EQUALITY?Tuesday, March 05, 2013 by: Joseph Corbiere
Can you think of an example where everyone is treated “equally” or completely the same?
In response, to some comments directed towards the Idle No More movement or any other time that Indigenous people engage in protests, I continually hear the following “Why do Indians get away with that? If I did it I would get arrested.”
I mean I have commented before that some things that have contributed to the development of the current state are treaties, over representation in the criminal justice system, racism, residential schools, the “60's scoop”, different world views etc etc.
However, I cannot think of one instance where everyone is treated the same. For example in Quebec there is a law that is called the “civil code” which replaces to some extent the common law that is utilized in the rest of Canada. I have been asking that question a lot lately:
“Can you think of an example where everyone is treated “equally” or completely the same?”
I can rationalize a fair amount of situations where people are not all treated the same. For example in sports there are different age categories, weight classes, skill levels. As well, sizes of communities are used as determining factors.
Sometimes in family situations, family members are treated differently. Age, maturity and gender are determining factors. The oldest, the youngest and the middle child sometimes get treated differently.
In employment, there is the glass ceiling based on gender, ethnicity, marital status and other non-employment related factors. Sometimes there are affirmative action programs designed to alleviate these types of problems.
Even in courts, there are other considerations rather then just “blind” justice being used. For sentencing aboriginal people’s background is taking into consideration. There was a recent report that just came out, about the under representation of Indigenous people on juries, by retired Supreme Court Judge Frank Iacobucci.
When I asked the question about “Equality” the best answer I heard so far was “in the morgue”. This may be the only time. Of course funerals can be subject to different treatment.
A young student from, Sault college explained that “Equality is something to be strived for!” This is probably the best answer.
Furthermore, if you take away all their resources from someone and then tell them “we are now going to treat you fairly”, would you believe them? Is it fair?
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Tom_Bom 3/4/2013 7:10:11 PM Report
I think we have to bear in mind that this is a government thing. My best friend is of aboriginal decent, and I am not. I don't see him as different than I in any way. All I see is my best friend who is there for me, as I am there for him.
We must remember that the government is the entity that is wronging us all. They're certainly not wronging us all equally however, as is quite evident with the treatment of the first nations people.
The problem is the government, and the more we argue amongst each other, the happier the government is because when we're divided as a nation, white or brown, we fall. However united we can all stand together and fight for the freedoms we all deserve, and right the wrongs of the past.
Unity amongst all people despite ethnicity is the answer, and i feel like a lot of people forget that. So, heres the reminder. :P
Great article by the way!
Nunavut 3/6/2013 12:19:04 PM Report
In most regions the living standard of Aboriginal peoples in Canada falls far short of those of non-Aboriginals, and they, along with other racial minorities, continue to encounter barriers in gaining equality.
But also without question, a number of positive initiatives have been taken, both by the government and by First Nations themselves in past two decades, to address the inequality of opportunity that faces Canada’s aboriginal populations.
So Joe now to see you suggesting equality is not always achievable to any sector of society, then one has to ask why the insertion of excuses. It seems to me that if for decades now, the goal has been equality, then that should apply to all sectors of society. One cannot as a group raise the flag of equality for decades, but when equality of another sector ( for eg justice applied re: innocent white Canadians using the highways (or businesses like Debeers using ice roads) then pull the flag down saying it does not always apply. Lets use the example of Quebec student protestors blocking downtown streets or last summers “occupy one percent protestors’ in Toronto or even the Toronto G8 protestors, …was police justice applied equally to those groups as compared to 3 native guys blocking an ice road for two weeks , or road blockades in Espanola or else where on 17 or native violence in Caledonia At the very least we need to get justice and law to be applied equally…because if we can’t do that then how can we Canadians be expected to appreciate that equality needs to apply for for funding education native or non native, or equality in water standards etc etc. So you may want to reconsider pulling down the flag of equality when you need excuses for law breaking, and instead uphold it always, so that it further reinforces the argument for equality goals in all aspects of life.
As for the claim that "taking of all resources" is the excuse to law break , well let the courts decide because the treaties clearly state most land was ceded and ceded land only accomodated continued hunting and fishing. But one way to get financial interest and income from resources on any unceded land that applies would be to show that law abiding band members will keep roads open so that resource opportunities can be win win relationship for all parties involved. Meanwhile the Atawapiskat blockades and Caledonia put that expectation back a decade or two now as examples of what to expect from bands.
Norm 3/12/2013 3:22:01 PM Report
Everyone is equal in the eyes of the Creator, or God, one in the same. That is really all that matters. Nunvat, you make a bit more sense than Joe in your response.