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Residential schools have become a divisive topic

So what exactly is known about the residential school system in Canada?

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In a sociopolitical climate where emotion overshadows reason, an event – such as the recent discovery of 751 human remains near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan – provides fertile ground for the growth of division and politicization.

So what exactly is known about the residential school system in Canada?

Funded by the federal government in partnership with major churches, the Indian residential school system was a network of mandatory boarding schools for First Nations children, created to remove them from the influence of their culture.

“If you wish to educate the native children, you must separate them from the parents. If you leave them in the family they may know how to read and write but they still remain savages,” said Hector-Louis Langevin in a 1883 speech.

Langevin’s role in the establishment of residential schools has been debated in the past, with some arguing that his words were simply a regurgitation of the policy set forth by Prime Minister John A MacDonald. Regardless, Langevin’s words reflect the dominant narrative of those in power at the time. A narrative which led to the conception of residential schools.

While there are many first hand accounts from those who attended the schools, information surrounding the burial sites is where things get murky. So what exactly do we know about the unmarked graves found near residential schools in western Canada? The short answer is: very little.

About 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

No records have been released by the Vatican.

With such a lack of information regarding causes and dates of death, Occam’s Razor becomes difficult to follow.

The schools operated during periods of time when child death was far more common than it is today. Times such as the Spanish flu pandemic, for example, which killed 20 million people on the lower estimate, and 50 million on the higher, worldwide. This is a focal point for those who are, to put it lightly, angered by the attention given to the recent discoveries of burial sites. The perspective reflects one side of a common dichotomy.

Group A, upon seeing the words “residential school” and “unmarked graves” in the same sentence, explode into a tirade about “fake news” and “woke propaganda.”

Group B, on the other hand, belongs to those who removed “BLM” from their Instagram bios in exchange for “Land Back,” before proceeding to compare every former residential school to the likes of Auschwitz and the Solovki Gulag.

Politicians and media utilize the division between both of these groups for – you guessed it – political purposes, with the inhabitants of each side failing to recognize how their respective outrage plays into the hands of a more complex agenda.

“As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the decision that the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years,” Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters in early June, amid a display of public outrage following the discovery of 215 children’s remains near Kamloops.

Plenty of Canadian’s also remember when their Prime Minister, in response to reports of mass internment and forced sterilization of Uyghur’s in China, said, “When it comes to the application of the very specific word genocide, we simply need to ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before a determination like that is made.”

In February, 266 MP’s backed a motion to call out China for genocide. Trudeau, along with senior members of his cabinet chose not to be present at the vote.

Some view these inconsistencies as cherry picking for the purpose of political gain.

“Your comments are not only unhelpful but must be considered posturing for political purposes and yet another blatant attempt at ongoing dissimulation,” said retired Calgary bishop, Fred Henry in an open letter to Justin Trudeau.

“While acknowledging our own sorrow and guilt, and trying to own our sinfulness in the participation in residential schools, it is important to note the wording in our statement, especially the words, ‘participation in government policies.’

“Primary responsibility must be owned by the federal government.”

Henry’s criticism reflects the opinions of many Canadians, perhaps explaining why a percentage of the population has grown frustrated with the topic of residential schools in public discourse. It seems as if the thought of agreeing with someone they see as a dishonest shill is so awful, they would rather dismiss the subject altogether.

The Missing Children Project documents the deaths and burial places of children who died while attending the schools. To date, more than 4,100 children who died while attending a residential school have been officially identified. Cause of death is often uncertain. A system that forcefully removed the children from their homes is not.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: “Human nature is full of riddles and contradictions; its very complexity engenders art – and by art I mean the search for something more than simple linear formulations, flat solutions, oversimplified explanations.”

As ground-penetrating radar searches continue, the likelihood that more burial sites will be discovered is high. If so, emotion can be expected to well up, logic to wither, and politicians to smirk opportunistically at the chaos.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    July 1, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Interesting comment from an expert . . .

    “The annual federal report by Dr. Peter Brice, the Chief Medical Officer for Indian Affairs in 1906, outlined the extent of the Aboriginal health crisis. He noted: “the Indian population of Canada had a mortality rate of more than double that of the whole population”. In his 1909 report, Dr. Bryce stated that he had undertaken a detailed examination of 243 students at seven residential schools, and concluded that there was a marked presence of tuberculosis among all age groups. He reported, “there was not a child that showed a normal temperature”. Tuberculosis was not the only epidemic during these years, there were others, such as the devastating Spanish flu in 1918. There were no inoculations available to stem the deaths. Neither were anti-bacterial drugs such as penicillin and anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs available at that time. It is significant that by 1948, the death rate of indigenous children in the schools had substantially decreased. Prior to 1948, student illness or death was high and the subsequent lower death rate can be attributed to medical developments.”

    While these conditions are very poor, conditions were likely much poorer on Reservations in that era.
    Of course today’s slow thinking radicals likely don’t understand facts or history!

  2. Rick Johnson

    June 30, 2021 at 7:53 am

    The residential schools are just one example of the Marxist campaign of the state replacing parents. Student teachers are bombarded with stories of power struggles between parents and teachers. These young graduates enter the school halls expecting conflict with parents. Teacher education creates an “us vs them” mindset throughout the four year program.
    Many professors and teachers sound just like the architects of the residential schools. They are hypocrites condemning the attitudes they themselves hold.

  3. Mars Hill

    June 27, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks except what the family members and elder leaders of the dead think. We MUST ONLY listen to them, they and only they can give us direction and closure.

  4. Left Coast

    June 27, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Well thought out piece Reid . . . what ever happened to getting all the Facts and then attempt to draw conclusions based on reality. Justin is so in luv with the CCP he will never say a bad word . . .

    You are aware that BLM is a Radical Marxist group that has zero interest in black lives in places like Chicago, Baltimore and of other leftist run US cities where crime rates are going through the roof & 1000s are killed every year, BLM conspicuously absent.
    They are instead like their cousins Antifa the Storm Troopers for the Demokrat Party. The now defunct leader was only too happy to discuss her Alinsky Marxist Training in depth on video, it was on the BLM website. She looted over 22 Million from the BLM coffers and bought a few expensive Homes, one multi-million dollar mansion in LA.
    10s of millions of BLM donations gleaned from “Woke” Corporations found it’s way to the Demokrat Party coffers . . .

  5. CodexCoder

    June 26, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    They are a divisive topic because of the narrative, not the facts.

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Features

MAKICHUK: TOP SECRET – Meet the real-life James Bonds

“We haven’t had a female Bond in the films, but there are already lots in real life.”

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Like James Bond, they cross borders with fake identities and passports.

They operate in small isolated teams and have access to the full array of 007 gadgets designed by the spies’ Q section.

Its members are famed for not always looking like soldiers. Some speak different languages and can pass as foreign nationals.

The standing joke is that they could fit in at an embassy party or a whorehouse in Istanbul.

And just like Bond, they are all highly trained in firearms and hand-to-hand combat.

In fact, their training is considered “amazing even by SAS standards.”

But unlike the fictional 007 character, these assets don’t work for MI6, the famed British Secret Intelligence Service.

They are an elite section of the SAS, known as “The Increment.”

According to a report in the UK’s The Sun, the existence of the secret unit, “E Squadron,” was inadvertently confirmed this week when bungling Army top brass leaked the personal details of more than 70 Special Forces troops.

Buried deep in a spreadsheet of 1,200 soldiers’ names, trades and military units was a single reference to “22 SAS E SQN.”

It was the first written proof that the unit exists.

E Squadron is the fifth and newest limb of 22 SAS, the world’s most famous Special Forces regiment, whose motto is Who Dares Wins.

But its work is so secret that its troops are kept apart from the other four Sabre Squadrons, A, B, D and G, at their headquarters in Hereford, the Sun report said.

The squadron’s main task is to work with MI6 on top missions all over the globe.

SAS legend Andy McNab spent three years with the unit from 1991 to 1993, after his patrol in the first Gulf War which he wrote about in his book Bravo Two Zero.

He said the unit — which was hand-picked from the SAS — was “the closest to what James Bond does” of any British secret service.

But almost 30 years after he left, he said his work was still too secret to reveal, the Sun report said.

Another former member, who asked not to be named, said: “We were moving in and out of countries on different passports. Always in civvies, overseas all the time. It was busy.

“It was the James Bond stuff — use your imagination.”

The ex-member added: “You had to be able to blend in. People were picked for their ability to do undercover work.”

While some MI6 officers are firearms trained, it is never to the same level as their counterparts in E Squadron.

The former soldier said: “MI6 and MI5 are always distancing themselves from James Bond, saying they aren’t really like that. It’s true — spies aren’t like James Bond, they’re eggheads. Give them a gun, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

“E Squadron solves that problem but they do a lot more as well.”

The places where they often have to work, using civilian cover identities, make it impossible to be armed, so they are all trained in deadly hand-to-hand combat, the Sun report said.

SAS author Chris Ryan served with Andy McNab on the 1991 Bravo Two Zero mission, in which a SAS patrol was deployed into Iraq during the first Gulf War to destabilize Saddam Hussein’s war strategy.

Says Ryan: “To be in the Increment is to be the best of the best.”

According to SOFREP.com, The Increment are strictly black ops — deniable missions that would be disavowed by the British government if compromised.

These could include:

  • Secret military assistance to foreign powers
  • Clandestine insertion and extraction of intelligence agents
  • Covert reconnaissance/intelligence gathering

Today E Squadron’s members are drawn from the three Tier One Special Forces units — the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, the Sun report said.

The SBS provides specialist frogmen and mini-submersibles which can be used to insert teams undetected on foreign shores.

The SRR, whose soldiers specialize in plain-clothes surveillance operations around the world, provides a large number of women.

The unit was formed out of 14 Intelligence Company, which was known as the Det, and operated undercover in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.

A source said: “Women are often the best at this sort of work. If a group of blokes turns up, it always looks suspicious.

“We haven’t had a female Bond in the films, but there are already lots in real life.”

The Increment’s troops were among the first British soldiers in Afghanistan, ahead of the US invasion in 2001.

They were also involved in the 2011 uprising in Libya which toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Sun said.

A former E Squadron soldier said the unit was heavily involved in Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.

He said: “E Squadron are military people. They have rules of engagement.

“Is it a licence to kill? It is certainly not carte blanche. But the nature of soldiering means it’s sometimes necessary to take life. Everyone is trained in deadly force.”

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the military editor for the Asia Times.
makichukd@gmail.com

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Features

Why does this BC area have the rudest postal code in Canada?

The area of Canada that easily takes the title for most unfortunate postcode has to be a street in Delta East Central: V4G1N4 (VAGINA). 

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A U.K. online business — apparently with buckets of time on its hands — has researched and unveiled what it calls “Canada’s rudest” postal codes.

Research by Money.co.uk shows the most unusual and awkward postal codes (the wacky Brits called it a “postcode”) in Canada and the UK and looked at the potential it can have on house prices.

As every maple-syrup blooded Canuck knows, Canadian postal codes contain a six-digit string of numbers and letters to create the final outcome, if one ignores the hyphen that splits the codes 

Using numeronyms —words where a number is used to form an abbreviation — the Brits discovered some odd pairings.

For example, in Timmins, Ont. you’ll find the postcode P4N-1C5. Nothing too eye-popping there until you dissolve the hyphen and are left with P4N1C5 (PANICS).

M4X1M5  (MAXIM) is more associated with a mens’ mag, not a vibrant area of downtown Toronto.

In another example, one area of Winnipeg sports the R3L1C5 (RELICS) code. 

However, the area of Canada that easily takes the title for most unfortunate postcode has to be a street in Delta East Central: V4G1N4 (VAGINA). 

The Brit release noted with the average Canadian house price currently around $716,828, living in a postcode such as V4G1N4 may actually effect your house price. However, no proof of the claim was offered.

Here are the top 21 most unusual/amusing postcodes in Canada:
• B3G1N5 (begins) Eastern Passage, NS;

• B4N4N4 (banana) Kentville, NS;

• L1V1N6 (living) Pickering Southwest, ON:

• L3C3L5 (levels) Orilla, ON:

• L4G3R5 (lagers) Aurora, ON;

• M4G1C5 (magics) East York (Leaside), ON;

• M4L1C3 (malice) East Toronto (India Bazaar / The Beaches West), ON;

• M4R1N3 (marine) Central Toronto (North Toronto West), ON;

• P3N1L3 (penile) Greater Sudbury (Val Caron), ON;

• P4N1C5 (panics) Timmins Southeast, ON;

• R3J3C7 (reject) Winnipeg (St. James-Assiniboia SE), MB;

• R3L1C5 (relics) Winnipeg (River Heights East), MB;

• R3M0V3 (remove) Winnipeg (River Heights Central), MB;

• R3T1R3 (retire) Winnipeg (Fort Garry NE / University of Manitoba), MB;

• S3N1L3 (senile) Yorkton, SK;

• S7R0K3 (stroke) Saskatoon Northwest, SK;

• T1R1N6 (tiring) Brooks, AB;

• V1C4R5 (vicars) Cranbrook, BC;

• V1K1N6 (Viking) Merritt, BC;

• V1X3N5 (vixens) Kelowna East Central, BC;

V4G1N4 (vagina) Delta East Central, BC.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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Features

What you need to know about new Alberta government restrictions

“Once a medical mask exemption is presented by an employee from a medical professional, an employer is well advised to accept the exemption at face value without further inquiry.”

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Guest contribution from Jonathan Denis, former minister of justice and solicitor general of Alberta.

COVID-19 is a very divisive subject, and the laws and regulations around it can be confusing as they are both complex and often changing.  Our office (Guardian Law Group LLP) has been receiving increasing inquiries about the restrictions reintroduced by the Government of Alberta.

In response to rising daily infection rates – the so-called “fourth wave” – Premier Jason Kenney announced the new restrictions are as follows:

  1. Masks – Effective September 4, 2021, masks are mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces until further notice.  Schools are not required to impose forced-masking, but school boards will continue to set their own COVID-19 management policies.

There are further requirements and exceptions to the province-wide forced-masking regulations:

  1. Children under two-years of age are exempt;
  2. Individuals who have a medical exemption from masks are required to obtain a medical exemption letter from a doctor, nurse practitioner, or psychologist.  This medical exemption letter may be presented when in a public setting if requested by law enforcement, or in Court if a ticket is issued. A non-exhaustive list of medical conditions for which mask exemptions are granted include sensory processing disorders, developmental delay, cognitive impairment, mental illness, facial trauma, recent oral surgery, allergic distractions, or respiratory distress (I.e. asthma).
  3. Human rights legislation adds a further layer of complexity. Employers are not permitted to ask an applicant or an employee about current or past medical conditions. Therefore, once a medical mask exemption is presented by an employee from a medical professional, an employer is well advised to accept the exemption at face value without further inquiry.
  • Early “Last call” – Also on the same date, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, night clubs, and other licensed establishments are required to end alcohol service at 10 pm MST. 
  • Voluntary recommendations – 
  1. Gatherings for unvaccinated people: The province is recommending (but not yet requiring) that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to “close contacts” of only two cohort families to a maximum of 10 people.
    1. In-person work: The province is also recommending that plans for in-person return to work be paused and that employers revert to work-from-home where possible.  

There is no legal requirement for mandatory vaccination.  Vaccination info can be found at ahs.ca/vaccine.

The province is also providing incentives for a $1 million draw for those who have two shots which will close on September 23, 2021.  You can enter this draw at alberta.ca/lotterty.  There is also a lottery to win an outdoor adventure which can be entered at alberta.ca/outdoor-adventure-vaccine-lottery.aspx.  Lastly, the province is now offering a $100.00 payment to persons who receive a first or second dose between September 3 and October 14, 2021.

Disclaimer: This column is for information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  We recommend that you follow all laws and regulations.  If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities, please consult a private lawyer.

Jonathan Denis, Q.C. is a partner at Guardian Law Group LLP in Calgary.  He previously served as a two-term MLA and in five cabinet roles, most notably as Alberta’s 23rd Minister of Justice, Solicitor General, and Attorney General.  He has made the choice to be vaccinated twice.

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