Open Discussion Needed On The TRC

by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 27, 2018

A few weeks ago Rod Clifton was invited to speak at a CBC Town Hall Meeting about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on Canadian Indian Residential Schools (TRC). CBC producer Donna Carreiro then sought “frank and insightful conversation” on the difficulties Canada is having in reconciling Indigenous and non-Indigenous people’s understanding of the history of Indian Residential Schools.

Most people have heard of the TRC, few have read the 3,500 page, 6 volume Report. CBC was probably interested in Clifton because he is a well-known commentator on Indian Residential Schools. He actually read the Report and is editing a book on it.

Clifton, a retired U of M education professor, long ago worked as the Senior Boy’s Supervisor in Stringer Hall, the Anglican Residential Hostel in Inuvik. He has since written and talked extensively about residential schools. Moreover, Professor Clifton’s wife was a student in Old Sun, the Anglican School on the Siksika (Blackfoot) First Nations in Southern Alberta for 10 years. Her parents attended the same school, each there for eight years.

Unfortunately, a week before CBC’s Town Hall was to be held, Clifton was disinvited from the program. He would have talked about serious matters that many Canadians do not know about or fully realize.

Specifically:

  • About 30 percent of the schools had Indigenous names given to them by the churches running them. The first residential school was the Mohawk Institute, established in 1832. Others were named Old Sun, Crowfoot, and Poundmaker, after respected Indigenous chiefs.
  • Only about 30 percent of Indigenous children over the schools’ 150-year period attended residential schools. The other 70 percent either never went to school or attended day schools, which were similar to public schools that other children attended.
  • Many of the Indigenous children in Southern Canada lived in residential schools for only 5 days a week, going home on weekends. Most students went home during summer holidays.
  • Average attendance was for only about 4.5 years, not 12 years.

Clifton’s concern is that the whole truth, including awkward facts, need to be discussed before true reconciliation can even hoped to be obtained. CBC’s Town Hall, no doubt influenced by CBC’s ever-more grating and corrosive obsession with victimology and identity politics, would have provided a good opportunity to broaden this complicated  discussion. Some of the most outrageous claims in the Report need to be examined carefully, not simply accepted as the ‘gospel-truth’ by polite Canadians who do not want to offend anyone, particularly Indigenous people, some emotionally distraught.

For example, an Indigenous person claimed she was flown to Inuvik (when Clifton was there) in the cargo bay of a small airplane. There was no attempt to verify this claim. The TRC commissioners did not ask other people on the same plane if the story was true, and they did not obtain records filed by the airline to see the passenger list and if cargo was on the plane. It would have been very easy to check facts, like these.

CBC surely has a responsibility to check claims before presenting them as “news.” Is reconciliation possible when false information is left to “float around”?  A more open discussion on residential schools is needed. Clifton could have helped.

Cut Off Legal Aid for Illegal Border Crossers

by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 20, 2018

With the weather getting warmer, now is the season of illegal immigrants crossing into Canada. While Justin Trudeau and his Immigration Minister, Ahmad Hussen, continue to hold out the welcome mat, the Head of Canada’s Customs and Immigration Union calls for additional resources to manage massive inflows into Canada.

What is supposed to be a 90 day adjudication of cases now stretches to two years and rising. Once a claim has been made, valid or not, applicants qualify for a work permit and free enhanced health care. Despite having no legal status in Canada, applicants are also entitled to free dental, free eye care, and free prescriptions.

The numbers have risen dramatically since the federal Liberals “invited” them to arrive in Canada.  This occurred when Donald Trump began his crack down on illegals remaining in the USA.  To put the problem in perspective, there are up to 11 million illegals in the USA. Each can easily drive to a location near the border and walk into Canada claiming asylum. Many arriving now have criminal convictions in the USA, or have been charged awaiting trial. This is a real concern raised by the Union – but rebuffed by Liberal Politicians.

The USA approves only 18% of asylum seekers who apply within their country, whereas Canada approves 70% in the first go around. Those refused in Canada can then apply for appeals, humanitarian and compassionate stay, and pre-removal risk assessment (a determination of whether it is safe to return to their home country). Although there are no official statistics kept on the actual numbers who are allowed to stay in Canada, by any account it is at least 85%. That means the chance of being allowed to stay in Canada is 400% higher than it is in the USA.

Adding to this problem is that two provinces, Manitoba and Quebec, fully fund the legal aid provided to the illegal crossers’ asylum applications. The impact on the provinces is enormous, in terms of housing requirements, education for the children, language courses, health care, etc. For the magnitude of this problem, consider the number of claimants for the last five years:

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
10,375 13,455 16,120 23,930 50,405

Despite numbers increasing by 500% in 5 years, the Trudeau Government does not see this as a crisis. It might not be so for them, but it is for our courts, our schools, our social service providers, etc.

It is not unthinkable that annual asylum claims will reach over 100,000 per year. While the federal Liberals continue to say that this is not a crisis, the Conservatives have yet to come up with any solutions either.  With the recent announcement by Donald Trump that the USA is suspending its “Catch and Release” program, fear among illegal workers in the USA has escalated dramatically.

Canada cannot and should not be the recipient of hundreds of thousands of mostly illegal economic migrants. It is vital for our politicians to discuss this problem candidly and openly, something that is yet to happen.

In Manitoba’s case, the so-called “fiscally conservative” Pallister Government should at least yank free legal aid for illegal border crossers and engage with the Trudeau government on the growing crisis.

Pipeline Crisis Could Spark Separation Talk

by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 13, 2018

Steve Kean, CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada, announced earlier this week that if the company wasn’t confident that its pipeline expansion would be able to proceed to completion by the end of this May, the company would walk away from the $1.1 billion it has already spent on the estimated $7.4 billion project. Kinder Morgan and its shareholders and investors are wary about proceeding because of the actions and inactions of Canada’s governments.

There is a war of words going between Canada’s two provincial NDP governments over the pipeline. If the project is blocked, it will reignite serious talk of separation from Canada by Alberta. Blocking a pipeline that has federal approvals would further damage Canada’s reputation as a reliable place to invest. So far, other than ‘talking’, while feebly supporting Alberta’s fight to get its oil to higher paying international markets, the Trudeau government embarrasses itself in front of the world and all reasonable-minded Canadians.

Canada is fortunate to have a huge storehouse of natural resources (oil, natural gas, forestry and minerals). They have made Canada and Canadians wealthy. We sell our abundant resources mostly and most conveniently to our neighbour. The downside is that our oil and gas are dependent on the American market. Due to a lack of pipeline capacity, our exported oil is discounted drastically compared to the world price, so much so that Canada loses over $15 billion annually.

Which is why we desperately need to expand the Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver and start getting a better price for our oil.

The combatants in the ‘ring’ are two green-tinged socialist governments; the major bystander is a similar green-obsessed Liberal government, ironically led by the son of Pierre Trudeau. (Trudeau senior’s foolhardy and disastrous National Energy Plan single-handily fueled western alienation and separation talk.) Both the B.C. government, under Horgan, and the Alberta government, under Notley, consider the outcome of the battle critical to their political futures.

By opposing a federally-approved pipeline expansion, B.C.’s NDP government has sold its soul and its integrity to a few Green Party MLAs – even while hypocritically promoting a liquid natural gas project. By bowing down to the Green Party, the B.C. government is ruining its relationship with Alberta, a long time ally in past conflicts involving the federal government. As for Alberta’s NDP government, Notley knows that if she cannot get the pipeline built, after embracing Ottawa’s politically toxic climate change carbon tax project, she and her government will be ‘toast’ after Alberta’s upcoming provincial election.

As for Trudeau’s Liberal government, it is in a quandary of its own doing. It obsesses over its green agenda and reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous, fueling opposition to pipelines while forgetting that a strong economy is important for all Canadians, Indigenous included. But let’s be practical.  Wasting over $15 billion in lost revenue because climate extremists are blocking desperately needed pipeline capacity is a double edged sword. How will an already deficit-wracked Trudeau government fund generous promises made to both its green and Indigenous special interest lobbies?

Kinder Morgan did the right thing when they acted to protect their shareholders, Trudeau’s government must clear the way for the pipeline to be built. Or be booted out in 2019.

 

Liberal Thought Police Playing with the Canada Summer Jobs Program

by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 6, 2018

For decades, governments have been giving out grants to help service organizations and religious charities provide summer jobs for students. Worthy organizations, not only ones sharing the Liberals’ politically-correct ideological bent, should receive funding to hire students to help keep Canada a kind and caring country. These service organizations and churches feed the poor, look after the sick, take care of children, operate summer camps, plant community gardens, distribute clothing to the homeless, and operate soup-kitchens.

But, the latest federal Liberal government, in yet another example of its continuing obsession with gender and feminist dogma, has changed the application rules. Now, to receive grants, charitable organizations must sign a declaration that they respect “Charter Values”. As interpreted by the Liberals, “Charter Values” include support for both abortion on demand and medical-assisted dying.

Of course, some religious bodies and other charitable organizations do not support these so-called ‘liberal’ policies. Where the game has changed is that the Trudeau Government is now injecting stark penalties on organizations who choose to not align their thinking with the Liberal’s thought police.

Now, not signing on to these ‘Charter’ policies means that many worthy organizations will not get grants to hire summer students.  Accordingly, many proposed and long planned projects will not be carried out this summer.  And, many of our youths, some looking forward to what would be their first paid job, will lose experience, knowledge, money, and an appreciation of fulfilling some worthy goals – all important in democratic politics.

Some organizations have told the government that because they refuse to lie about their beliefs, they will not even apply for the Summer Student Grants, as they regularly have done in past years.  Because of the way the Liberals have changed the application form, a number of good and beneficial services will not be done. And, so far, and on top of many agencies refusing to even apply for the grants this year, over 1,500 applications that were submitted have been rejected (twelve times the situation of last year at this point in this year’s program).

Why?

The Liberal’s policy of requiring applicants to sign off on their politically correct creeds in order to receive traditional grant funding represents the suppression of free speech, conscience, religious rights, and the right to associate with like-minded people. All of these abiding rights were specifically written into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to, specifically, protect minority beliefs.  And, until recently, federal Liberal governments believed that minorities have a right to participate in all social institutions.

Only nasty children work this hard to keep those who do not share their beliefs out of their play pen. Adults, and I am talking now about Liberal MPs, should realize that their values, while they may be theirs, are not universally shared by Canadians.

The government should immediately change the requirements  and realize that minorities holding values other than their’s should still have access to Summer Jobs Grants. We are now into April, it is still early enough for Justin Trudeau’s federal government to ‘liberalize’ its new requirements and, at least, revisit the refused applications and contact agencies that applied in past years but haven’t, yet, this year.