September 19, 2008

Official implies Natives aren't sober

Tories apologize for 'sober' remark to aboriginal protesterThe Conservatives have issued another apology, this time for comments caught on video Wednesday by an assistant to Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Mr. Cannon was campaigning in Maniwaki, Que., Wednesday when a group of protesters from the divided native community of Barriere Lake showed up to outline their demands.

Mr. Cannon listened to their speech and then left, but his constituency assistant continued an exchange with the lead protester, Norman Matchewan.

The exchange was caught on video and broadcast as the lead item Wednesday by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

“If you behave and you're sober and there's no problems and if you don't do a sit down and whatever, I don't care,” said Mr. Cannon's assistant Darlene Lannigan to Mr. Matchewan. She then added: “One of them showed up the other day and was drinking.”

“Are you calling me an alcoholic?” replied Mr. Matchewan.

“I'm not calling you an alcoholic. No. It was just to say that you're in a federal office. If you're coming in to negotiate, I expect, there's [decorum] that has to be respected,” said Ms. Lannigan.
How Natives reacted:

Tories sorry for comments to native protesterLiberal Party deputy leader Michael Ignatieff appeared on CTV's Mike Duffy Live on Thursday evening and said the comments made by the Conservative aide were troubling because of what they assumed about Matchewan.

"The issue here is what assumptions you start with. If you start with the assumption that when an aboriginal man come towards you in good faith and you think he's been drinking, you have a problem," Ignatieff said. "It's an insult to Aboriginals right across the country.
And:Matchewan spoke with CTV Newsnet on Thursday afternoon from Barriere Lake. The part-time police officer and schoolteacher said the apology issued by Cannon's office was "not good enough."

"I was offended...my community is offended (and) they are still upset," said Matchewan. "This goes to show how much they disrespect our communities.

"We were there in a peaceful, respectful manner to meet with Mr. Cannon (and) I do not know why she would say such things. That's hurtful, hurtful words for a community."

Matchewan released a statement to The Canadian Press on Thursday that condemned Lannigan's remarks, calling them "patronizing and racist" and "another example of the Conservative government's disrespect for our community."
More insensitive remarks:

Tories apologize for 'sober' remark to aboriginal protesterTwo Liberal candidates in Quebec resigned last week in relation to controversial remarks.

Simon Bédard is no longer the Liberal candidate in the riding of Quebec for comments the former radio-host made in French to the Le Soleil newspaper about his views during the 1990 Oka standoff.

“Everyone was scandalized because I said: ‘Send in the Army and let's clean this up once and for all!' But maybe we should have done that because 17 years later, it's still the same thing. If anything, it's worse,” said Mr. Bédard, according to Le Soleil.

The Liberal candidate in Beauharnois-Salaberry, Ricardo Lopez, also resigned after attention was drawn to remarks he made in 1988 when he was a Tory MP.

“I think all the Indians should be sent to Labrador, to go live together and have peace and leave us in peace,” Mr. Lopez was quoted as saying at the time.

The Green Party dropped its candidate in Newton-North Delta, John Shavluk, early in the campaign over internet postings that were deemed anti-Semitic.
Comment:  There sure are a lot of Canadians who seem to dislike Aboriginal people.

For more on the subject, see Canadians Ignorant About Aboriginals.

1 comment:

James Anthony McGuire said...

We do live in a world of racism but we are not always helping out ourselves. The idea that we are victims has to end, stupid little comments like this being the end of our world and a focus for our attention really has to end as well. We were warriors once with a complex warrior ethos and now all we seem to do is whine. Enough whining, let them say whatever they want.