Canada

Caught in human traffic Lies!

Here is a story that I read last week entitled “Caught in human traffic”. Coincidentally, I also happened to read it the day before I was presenting my paper on human trafficking of Indigenous women/girls which argues that these new anti-human trafficking legislation(s) and/or policies are in effect an attempt to control Indigenous women’s bodies/sexuality, and in a much broader significance, Indigenous sovereignty. I am not alone in this argument as Laura Agustin describes this social phenomena in similar terms. Smith on Agustin writes,

She said that the words “human trafficking” started entering the lexicon in a serious way around 2003 and 2004. Now, she maintained that the language is shifting to emphasize slavery. She bluntly described this movement as a colonial initiative. (Smith, 2011)

I was not impressed with the above LFpress story and the significant claim being made by the alleged victim in this story. After speaking to multiple mutual friends who both know the victim in this story and the dancer who committed suicide (who is mentioned in this story), I decided to write this blog post. The article reads,

Most importantly she throws a lifeline to the women being trafficked on the circuit she once worked. But sometimes the rope misses. “The hardest part is losing them,” she said, referencing a girl who hung herself three months ago. “Her stage name was Alex, but I want to say her real name out loud – it’s Michelle – because she was a real person,” said Stacey. 

The suggestion that this victim knew Alex/Michelle well enough to know her reasons for suicide is a falsification of Alex/Michelle’s story to sensationalize the alleged victim’s own story to solidify the argument that human trafficking in London ON (or in Ontario in general). Most importantly, it is also a complete disregard for the families/friends of Alex/Michelle. I even commented on the article and another reader suggested that I was in denial that her suicide was connected to human trafficking. I can tell you right now that the suggestion that Alex/Michelle committed suicide because of human trafficking is a blatant lie. I can also tell you that the victim in the story did not know Alex/Michelle. In fact, she was not allowed in the club or anywhere near the club where Alex/Michelle worked (from a mutual friend who knows the victim and Alex/Michelle). So to suggest she tried to “save her” is another blatant lie. Also, the article has Alex/Michelle’s death date wrong because she died last August 2012 not three months ago. To put it plainly: another blatant lie, and she just doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to someone I lived with, was my neighbor, had a relationship with, knew her parents, was there for the birth of her child, and a magnitude of other life events.

This idea that anti-human traffickers make up statistics or stories or use the lives/deaths of people no longer around anymore always seem so distant to me. However, after reading this article, I knew that I had to do something; hence, I am writing this blog post.

I am not here to suggest that people who are exploited or victimized should not have their stories acknowledged; however, if claims are going to be made about certain populations then these claims need to be legitimate and not further exploited for financial gain which is what is happening here with this idea that human trafficking occurs in London ON. I wrote about the research that suggests that “1:5 in sex workers” are trafficked (you can read more HERE). There are huge amounts of government grants and research grants that are being poured into program planning and program implementation locally, nationally, and internationally. In fact, Agustin mentions that one does not even have to mention “trafficking” to receive funding. I guess that is why the research report that I cited in my previous blog post “Human Trafficking in London?!?!’ mentions “Aboriginal women” only briefly (I mean, there are loads of money pouring into organizations and institutions that seek to investigate the lives of this “vulnerable population.”). While describing the picture of two white-abled bodied men drawing attention to “vulnerable women,” Agustin writes,

They don’t mention trafficking too loudly, but that is now the keyword to access much funding for ‘women’s issues’. It wouldn’t matter that these two guys are unlikely to have met any trafficked victims or know what to do if they did.

Another issue that needs to be addressed with the anti-human traffickers’ crusade is the organizations involved. As state in the article, the alleged victim received help from the Salvation Army and is a member of the London Anti-Human Trafficking coalition (LAHTC). I had a class last year and it was entitled “Sociology of Deviance.” In this class I learned that the LAHTC argues that the strippers/exotic dancers who are being trafficked travel in groups along the Windsor Corridor which is also described in the LFPress article. The reason strippers/exotic dancers travel in groups to various clubs in Ontario is because it is safer! It can even be argued that it is suggested that non-sex work women should not travel alone or employ safe travel practices when traveling alone like changing rooms if a stranger over hears the hotel agent announcing the room in the lobby while presenting a room key to the female guest. So then why is there a difference in traveling advice/tips for sex workers? Must they absolutely travel alone in order not to be considered a trafficking vicim? Must they put the consideration of anti-human traffickers and their ideals of sex workers above their own income/employment by sticking to one club, absolutely?

Not only does the LAHTC propose outlandish ideas that suggest a sex worker is being trafficked, the training manuals that have been created also create problems for all those involved in this anti-human trafficking crusade. This short 6 minute video is a fine example of the problems associated with training for the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims:

Although not obvious, the training manual suggests that prostitution can be found at health clinics (???), and that God intended for sexual relations to only happen between man/woman (hello transphobia/homophobia), and the there needs to be a “restoration” of sexuality to this natural intention, and finally, what to expect from human trafficking victims: masturbation (!?!?!?), confused sexuality (!?!!??!), and STIs (!?!??!). So not only does it cause stigmatization among the victims, it assumes that the only way for a victim to be truly saved he/she must conform to societal gender/sex norms. It also suggests that all those in the sex industry have STIs. I always wondered where this idea came from and why the reader in the above LFpress article suggested that prostitution be legalized (not decriminalized which is what is really being asked of the courts with the Bedford et al. case before the SCC), and that all “prostitutes” should undergo mandatory STI testing–I guess this is where the idea originates from that all those involved even those who are considered human trafficking victims will have STIs which is also indicated in this US based website. Hello stigmatization!!!

In addition to the above paragraph, what is really alarming about this video is the role-playing suggestions for facilitators of groups and as the voice-over announces, “it is a perfect example of sexual exploitation” because the facilitator must call on a volunteer (actually a woman), then blindfold one and then gag the other, and having the gagged-other to call out for help. A big WHAT-THE-EFF! This training manual is the training manual of the same Christian/Faith based organization mentioned in the LFpress: the Salvation Army.

So hey people of London, while you read about these stories and these suggestions that human trafficking exists in Southern Ontario, please be critical of where you are reading the information, who is presenting the information because it is clear that the organizations involved will exploit the lives/deaths of others for their own agenda and own gain.

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Indigenous post-secondary students

INDIGENOUS STUDENTS IN POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS

In January of 2011, Bill C-3 Gender Equity in Indian Status Registration was enacted, which allows “grandchildren of women who lost Indian Status as a result of marrying non-Indian men” to apply for their status (Service Canada 2011). In 1985, a similar change happened to the same piece of legislation, the Indian Act, called Bill C-31, an Act to Amend the Indian Act (Native Women’s Association of Canada NWAC 2011). In an effort to reduce the gender discrimination within the Indian Act, section 12(1) of the Indian Act, which stated that an Indigenous woman who married a non-Indigenous man could no longer retain her status, was removed (NWAC 2011). Not so coincidentally, up until the year 1991, there was also an increase in Indigenous peoples with higher educational credentials. However, White and Beavon suggest that this increase in higher education credentials among this population group may not be because more Indigenous people are going to university; rather, the increase may be attributed to more Indigenous peoples declaring their status because of such legislative changes (2009:8). With the most recent changes to Bill C-3, an increase in Indigenous peoples with higher credentials in subsequent years may then also be attributed to the January 2011 legislative changes. These policy changes create an illusion of more Indigenous students in university, but the reality is that there is more people declaring their status after university.

These policy changes that create the illusion that more Indigenous students are benefitting from post-secondary are detrimental to Indigenous students who are currently in university. Hull notes that Aboriginal groups experience difficulties with regards to success and achievement throughout their educational careers, but notes most difficulty lies in completing secondary school and university (2004:157). Additionally, Clement highlights that the gap between Registered Indians, as defined by the Indian Act, and other Canadians with university degree completions nearly doubled from -6.5% in 1981 to -13.2% in 2006 (2009:96). This paper will address the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in terms of post-secondary completion rates by answering the following question: Why are Indigenous students less likely to complete a post-secondary education within the university stream? Within this paper, the term post-secondary refers to universities within Canada. However, there is limited research addressing university completion among this group, as much of the research that exists focuses on primary and secondary outcomes. Further, the term “Indigenous student” is used in a broad manner to include First Nations students, Inuit students, and Métis students. There are limits to using this term with inclusivity. For instance, much of the research obtained for the purposes of this paper addresses specific Indigenous groups. The reason for using the term “Indigenous” in its inclusivity is to highlight the fact that all Indigenous groups lag behind the non-Indigenous population in terms of post-secondary completion (White and Beavon 2009:6). To answer the question, a sociological perspective will be undertaken employing a Marxist theory to explain why Indigenous students lag in post-secondary completion, and using Kingsley Davis and Wilber E. Moore’s social stratification theory to help explain why, as a society, this issue needs to be addressed to move forward in a positive direction.

In the Marxist theory of social relations, there exist three interdependent concepts: alienation, exploitation, and false consciousness. A false consciousness is defined as “having an incorrect idea about the social world” (Zavitz-Gocan 2011). These ideas can be incorrect in one of two ways: either that the idea is so false that it does not represent reality or that the idea about the social world is accurate but deviates from behaviour (Zavitz-Gocan 2011). Universities create a false consciousness among students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, through alienation. This alienation is created through the commodification of knowledge. Blyth describes the university experience as “often overcrowded academic spaces…offering knowledge as a commodity for students who, made docile and passive, [are] expected to consume it” (2008:67). For Marx, a commodity is a source of alienation through commodity fetishism (Ritzer 2011:58). Commodity fetishism is the concept that commodities acquire an exchange value, and can be bought or sold (Ritzer 2011:58). According to Marx, commodities are defined as “products of labour intended primarily for exchange” (Ritzer 2011:57). The commodification of knowledge occurs when professors reproduce this knowledge in the lecture room in exchange for a salary and tenure. Upon graduation, students search for jobs that their undergraduate training and knowledge could be exchanged for an income. This commodification of knowledge contributes to further alienation of the Indigenous student from mainstream university education. Beverley describes university education as “divorced from the world in which [students] will have to work” (2000:132). Indigenous students may feel disconnected from the university experience, especially from the various theories, concepts, etc. that a professor may teach them, and from the content of the textbooks they are told to purchase because they do not correspond to their own realities both as an Indigenous person and as a student.

As stated earlier, a false consciousness is an incorrect idea about the social world, and this could be created by one of two ways. One of these ways is that the idea about the social world is an accurate one but deviates from behaviour, which may create a class in itself (Zavitz-Gocan 2011). A class in itself is a class without consciousness and is defined as “a group with similar interests [with] its potential for conflict” (Zavitz-Gocan 2011; Ritzer 2011:62). The potential for conflict is created by a university’s rigid and competitive degree requirements to enter into certain programs. Beverley describes the university environment as having a “‘me-first’ attitude” (2000:133). Even though a university may have a specific place for Indigenous students to gather, universities contribute to the problem though the ghettoization of First Nations studies. This is a problem because many Indigenous issues are presented in lectures, but these same issues are not adequately discussed in lower levels of education. For example, resources for teaching history that teach dominant colonial ideologies and that do not adequately portray Indigenous experiences may have been used in primary school classrooms (Iseke-Barnes 2005). As an Indigenous student in a predominantly non-Indigenous high-school history class, I was taught that residential schools were created to “educate” Aboriginal children. When I questioned the teacher’s lesson, I was immediately sent out of the classroom. In a similar fashion, university lectures are very limiting in their discussions. When professors bring up issues of poverty and substance abuse among Indigenous groups, professors may assume that students are prepared for university and many non-Indigenous students do not question why or how Indigenous groups face these realities. Either out of fear of saying the wrong thing or for simply having no interest in Indigenous issues, many students then accept this Indigenous identity as is it presented to them and do not question why or how this group faces these harsh realities (Beverley 2000). Thus, universities have not helped the problem; they simply divided the class of students and eliminated potential conflict by ghettoizing Indigenous-themed courses. Indigenous students may be attuned to the potential conflict that exists, and decide for themselves that education is of no use for them. Indigenous students may develop this attitude toward university education because course content may alienate them from their own experiences.

In addition to this false consciousness and alienation, exploitation occurs. Exploitation occurs when there exists a differential in power relations. Beverley further describes the undergraduate student experience as “a list of largely unwritten expectations” (2000:127). These expectations are ones that each student must abide by in order to be successful: be on time, always present, and learn what the professor presents (Beverley 2000:127). Not only must students learn what their professor decides to teach them by choosing their textbooks and choosing which topics to lecture on, both student groups must also abide by what the university dictates. For example, my program has a rigid module where many of my classes have not adequately discussed Indigenous issues in a historical, cultural, or social context, even though Indigenous issues are constantly the subject of lectures. Lee Maracle, an Indigenous scholar, describes this university experience as constant re-victimization for the Indigenous student (2012). Indigenous students may feel isolated from mainstream university education causing them to further question, both from the perspective of an Indigenous person and a student, what good is a university education.

By way of its own environment and through the commodification of knowledge, universities create a false consciousness among its students via alienation and exploitation. This alienation is created through the commodification of knowledge. Professors are hired for their knowledgeable background, and reproduce this knowledge in the lecture room in exchange for a salary and tenure. Upon graduation, students search for jobs so that their knowledge can be exchanged for an income. Alienation is intensified through the creation of a student class in itself through the inherent conflict of the university’s rigid and competitive degree requirements. As false consciousness is interdependent on alienation and exploitation, students are also exploited through the differential in power relations where the university and professor dictate what the students will learn. Indigenous students may be aware of the exploitation and the alienation by the constant re-victimization of their historical, cultural, and social experiences, thereby potentially causing some Indigenous students to question the purpose of a university education.

In an increasingly globalized society, the need for a university education has become more important now than ever. However, some may argue that university is not for everyone. So, why should we care that Indigenous students lag behind non-Indigenous students in completion rates? Iseke-Barnes states that continuing to ignore Indigenous issues is both damaging and demeaning to non-Indigenous and Indigenous student populations (2005:162). Davis and Moore’s social stratification theory highlights that there are two determinants to potential ranks: functional importance and scarcity of personnel (1944:243). Scarcity of personnel is affected by how talent to fill the position is acquired (Davis and Moore 1944:244). Talent can be acquired innately or through training, like university. In one study, researchers found that Indigenous students with higher credentials have relatively higher earnings in comparison to their non-Indigenous counterparts including other visible minorities (Walters, White and Maxim 2004:296). They suggested that even though Indigenous people with higher credentials are uncommon, there is a demand for them (Walters et al. 2004:296). Therefore, there is a clear need for Indigenous peoples with higher credentials.

Unfortunately, in addition to the inherent conflict within university environments as well as the additional alienation and exploitation as described above, Indigenous students may not see the benefit of acquiring these higher credentials that require long, costly training. Spence, White and Maxim argue that the economic status of a First Nation community may contribute to an Indigenous students’ educational outcome (2007:150). These contributing factors can be placed on a spectrum with no jobs existing at one end, many low-end jobs in the middle, and a mix of jobs (low, middle, high-end) existing at the opposite end. If there is a mixture of jobs, school becomes relevant for the Indigenous student, but if there are no jobs, the Indigenous student may fail to see the benefit of acquiring such credentials (Spence et al. 2007:150). With increased globalization and multicultural identities, Indigenous students may feel further displaced by the increased competition created by external factors that affect social solidarity or social stratification. Davis and Moore state that external factors that affect the stratified systems are increased cultural heritage and cultural diffusion (1944:249). However, in a highly globalized society, the need for technical training and knowledge is prioritized, and sacred or religious needs are withdrawn. Davis and Moore state that, “When the preoccupation with the sacred is withdrawn…a great development, and rise in status, of economic and technological position seemingly takes place” (1944:248). For Indigenous students, this may be interpreted as struggle with trying to prioritize their educational needs over their cultural needs, contributing to further displacement from university education.

This paper addressed the issue of the gap between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students’ completion rates, in part, by employing a Marxist theory to explain why this gap exists and also used the social stratification theory to explain why this gap needs to be addressed. In addition to this question, Iseke-Barnes presents the question of who benefits from this type of education where the dominant ideology is continuously expressed and the Indigenous identity is incessantly re-victimized (2005). From the perspective of a student, nobody benefits especially if students are taught to passively consume knowledge as fact and in exchange as a commodity. Focusing on themes of decolonizing and indigenizing texts and classroom structure may be celebratory and disparaging for Indigenous students, but also a difficult and emotional task (Beverley 2000; Blyth 2008). However, Indigenous knowledge may begin to be included in the discussion of sociological issues. For example, Indigenous elders can be included as speakers of Indigenous knowledge within the classroom when discussing Indigenous issues, and not just in Indigenous-themed courses. Professors may also begin to include positive images of the Indigenous identity. Presently, there exist many Indigenous scholars who have published many articles on various sociological issues. An attempt to actively include such articles may deconstruct the Indigenous identity as one that is constantly victimized. Universities do not have to sacrifice non-Indigenous student experiences in an attempt to provide a non-alienating, non-exploitative university experience for Indigenous students, and Indigenous students do not have to sacrifice their culture at the expense of their own education. In the end, both structural and institutional changes can be made beginning today. The issue is complex but does not need to be an “Indigenous issue” any longer.

Touch The Pen

A new historical statement I learned over the summer and have since read a few books that mentioned this statement several times:

Touch the pen.

What does this statement mean? Well, it basically signifies the act of signing of a treaty long ago. The treaties between the Canadian government and the First Nations chiefs.

I never knew this happened. I thought the signing of a single “X” was bad enough. Now I have recently learned that the chiefs didn’t even sign the “X” they just touched the top of the pen while the government official signed the “X” for the chief. Yeah, I didn’t think it could have gotten worse but this whole “touch the pen” bit makes this signing of the treaties a whole lot worse.

The chiefs were granted many things from the government officials but a lot of those things have been taken away or the chiefs and their people taken advantage of. It makes me very frustrated and angry that I only learned about these historical events now. Not during history class. Not in a history textbook.

It’s a shame that the true Canadian history is never told. That needs to change.

I am trying to find out more about Canada’s true history and reading as much as I can related to this history because certainly the education system can’t even get it right. Like I said before, I like learning but I hate education.

More about “Touch the pen” (Yes it is an American document but the same happened in Canada. It is a shame)

Canada: Culture, Religion, and Aboriginals

I write this post after hearing again this week that Aboriginals should just assimilate into society. Canadian society that is.

After thinking about this comment for some time, I am going to give the person the benefit of the doubt and say that she probably meant no harm in saying it. There is, however, harm in saying such a thing. Especially to an Aboriginal person. Why is that? Well it was the very same act *assimilation* that has put Aboriginals in the state that they are in today. Unhealthy: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I am then reminded of a comment my Irish friend made me to me one day. He said, “I am proud to be Canadian.” And I told him, “That I don’t think there is enough of that.” He asked what I meant and I said “proud Canadians.” I then gave the example to him that a lot of people that I know (besides him) don’t ever say: “I am a proud Canadian.” They usually say, “I am proud to be Italian…” or German or Korean or Mexican and so on. I told him in comparison to the states, Canada doesn’t really have it’s own “culture.” And it’s true about Canada, it is rather a mixture of cultures than rather a country that possesses it’s own culture.

Saying that to him I was reminded of some younger people’s lack of faith in religion. Perhaps today religion is not as strong as it once used to be. Especially in Canada. I think that religion creates a lot of difficulties especially in regards to creating divisions (and by religion I mean Christianity/Catholicism..the very 2 religions that attempted to assimilate Aboriginals into Canadian society). Even in past history, conflict and violence erupted because of people’s different views on the church and religion of the past. Sometimes people ask me what my religion is and I always answer “I don’t have a religion.” They usually look puzzled and stumped at the same time after hearing my answer. I then explain to them that my culture is not a religion and that it is my values, beliefs, and way of life. When I think of religion (mostly Christianity/Catholicism), I think of conflict, divisions, violence. I do not want to be associated to that. Most certainly I do not want someone thinking the same thing as me to associate those descriptive words with the thought or idea of practicing Aboriginal culture.

But what I am really trying to get at in writing this post and sharing these views and stories is that I believe Canada does not have it’s own culture and that it rather has a mixture of cultures. Also religion is not the same as Aboriginal culture. And that religion is not valued as much as it once was in Canada. But most importantly in regards to the comment relating to Aboriginals assimilating into Canadian society–just because Canada does not have it’s own distinct culture and that just because it does not think highly of the values of it’s own existing religions within… Aboriginals shouldn’t have to be one in the same—lacking culture and devaluing their beliefs.

Have you seen these ads lately?

Have you seen these ads lately… the ones for the drought crisis in Africa. I mean, that’s pretty serious.

But have you read that 118 First Nations, as of June 30, 2011, have boil water advisories. I mean that’s pretty serious too. Click HERE to read about the boil water advisories affecting Canadian First Nations.

These ads are in Canada being shown to Canadian viewers. I think it’s odd that the website mentioned in the ads state the following:

Millions of people mostly children are in urgent need of food, drinking water and basic sanitation.

Sounds kind of like Canada for those 118 First Nations communities. Except no advertisements on television.

East Africa Drought Crisis — To donate to the Humanitarian Coalition click the link.

Criminal Pardons

Remember those posts that I wrote about earlier on Criminal Pardons? No, that’s okay 😉 You can view those posts HERE.

There I wrote about the idea that the Canadian Government raise the pardon application fee from $150 to $631. Can’t forget about that one-dollar…god forbid we forget about that one-dollar

During some browsing on the web through another task that I had to complete, I came across this consultation report titled “Consultation Report – Proposed Increase to the Pardon Application User Fee”.

There it discussed this new fee and the reasons for and reasons against the new fee. I just decided to write this post to highlight the fact that the difference between those that support it and those that do not support is HUGE!

The report reads

In terms of a breakdown of the responses received, 1,074 individuals/organizations did not support the proposed fee increase while 12 were supportive of the proposed increase

That is

1,074 who did not support

compared to the

12 who did support

the proposed fee increase.

In the end, a total of 16 complaints were also received because of this. Let me guess, all the 12 that supported the proposed fee were 12 of the 16 complaints?! Maybe…maybe not.

Since then, and in May 2011, an Independent Advisory Panel had been created. Don’t want your tax dollars going to process pardon applications? Idea: Why not have them go towards an IAP to make further recommendations either for or against the proposed fee! And if they suggest that the fee not be raised… more of the 12 individuals/organizations tax dollars have gone to waste 😉

I feel bad for those 12. Definitely a minority in this group.

Note: I don’t actually fee bad but for sake of this post…

Something has happened in Alberta today (and it doesn’t have anything to do with Harper)

Did you read my last post titled PM Harper = Honorary Chief Harper?! No? Well, that’s okay.

This other event happened supposedly earlier this Monday morning. Like early 3 AM. According to CBC.

You can read that article titled “Boy, 5, fatally shot at Hobbema, Alta., reserve”

I found it quite odd that just after announcing his “Honorary Chief status” publicly all over his official site and on his twitter, that there was no message of condolences sent out to the family who lost a young child who is from another First Nation in the same province.

You can see below his twitter feed acknowledging his “Honorary Chief status” but no condolences for the family. Or am I missing something again? Screen Shot taken July 11, 2011 @ 7:06 PM.

Undermining one story. Highlighting another.

Do you think that Harper has the entire First Nations people in mind or do you think he is in it just for himself? Hmmmm…

Note: Condolences go out to the boy’s family. Definitely in my prayers. So young. So sad.

PM Harper = Honorary Chief Harper?!

Today, I read a few tweets on my twitter feed claiming that PM Harper was named an “Honorary Chief of the First Nations Blood Tribe in Alberta”. I didn’t believe it until I actually saw PM Harper tweet it himself Wait! Why am I even following PM Harper?! (Well I am not so sure about him actually tweeting it HIMSELF or some intern or student hired for the time being, but you get my point).

Cray-cray-craziness!

Then I noticed that he was given this title because of his 2008 residential school apology.

The article reads:

The honorary Chieftainship was requested by Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head in response to the heartfelt apology in 2008 by the Prime Minister to former students of Indian Residential Schools.

So what does this exactly mean then? Being given the opportunity to be named an “Honorary Chief.” The article further states:


Honorary Chiefs are expected to help promote the cultural pride of the Blackfoot and Kainai and all First Nations. They are expected to maintain the headdress with the highest respect and be an available resource to First Nations.

I don’t even know what this all means. Hmmm, do you think other nations should follow suit?

To read the 2008 residential school apology given by PM Harper himself click HERE.

To view the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada website click HERE.

Jail Conditions

I have been reading some news articles about the jail conditions during the G20 summit in June 2010.

I know that the issue with the G20 police efforts is/was that it is/was too much. More recently, TO Police Chief Bill Blair said that the police were “overwhelmed” and “not properly trained.” To read the TO Star news article, click HERE.

I also know that some of the people complained that they were arrested because they were just “there.” Wrong place. Wrong time. When I first watched it on television, I could see some peaceful protests going on and remember saying to my friends, “I wish I was there.” Not to be there but to support my friends who I knew were there that were peaceful protesters. I don’t wish that anymore.

Among those people that were arrested, they said that the jail conditions were horrible. Jail isn’t supposed to be a 4-star hotel stay. Or even a 1-star hotel stay.

From the various articles that I have read, I can remember reading that girls had to go to the bathroom in front of male officers. Male/females stripped searched. Physically abused. No food. No water. For hours at a time. No lawyer. No phone call.

Sorry, but it’s jail. Jail cells don’t have a separate room for a bathroom with a door. Jail cells don’t have down filled duvets waiting for you to be wrapped in. Oh and if you are just being held for a certain period of time (usually less than 12 hours), food doesn’t have to be provided for. Just a light snack. A glass of water. Isn’t it that a person can survive 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food… Just a rule of thumb.

Judging how the police reacted during the G20. That’s all they reacted on. A rule of thumb.

But this post isn’t about jail conditions during G20. Where some people were held for a little as a few hours. To maybe a few days.

This post is about the fact that incarcerated Aboriginals face more dire jail conditions than what those people would have experienced. At alarming rates.

I found this article, again searching for something completely unrelated to G20, titled Jail Conditions For Canadian Aboriginals a “Disgrace”: Ombudsman. I like how at the end of the article it says,

“If this was the case for non-aboriginal people, I’m almost certain that Canadians would react and demand that something be done,” said Beverly Jacobs.

If the people who are fighting for their “Jail Rights” during the G20, then they should fight against the conditions that not just Aboriginal but also non-Aboriginal incarcerated people face every day in jail. Like, lack of bedding. Or no doors on their bathroom stalls.

Ps. My vent for the day. And, end scene 😉

National Aboriginal Day

Well today is National Aboriginal Day! Happy day to all my Aboriginal/First Nations/Metis/Inuit readers….

Something I learned today about National Aboriginal Day:

  • It was proclaimed in 1996.
  • It is part of an 11-day Celebration to “Celebrate Canada” [Some of the other days are Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and concludes with Canada Day (July 1)]

The above points are courtesy INAC opps I mean “Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada”

Something I learned recently, courtesy Facebook, is that June is National Aboriginal History month!

Just writing this post to share some things I found out about this lovely day.

Nothing personal 😉

PS. I am proud to be Aboriginal on this lovely day and every other day!