Sunday, February 8, 2009

Self-sentencing Circle

Aboriginals in Canada are a people apart. Apart from the society they live in or, more rightly outside of. We as a nation have in our quest to be ever more progressive and inclusive embraced the native culture. We've allowed the existence of stone-age governance within our own borders, permitted the fabricated "tradition" and the folksy shamanism of the sentencing circle to replace justice and a judicial system developed and codified for thousands of years.

The result is that another circle has been created, lets call it the vicious self-sentincing circle.

The headline reads "The 'national disgrace of aboriginal housing", it lists a litany of what are (and should be) disgraceful conditions in a first world country. The presence of mould, a shortage of housing, poor designs, shoddy construction, overcrowding, fire deaths. The question being asked is why?

Then, if you read further into the article you see more problems...

"- Space and money shortages on most coastal reserves that prevent bands from building the homes they desperately need.

- Confusing funding formulas that deter many bands from applying for intersecting government grants, subsidies and loans.

- Problems collecting rent on reserves that force bands into financial ruin because they can't pay the mortgages.

- Poor maintenance and a lack of pride in homes."

Hear that sound? No it's not the rain, or snow, it's the dropping of contexts.

Space and money shortage - Oops, someone is being sneaky here. these are two completely unrelated issues. Let's look at the space issue first. Seems to imply that the places where these people live are overcrowded. Funny, I don't think I've ever seen a reserve where the residents were packed into the land like people are packed into a Calcutta slum. Come to think of it, I seem to remember a historical fact that while the walls of the city of Rome only measured 10 square kilometers there were a million people living within them, now that is crowded. For that matter Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are more crowded in terms of bdies per square kilometer. The reserves? Not so much.

Shortage of money - Ten billion, yes billion with a "B" is transferred from the federal government to Native Bands every year in Canada. The native population is estimated at 1.2 million. A little simple math will tell you that $8333 per year is spent on every native man woman and child in Canada. And that figure is not really representative of those on the reserve because I took the total population of aboriginal people in Canada and not just the ones on reserves. Money shortage? I don't think so.

Confusing funding formula's - Excuse me? Lets say for a microsecond I actually have no problem with the federal government stealing my hard earned money and giving it to other people, I still have to ask WTF? My taxes are complicated, I have to do those. Now since they are so complicated what do I do? I hire someone who's job it is to know how to do them, to figure out how I can comply with government red tape and "confusing funding formulas"

Don't apply because the process is too hard? Give me a freaking break! I can imagine the conversation now...

"I'm sorry Suzie, Jimmy, but the band thought that the funding formula was too confusing so, sorry, no clean water or safe housing for you. We're really sorry, but maybe if you die in a house fire or get TB you can still be a horrible statistic."

I'll come back to the money later...

Problems collecting rent - Poor maintenance and lack of pride - Wait a second, you mean to tell me that there is a problem collecting rent from people who in most cases are not allowed by custom to have any proprietary claim or connection to the homes they live in?

Are you saying that when housing is allotted by the arbitrary whim of some outmoded form of stone age governance that people do not feel compelled to honour their responsibilities?

You mean that giving people housing and paying them because of their ethnicity, out of some unfounded guilt hasn't fostered a work ethic or led to responsible citizenship even within their own communities?

Huh? Who would have thunk it?

Getting back to the money...

I just found an interesting statistic... "According to the 1996 Census, approximately 225 000 Indians live on reserves and other Indian settlements, while 60% of Indians live elsewhere." So lets say for the sake of argument that another 100,000 natives have been born or moved onto reserves in the last 12 years, (that is a gross overestimation and we both know it) that gives us a total of 325,000 natives living on reserves. Now, lets take that 10 billion dollars and see what we get.

Are you ready for this?

And the grand total of government spending on each and every aboriginal man woman and child is...

Thirty thousand, seven hundred and sixty nine dollars and twenty three cents.

I think I'm going to be ill.

Hold on, I'm going to break this down a little further. 365 Days in a year... minus 104 weekend days = 261

Minus two weeks holidays = 251

Minus stat holidays (call it another 10 days per year) = 241 days.

$30,769.23 divided by 241 = $127.67 a day or for an 8 hour work day = $15.95 an hour.

We are paying every native man woman and child living on a reserve $15.95 an hour just for being aboriginal. That looters, moochers, wastrels wage is $6.45 OVER Ontario's minimum wage.


But the whole question of how much we are paying is dropping the most important context of all, that we pay in the first place.

The truth of this situation is that my life, my work and my effort is mortgaged. To claim that I live in a capitalist society is a sham. My productive effort is not my own, I am a wage slave to people like these. My government views me as some sort of sacred calf, to be bled for the benefit of others.

The cause and effect (getting back to my long forgotten title) are circular.

When I work I make money that helps me live and have a good life. I get satisfaction out of a job well done and I feel good about myself and because I like that feeling I try to work harder, be better and earn more to feed my self-esteem.

Then the government steps in and takes my money telling me that it's for the "common good". This doesn't make me feel very good, and although I am not one, I understand some people actually don't work harder because they would just end up paying the government more... Already I'm seeing a problem, but I digress...

Then the government takes my money (and dealing with the subject at hand) and gives it to a specific race of people at a rate that makes those people ask the question "Why work?" and so many don't.

So without productive work they achieve little, the satisfaction of supporting themselves by the labour of their own minds and bodies is gone, and along with it their self- esteem.

Soon there is no incentive, and because these people are identifyable by race and a perverse form of national and self isolation from the rest of our society they resent the society that props them up.

But instead of attacking the root cause, (the unearned) they demand more money, illogically comming to the conclusion that it's not that the money has robbed them of their self worth but that they are worth far more, that the money they get now is not enough...

And so you have it... the vicious self-sentencing circle.


Eye Spy said...

I agree. To add fuel to the fire they pay little to no taxes to the hand that feeds, making the value they seize truly meaningless to them.

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