Musings —12.04.2011 01:00 AM—
Families, children, living in tents and plywood shacks. No running water, no electricity, buckets serving as toilets. Sickness, despair, disease. Mould coating the walls of homes, and winter setting in.
The 1,800 Cree who reside in the remote northern Ontario community are Canadians, but their reserve doesn’t look much like Canada. It looks like something out of medieval times, when life was brutish and short. It shames all of us, in every part of Canada, that children live in conditions like that.
Over the years, I have advised many native bands. I have worked in communities almost as bad as Attawapiskat found in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I have advised successive governments — Jean Chretien’s, Paul Martin’s and Stephen Harper’s — about dealing with problems which are quite similar to Attawapiskat.
As the father to an aboriginal daughter, I was so proud to do that work, but I cannot tell you that I ever succeeded in what I tried to do.
I was a failure.