Conservatives launch new Aboriginal Caucus
Reality dealt the notion of an anti-Aboriginal bias within the Conservative party a savage kick to the nads recently, as the party unveiled its Aboriginal Caucus.
The caucus is made up of four aboriginal MPs -- Rob Clarke, Rod Bruinooge, Leona Aglukkaq and Shelly Glover -- and Senators Gerry St Germain and Patrick Brazeau.
By contrast, the Liberal party has three aboriginal Senators and a single aboriginal MP. The NDP has a single aboriginal senator.
Yet with many people in Canada insisting that the Conservative party has an anti-aborginal bias -- as embodied by the comments and academic work of MP Pierre Poilevre and strategist Tom Flanagan -- the fact that the Conservative party has the largest aboriginal caucus out of any party in Canada. Yet that particular dilemma, as are so many in Canada, is purely political.
In reality, this matter seems to revolve almost entirely around a difference in opinion regarding to how aboriginal issues in Canada are best dealt with -- a difference in opinion cleaved by a massive ideological divide.
On one side of this ideological divide are entrenched political figures within aboriginal bands and organizations who relish the political clientelism that has been promoted by the Liberal party and NDP for decades. To these people -- and those who support them -- the very notion of transforming aboriginal politics is utterly offensive, even clientelism has proven to be an abject failure.
Thousands upon thousands of aboriginal people in Canada continue to live in poverty despite the billions of dollars spent trying to solve this problem.
When individuals such as Flanagan, Poilievre or Frances Widdowson dare speak out about this fact they are often accused of uttering "hurtful" remarks about aboriginal Canadians -- if not outright hate speech.
But the fact that the Conservative party has succeeded in not only admitting to Parliament, but in actually electing more aboriginal parliamentarians than their allegedly more "sympathetic" political counterparts should give pause to many Canadians when they stop to ponder which party is truly looking for answers to the problems that have plagued Canada's aboriginals for so many decades.
It certainly isn't the political parties who have benefited politically by pandering to organizations who sputter with outrage if the Prime Minister meets with the "wrong" aboriginal groups that don't support the old system of poverty-perpetuating clientelism.
That the Conservative party has the largest caucus of aboriginal representatives should give these people pause as well. It probably won't, but it should.