Alliance native policy sounds familiar
'We won't recognize aboriginal rights,' said Trudeau
Aboriginal rights became a burning issue again recently when a native leader
set the Canadian Alliance policy book on fire -- right in front of Stockwell
The platform's offending passage rejects "race-based quotas or special
set-asides" in fisheries or anything else. To aboriginals and progressive
souls everywhere, the Alliance attack on special status for natives
constitutes racism. Go figure. The strange thing is just three decades ago,
liberal opinion held exactly the opposite.
Back in 1969, Canada's Indian Affairs minister was a dark-haired 35-year-old
named Jean Chrétien. He released a white paper on Indian policy that year
that boldly called for the abolition of the Indian Affairs Department, the
Indian Act and different legal status for Indians.
This revolutionary initiative originated with Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau -- the national hero whose heirs apparently inhabit all parties
readying for next month's election except Alliance. The champion of the
"just society" told a Vancouver audience that Ottawa meant to change Indians
from "a race apart" into "Canadians of full status.
"We won't recognize aboriginal rights," Mr. Trudeau said flatly. Moreover,
"perhaps the treaties shouldn't go on forever. It's inconceivable, I think,
that in a given society one section of the society should have a treaty with
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