parties running in a 2015 election still seek to continue that separation and segregation by seeing them as non-Canadians instead of practicing inclusion. h.o)

  5. harry lawson says:


    apartheid is a strong word. for many it will raise emotions, however you are right.

    Canada has been living with constructive apartheid for years.

    do we really need to open talks with all of the native bands ( nations) or do we honor existing treaties and ensure that funding is being used appropriately for all .

    one could say the way Quebec and other regions of Canada are treated has been apartheid like.

    yes harvey apartheid is strong word and in the context of the confederation called Canada it is accurate .

    this is one of your best post .

    just think 63 days to go until the electon

    (Response: You are correct in noting there are “native bands …nations” in the plural. There are very, very many. Yet in their speeches, both Mulcair and Trudeau promised to negotiate “nation to nation” as if there is Canada (that’s all of the rest of us) on one side and the native nation on the other. This is not only historically and factually wrong, it’s simply wrong to segregate out First Nations …. many of whom have family members who fought/served proudly and nobly as part of the Canadian forces in several conflicts …. and say THEY are not really part of “the Canadian nation”. Not even to win votes from militants. h.o)

  6. dongar says:

    Did not both the liberals and NDP oppose conservatives bringing in the legislature to force disclosure? Have not both the libs and NDP said they would repeal it? http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Semiahmoo+First+Nation+members+shock+over+officials+high/11291548/story.html

    And was it not the conservatives that enacted the same rights for children of aboriginal women married to non aboriginal as had always been the case of a male aboriginal married to a non aboriginal? I know a number of people who now have status rights because of this and are appalled at what has been allowed to happen like the above article. But can now have a say.

  7. Laura says:

    Harvey, this statement,

    “The Mohawks from Kanhawake, Quebec? Bet the Iroquois won’t like that! ”

    Historically the Mohawks have always been one of the Iroquois “nations”. They are a subset if you will of the Iroquois. In other words, all Mohawks are Iroquois but not all Iroquois are Mohawks.

  8. morry says:

    One Nation indivisible. period.

  9. larry Bennett says:

    Might I just note that the shambles recently reported about the Semiahmoo band (White Rock near the border) is evident because of laws forcing the reporting of finances and wages paid various chiefs throughout Canada – that were put in place by the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper. What the Liberals and NDP are proposing is shameful, and to the advantage of nobody, especially the Natives.

  10. Scotty on Denman says:

    Two things: ordinarily victims’ compensation is not paid equally to the culprit. First Nation haven’t been treated as equals since Europods tipped the population balance—and they’re still owed for systemic racism from way back, and for now.

    Second, First Nations without treaty share sovereignty with the Crown. The Royal Proclamation 1763 is the English Common Law standard established by King William I (the Conquerer) that all title in the realm is held from the Crown; treaties are thus required to conform with the law of real property, whether here, the United States (which substituted the sovereign but not the standard), Australia, Jamaica, et cetera. In other words, all competing sovereign claims must be extinguished for all land title to be held from the Crown. The idea that BC FNs’ sovereign claims were extinguished by confederation was quashed by the SCoC as it should have been—the Royal Proclamation is integral to the Constitution (BNA 1867) to which BC is signatory, and so remains in the 1982 Constitution Act—government racist such as Joseph Trutch simply broke the law and effected a genocidal policy that was more actual than cultural. Further, Aboriginal Title has been found to exist (William 2015), recognizing FN sovereign claim interim to treaties. In this way many FNs from Newfoundland, through Quebec and on to BC are in legal fact “nations” until treaties are made—that is, until the Royal Proclamation is made good and damages paid for withholding it all this while.

    FNs have been unfairly, illegally treated. It is impossible for them to be equals until restitution is paid, and justice (treaties) is done. If we really were all equals, most of us would have been forced onto reserves, denied the right to vote or retain a lawyer, our kids taken away to be raped, beaten and murdered at residential schools, broken survivors shunned by white society. Now, imagine what you might feel like if you were then told “sorry” is good enough because “we’re all equal.” About as trite as it gets.

    (Response: Agreed the First Nations have legitimate grievances, and these should be settled in negotiations or Court. But that does not make them separate from the Canadian nation: they ARE an important part of who we are as a nation ..not a segregated group outside of it. Just imagine if Mulcair or Trudeau (or Chretien or Mulroney) had said Canada’s Japanese citizens …even those born here … had legitimate grievances for loss of their land/property … and those should be negotiated “nation to nation”, suggesting Japanese descendants are not really part of the “Canadian” nation. h.o)

  11. larry Bennett says:

    Scotty – the usual blather – the kindest thing that can be done for Canadian Natives is to get rid of the “Res” system, and encourage them to get out and connect with the rest of Canadians. Almost everyone I know is willing to give a hand-up to Natives, if they are willing and ready to join the rest of society. I could go on and complain endlessly about how my forbears were treated by the Brits, from Cromwell to the present day – famines, mistreatment of Catholics, from Roger Casement through to Erskine Childers and beyond, ad nauseum, but life goes on.

  12. SLICE ‘N’ DICE…

    Somewhere in this intellectual whine and kvetching by the NDP and Liberal leaders, about the future of the Aboriginals in Canada, lies a conflict of interest.

    But what might that conflict be and why?

    I think it is combination of pressure by the so-called non-native “indian industry”, a powerful multi-layered lobby group, and some wealthy tribal rich folks ruling various reserves.

    So, the NDP and Liberals are on the prowl for more votes.

    And, if so, then damn them to Hell anyway.

    You’re right as rain about the Apartheid example.

    Dividing and conquering this country’s various groups that make us what we are today, is pandering and racist.

    This will lose the opposition parties votes, that’s for sure.

    Larry Bennett is also right that you can go only so far back in history to say to yourself.

    In other words, “I have to stop blaming others for my lot and accept myself as I am and move forward. Otherwise I will remain in a cultural/economic wasteland and lose my humanity in the result.”

    (Response: I fully understand why politicians pander to various ethnic and racial groups …attending all kinds of Festivals and even religious celebrations: I get that. But it is absolutely unacceptable for those same politicians …in the search fofr votes ..to pander to the worst amongst us: separatists who would destroy this country if they could; and militant First Nations who want nothing to do with being Canadian …except to cash the cheques we give them … quite apparently from the news lately .. some BIG cheques for doing little or nothing! No way should anyone wanting to be Prime Minister of this country encourage that by treating them like they are not part of the Canadian nation. h.o)

  13. Laura says:

    Excellent post Scotty on Denman.

  14. Jay Jones says:

    Mountain, meet molehill.

    Many aboriginal groups that used to go by ‘band’ now go by ‘nation’ is all.

  15. Art Smith says:

    Harvie, I know you hate Harper, but Trudeau and Mulcair are beyond contempt. They are both pandering to FN and separatists in Quebec, anything to get a vote. But it is not the ordinary members of the various bands they are going to help by rescinding the disclosure law, only those who are ripping off their own people, whom they know, will see to it the band members vote in the “right ” way.
    As far as the NDP go, it seems that many of their candidates are anti-development of any sort and mostly anti-Canadian in that they are seem to think any resource based industry in Canada is evil, but they don’t seem to be all that concerned about us importing oil or other commodities from foreign sources and the Liberals aren’t much better.

    (Response: I certainly don’t “hate” Harper, but I have said openly I think, under majority government, he has acted like a dictator and I also disagree with many of his actions/policies … so much so I will not vote for him this time around. That’s not hate ..just standing up for/against things that matter to me. But I also have problems with the NDP and Libs …and that’s what I’m trying to figure out right now …which would be BEST for the country …and yes, for me. h.o)

  16. nonconfidencevote says:

    Scotty on Denman

    Fine. Lets negotiate, “Nation” to Nation.
    And after all has been said and done, and all the 100’s of treaty’s have been signed and billions of taxpayers dollars handed out……
    What will happen 10 years later when the money has been squandered in bad investments, shady deals or (god forbid) embezelled by their own people( insert ruling tribal councils here that vehemently fight every audit Canadian officials want to perform )
    Are we off the hook?
    Do we let those “nations” starve? Do we let smugglers bring cigarettes, guns, or drugs across “their” borders to fund their “nations” of course not.
    That would be tantamount to surrendering Canada”s soveriegn borders.
    Because if we did…..the US would deal with the “problem.
    The Residential schools are gone, the church abuses have been exposed, negotiations in all Provinces are being conducted in good faith.
    Time marches on.
    Frankly I’m getting a tad tired of the “blame game being pointed at me because I’m white.
    I had nothing to do with their issues yet I pay and pay and pay through higher and higher taxes. Enough. Im sick of it.
    This is nothing more than an expensive “make work project” for legions of lawyers

    And in the end.
    Nothing is resolved. The natives will still want more money….and we will (of course) give it to them.

    (Response: It’s like any other “family”: people want total freedom to run and be responsible for their own lives … until they run out of money. And I believe it’s part of the responsibility of belonging to the Canadian nation …we take care of those in our nation who need help …and never classify ANYONE with citizenship as not really being part of the nation. h.o)

  17. DBW says:

    I am struggling with this Harvey.

    Apartheid is a very emotional word but you are applying it to the wrong people if you are suggesting that Mulcair and Trudeau and anybody else (like myself) who want to see some resolution to the problems afflicting our First Nations people are somehow guilty of apartheid.

    Scotty’s post clearly demonstrates that apartheid has been around for years in our treatment of our First Nations.

    Now I am not smart enough (like say Larry who simplistically would end the res system and encourage them to get out and connect with Canadians) to offer up a solution here. That’s what we expect from our politicians.

    But even you have said our First Nations people have grievances that need to be settled in negotiations or Court. But how is that going to be done. Person to person.

    Jay is right. You are making a mountain our of a molehill if you are worried about the use of the word nation.

    The only way to solve this problem is for the Canadian government to sit down with First Nations representatives in a respectful manner and find an acceptable solution.

    Far better than using top down solutions. Far better than using the courts.
    Far better than letting it continue to fester.

    It will not be easy. But it needs to be done.

    (Response: When anyone hears the word “apartheid”. they think immediately of former South Africa governing system, but the dictionary definition also states “any system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, caste, etc.”. What can fit that more than singling out aboriginals and saying “Canada” should deal with them “nation to nation” …clearly separating them out as NOT being part of the Canadian nation …like the rest of us h.o)

  18. DBW says:

    Nation (from Latin: natio, “people, tribe, kin, genus, class, flock”) is a social concept with no uncontroversial definition,[1] but which is most commonly used to designate larger groups or collectives of people with common characteristics attributed to them – including language, traditions, customs (mores), habits (habitus), and ethnicity.

    Which is different from a nation-state which implies borders.

    If you are worried about First Nations Not being a part of the Canadian nation – like the rest of us, then you are forgetting a large part of Canadian history.

    Non confidence is somewhat correct. I am white as well and I am not to blame for what happened in the past. But I am responsible for what happens now.

    Something needs to be done. And the least of the problems is worrying about the term nation.

  19. 13 says:

    Ive tried 4 times to comment on this topic. They all looked politicaly incorrect so suffice to say I would gladly vote for any party that promised to recognize all Canadians as dead equals.


    There is no “best” leader, H.O., in this election campaign.

    But there is the “most experienced.”

    The Prime Minister is like a sea captain who has been steering the Good Ship Canuck, through some pretty steep economic seas and horrific winds these past several years.

    Harper is no dictator, in part, because he has not used his Parliamentary majority to force every Tory policy issue through (in the form of legislation).

    He has made amendments to several contentious bills over the years, including the C-51 business.

    Speaking of which; what kind of legislation would YOU as government leader present to your country in these perilous times where various factions in the Islamic world are ripping each other asunder and sideswiping the rest of us on too many occasions in their collective madness?

    How would you tread the fine line amongst various special interests: civil rights, religious freedoms, local sensibilities, and so on?

    It takes wise people to do this. but how do you define the word “wise”?

    Mr. Harper is the senior elected member of the G-7 and G-20, regardless of what you may think.

    His economic plans were not the best, but at least OUR central bank did not print up gazillions of paper money like the Yanks, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and Brits.

    My God.

    We are in hock up to our eyeballs in this world.

    Canada cannot escape this tsunami of fluttering paper because we are locked into trade, currency and diplomatic relations with everyone else.

    As for the Duffy diversion: this is a media construct that has failed to catch the imagination of ordinary Canadians. The CBC coverage is amazingly unbalanced, of course.

    BTW, every office of every government leader in every country is noted for its intrigues, back-stabbing, protecting the boss, covering tracks and so on.

    I’m reading “We Two” a book about Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. The politics extant in the British Royal Family Household and Court, back in the 1830s-50s, were something else.

    So Mr. Duffy is getting his daily sunshine allotment in court, hoping maybe, to be the man who brought down Harper.

    But I think history will eventually give him its backhand regardless of his verdict.

    It’s the economy stupid, not office politics that drives this country.

    (Response: I think you’ve touched on what the Tories are hoping will pull the election out for them: that enough Canadians will feel that Harper…even with all his faults … represents the best leader for Canada in troubled economic times and world turmoil. That’s the plan …steady as we go. But he has acted as a dictator …running a total ONE MAN show, refusing to answer questions or hold press conferences ..and curbing even “public servants” from easily providing what should be readily available public information …paid for by the taxpayers. The question is whether Canadians will choose change …or decide the options are even worse. h.o.)

  21. BMCQ says:

    Lookout – 20

    Very well said!!

    I agree Harper is not perfect and yes they have some Warts but look at the Alternative.

    I know Harvey and most others will roll their Eyes when I said that but once again remember what Rafe Mair or whoever said.

    “When you are a Six in a Sea of Threes and Fours you look pretty good”!!

    The Law and Order Issues are a very “Huge” part of the Conservative Platform and many that normally would vote Libs or NDP will Vote for the Conservatives because of that.

    Neither one of the “Muldeau Twins” has yet figured that out.

    JT and Mulcair should listen to local NDP MLA Mike Farnworth who has at least figured that out!!

    “Change”, for what Harvey?

    I know you are upset over the Union thing but are you willing to let that “Curdle your Milk”?

    Not trying to be flippant but there things many including myself do not like about a the Cons but we must look at “The Greater Good”.

    Sorry if that sounds Preachy but…….

    Just think you have what ten more Weeks of this?!!

    Thanks again Lookout!

  22. Laura says:

    Island Lookout, Harper has steered the “good ship Canuck” onto the shoals of yet another recession.

    But then this is the same guy that thought the financial crisis wouldn’t touch Canada and followed the US lead and brought in longer term mortgages. Then realized what a bad idea that was when the US housing market imploded.

    Worst economic record since Conservative PM RB Bennett back in the Great Depression.

    The Canadian economy could have done better with almost any of the other 30 million possibilities at the helm. Certainly couldn’t have done worse.

  23. 13 says:

    Laura , Im not even going to question your assertions, re Harpers economic record. I know that you have factored global problems that have direct effect on Canadian economic policies and situations. So many factors to consider especialy when you claim that virtualy everyone would have done a better job.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  24. Laura says:

    13, yes I know Conservatives believe there were never any problems in the world prior to 2008 and that the worst thing to ever happen in history was the US housing market dropping in value.

  25. BMCQ says:

    nonCon – 16

    I am glad I went back and saw your Post!

    Excellent and Well Said!

    Most Canadians feel exactly like you and LookOut!

    Not every one of them have the Courage to put themselves on record though!

  26. Bob says:

    Have we learned nothing from watching the last 6 years in the United States?

    (Response: Apparently not very much. h.o)

  27. larry Bennett says:

    Nothing ever really changes with socialists –
    “For what avail the plough or sail,
    Or land, or life, if freedom fail?” (Emerson?)
    The irrational opponents of private gun ownership. They have a visceral aversion to guns. As George Jonas noted: “They recoil from seeing weapons – symbols of individual sovereignty, in the hands of private citizens. It interferes with their ideal of power that, in their view, ought to belong exclusively to the state.” Remember, Mulcair would put gun control in the hands of municipalities. Imagine Corrigan and Robertson – oh the power!

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