Thursday, June 12, 2008


Harper's apology to residential school survivors was welcome but ultimately what matters is deeds not words.

This is the same government that scrapped the Kelowna Accord, one of the best opportunities to start undoing some of the damage Harper apologized for yesterday. His government has offered nothing approaching the Accord's scope in its place.

This is the government that has refused to ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A far more concrete step than mere words and far more likely to mean significant change than a cosmetic apology.

This is a government, members of which frequently bloviate about individual human rights for natives - but primarily as a stalking horse to attack native collective rights and pass the buck for institutional neglect back to its victims. It was only last month that they gave up their ideology based efforts to undermine collective rights and accepted amendments to Bill C-21 that protected them.

Even now some Conservative MPs and members of the right wing press minimize the harm done by the residential school kidnap factories, express scorn for the apology and cavil about compensation. This may express the true views of the governing party more than a calculated PR exercise does.

If this undoubtedly historic apology is to be more than mere words it will require deeds to back it up.

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