by Larry Powell
Prime Minister Harper's attendance at the funeral of Nelson Mandela has conjured up some fascinating scenarios for me.
While South Africa's repression of its black people will live on in infamy, Canada's treatment of our own indigenous people has hardly been exemplary, either.
So, if Mandela, who so famously led his people out of bondage, were Prime Minister of Canada, what would he do here?
Would he be;
Would he be;
- slashing grants to native organizations?
- refusing to hold a public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women?
- passing legislation (using closure) which leaves traditional native territories vulnerable to disruptive and polluting projects?
- rubber-stamping expansion of the tar sands which has, for years, been sickening the people of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation, downstream with rare cancers and other diseases?
- cheerleading massive pipeline projects that cross pristine wilderness and fragile marine ecosystems on the doorstep of First Nations settlements?
- allowing "fracking" projects on traditional native territories and elsewhere (you know, the kinds that poison groundwater, turn tap water into something flammable and even trigger earthquakes)?
- and allowing Members of Parliament like Rob Anders (see comment, below) to remain in his government?
If my questions sound rhetorical, it's because they are.