Monday, June 22, 2009

Because It Can't Be Said Enough

Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon takes Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff to task over his characterisation of the Yellow Quill reservation story.

In Mr. Ignatieff's words:

"Imagining what we share is not easy. Imagining this land is never just to imagine it as it appears to you alone. It is to imagine it as an Inuit person might see it ... To imagine it as a citizen is to imagine it as a resident of Yellow Quill reservation in Saskatchewan would have had to imagine it, this Canada where two half-naked children died in a snow-covered field in the subarctic darkness because their father tried to take the sick little girls to his parents and never made it, and all you can hope is that death was as mercilessly quick as the cold can make it. What does a resident of Yellow Quill imagine, what do we, Canadians, imagine our country to be, the morning we learn that children have perished this way? It is surely more than just a tragic story of one family. It is a story about us."

What about us as a nation puts us squarely to blame for a drunkard's inability- correction- refusal to safeguard the welfare of his children?

Maybe we are to blame. We are to blame for allowing a two-tiered justice system instead of just one. We are to blame for the soft-serve racism that posits the idea that people of different races or religions are incapable of looking after themselves which means the "White Man" must (as he is obliged) do it. I thought such paternalism went out with the British Empire but I suppose I could be wrong. We are to blame for allowing a "victim/fingerpointing" culture to thrive like a fungus. We are to blame for the avoidance of accountability.

And we are to blame for allowing an American dilettante the opportunity to use a tragedy as some sort of platform.

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