If you were travelling from Montreal to Ontario today by train, you either cancelled or grabbed a bus. Via Rail cancelled all trains to Ontario because of the Native Day of protest and fear of the kind of violence that occurred on the tracks near Kingston.
The natives are protesting chronic proverty on the reserves. No one doubts this depth of poverty despite millions of dollars being spent by governments to try to reduce it. But the question is will protests and rail stoppages do anything to alleviate this poverty. Scarcely. Such public protests will merely turn off the Canadian taxpayer public.
However, it is ironic in the extreme that today in New York at the UN the Harper government is voting against a declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I wonder how many Canadians are aware that last year only Canada and Russia voted against the same declaration. This is shameful and so is the situation on most of Canada’s native reserves marked by poverty, suicides and alcoholism. Our native reserves are a scandal at home and a blot on our international reputation.
Perhaps the natives have no other recourse to bring this home than to engage in public protests.