Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hello my name is Patrick Brazeau....

and I'm a liar.

I was cruising through First Perspective when I came across a story by Sue Bailey; Liberals push for investigation into missing native women. The story reports on how the Conservative government is “deflecting calls for a public investigation into more than 500 cases of missing or murdered native women.”

Right above that is the story ”written” by the Conservative Senator, Brazeau; A systems-check on democracy in which Brazeau lies and says he’s going to tour communities with the Assembly of First Nations and speak with ” First Nations citizens living on Indian Act reserves.” Because of, as he writes ”... communities that continued to be governed by on outdated, colonial and paternal statute from the 19th century there is much to be done to ensure that governance structures are accountable, transparent and democratic.”...

Well here is the funny part. I went to the way back machine because I could have sworn that he just did this while at the Congress of Aboriginal People. And he did – in 2007 with a final report due in 2008. Which means he will have spent several hundred thousand dollars to travel (in hard times) to the same places, to ask the same people the same question again, one year later. I know he is shallow and stupid but really this is too much.

I think his time, money, and efforts would be better spent backing his pledge to Native Women's Association of Canada and the sisters in Spirit Campaign back in 2004 on Parliament Hill.

.....I found a speech he gave to the Sisters in Spirit Campaign from 2004. That, I posted here for all to read.

Speaking Notes for NWAC Launch: Sisters in Spirit
Patrick Brazeau, Vice-Chief
March 22, 2004 - Parliament Hill
Ottawa, Ontario

Kwey, Bonjour and Hello,

My name is Patrick Brazeau and I am the Vice-Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which is a National Organization that advocates for the rights and interests of off-reserve Aboriginal people throughout Canada.

I would like to recognize my people, the Algonquin and the territory on which we stand.

I would also like to acknowledge the Elders in attendance and offer condolences to the friends and family, who have been affected by the unfortunate issues that unite us here today.

Since the last 15 years or so, approximately 500 Aboriginal women have gone missing, of which, many have been murdered.

These incidents, which are growing by the day demands our immediate attention. A recent example stems from Winnipeg. A 16 year old female by the name of Sunshine Woods has gone missing since February 20, 2004.

It angers me that these types of incidents receives modest attention from the Canadian media and both Provincial and Federal Governments seem do very little in terms of investigations, prevention and support for the victims and their families.

We must not forget that the women we are speaking on behalf of here today are our mothers, our sisters and our daughters.

I am a proud husband and father to my three year-old daughter. My Native culture has taught me to respect women.

Traditionally, women played a central role in the family. They were responsible for domestic relationships and were viewed both as life-givers and caretakers of life.

Little has changed in my culture.

These women who have passed on or have gone missing were leaders, academics, some were addicts, some were prostitutes, but the end result is the same for all.

They were all victims of marginalization.

The on-going marginalization of Aboriginal women has made them one of the most vulnerable groups in Canadian society.

It necessary to acknowledge that these women were targeted victims by their attackers - not because of how these women lived, what they did or whom they knew.

These women were targeted because crimes against our Aboriginal mothers, sisters and daughters are trivialized -where individual blame is placed on the victim and the violence that these women experienced were dismissed as insignificant in mainstream society.

One might ask, why are Aboriginal women victims?

It is no great secret that dislocation into urban settings has contributed to high rates of unemployment, suicide, alcoholism, domestic violence and other social problems.

It has been very well documented that the residential school system has played a major role in the victimization of women. The development of parenting skills, important to Aboriginal women, was denied to them.

These effects have lasted for several generations. In addition to the physical and sexual abuse that Canadians are now hearing took place in those schools, emotional abuse was and is most prevalent and severe.

Discriminatory and unfair treatment to Aboriginal women throughout Canadian history has made them vulnerable targets.

How do we improve these situations?

The answer is not easily achievable because it seems that no one is listening.

The federal government has generally restricted its provision of services to Indians living on reserve. Once an Aboriginal person leaves the reserve, federal services are no longer available.
Once an Aboriginal person relocates to a city, they become under Provincial jurisdiction but the reality is that they end up falling in between the cracks because of the jurisdictional backlashing between the levels of government.

In order to properly address the issues and implement the needed social services that these women need, financial resources must be allocated directly into Aboriginal control in the urban, rural and remote areas, as the case may be. Without this actual transfer, the status quo will remain.

From an Aboriginal perspective and from personal experience, racial discrimination and misogyny (or hate for women) is unfortunately prevalent in this country and it must come to an end.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights visited Canada last Fall and his recent report notes, "the lack of any intellectual strategy is a serious handicap in Canada's undoubted efforts to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia".

He further calls on the Government of Canada to add credibility, trust and recognition to its political commitment to combat racism, while recognizing that such evils persist, despite the efforts accomplished.

It is time for us to work together. It is time for our Aboriginal women to get their fair justice. The time for action is long overdue.

On behalf of the National Chief, Dwight Dorey and I, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples supports the initiative of the Native Women's Association of Canada and we will contribute in any way we can for the betterment of Aboriginal women.

It is time for jurisdictional barriers to fall between the different organizations to work together for the common purpose.
Let us be more than just Sisters in Spirit, let us act in solidarity with our sisters in research, public education, outreach, and change.

Let 500 missing and murdered women be more than just a statistic used to catch media attention. Let our solidarity appreciate these women, as valued members of our communities who were lost but definitely not forgotten because in the end, their absence is a loss for all Canadians.

Meegwetch, Merci and Thank you!

Liberals push for investigation into missing native women PDF Print E-mail
The Canadian Press May 13

By Sue Bailey

OTTAWA The Conservative government is deflecting calls for a public investigation into more than 500 cases of missing or murdered native women.

Liberal MP Anita Neville says her party will push until the government acts.

She says there would be national outrage if hundreds of women from another cultural group were targeted the same way.

A recent report found that 520 native girls and women _ most under the age of 30 _ have been killed or have vanished since 1970.

Two-thirds of them _ 348 women _ were murdered, and almost one-quarter are still missing.

The government cites $5 million spent on the Sisters in Spirit research campaign, and says it's working on a second phase.

Neville says more action is needed.

``Their plight has been ignored long enough _ it's time,'' she said Wednesday in the House of Commons.

The Liberals say they'll write to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson asking for action that goes beyond research.

``It's time to go beyond the record-keeping and find out why the police are not responding,'' Neville said.

``Why are these women missing? Are they women who come from poverty? What are their life circumstances that have put them in this position?''

Media also have a role to play to ensure no missing-person case is swept aside, said Liberal MP and aboriginal affairs critic Todd Russell.

Beverley Jacobs, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, says native girls and women still don't get the same attention from police or the media when they vanish.

Time and again, families are told by officers that their daughter likely ran away or doesn't want to be found, she said.

Jacobs recently compared such brush-offs with the frenzy of police and media attention given similarly tragic but non-native cases.

``We're still dealing with racism, stereotypes, discrimination,'' Jacobs said.

The proportion of missing women has held steady at about 25 per cent in the last two years despite regular updates to the Sisters in Spirit database.

``This suggests a trend of ongoing disappearances: for every woman found alive and removed from the database (or found deceased and re-coded as a case of murder), the name of another missing woman or girl is added,'' Jacobs reported two weeks ago.

``This demonstrates the ongoing severity and urgency of the issue.''

About half the 520 cases occurred in the last nine years.

Researchers stress they can't accurately say whether there has been a surge over time because they don't have enough information on similar cases before 1970.

Details from earlier decades are often sketchy and record-keeping is spotty.

Most of the 520 cases are based in the West where aboriginal populations are highest: 137 in British Columbia, 85 in Alberta, 71 in Manitoba, 59 in Saskatchewan, 59 in Ontario and 17 in Quebec.

The rest are based in the Atlantic provinces and territories or are still being researched.


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