It stands as one of this country’s worst mass murders: eleven dead on and near the James Smith Cree Nation in rural Saskatchewan by the hand of career criminal Myles Sanderson. But after a brief flurry of attention and trite claims that a history of colonialism and racism were to blame, Canadians have shown little interest in discovering the real reasons behind this tragedy. Or how to ensure it never happens again. Hymie Rubenstein looks closely at the details of Sanderson’s violent life of crime and why Canada’s criminal justice system repeatedly set him free. In our efforts to reduce the suffering of Indigenous Canadians, are we actually making things worse?
The reported discovery of unmarked graves at former Indian Residential Schools confirmed what many Canadians thought they already knew about this now-discredited system. But how much of this foundational knowledge is actually true? Did “all” Indigenous children attend residential schools? Were they forced to go? Was this done over the objections of their parents and chiefs? How did the buried students die? And what, in turn, was the system’s real purpose? In Part Two of this special three-part series, Hymie Rubenstein digs deep into the historical record in the search for answers to these difficult questions.
When disturbing evidence is unearthed that points to malfeasance by individuals, organizations or entire countries, it is understandable that feelings would run high among the aggrieved parties. But are unrestrained emotionalism, exaggeration and wild accusation the proper responses for politicians, experts, commentators and the population at large? How does this help a nation get at the truth, pursue justice or settle accounts – let alone move the parties along the path of forgiveness and reconciliation? In Part One of this special three-part series, Hymie Rubenstein sorts through the heated claims and allegations and sets forth what is actually known about the unmarked graves at Canada’s former Indian Residential Schools.
Precision of language is critical in government documents. Take the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), which claimed “Indigenous women and girls now make up almost 25 percent of homicide victims.” Turns out the Statistics Canada report on which this claim was based indicates 25 percent of female homicide victims were Indigenous women, a much smaller number. If the MMIW report’s authors can’t even transcribe a simple government statistic, what business have they bandying about the charge of “genocide”? Hymie Rubinstein looks at historical examples of real genocides, reminding us that the abuse of language has consequences.
One of the really great things about Donald Trump, if you’re Justin Trudeau, is he makes you look so nice by comparison. Especially on immigration. It’s widely understood that Trump is banning Muslims and separating children from their parents and holding them in cages, while Trudeau is tweeting “Welcome to Canada” and deploring family separation. But the truth about “how we do things in Canada” ain’t so nice, writes Hymie Rubenstein, and by any fair current and historical comparison, the U.S. treats immigrants better than we do
In the beginning, Canada was good, pure, and peaceful. Then the Europeans came, and it all went to hell. This creation and fall story has been cribbed from Genesis to frame today’s powerful aboriginal grievance and entitlement narrative. Its authors are now suggesting that redemption lies in a return to indigenous utopia. But the devil’s in the historical details, writes Hymie Rubenstein, and he was just as busy in pre-Columbian Canada as anywhere else.
In the early days of identity politics the feminist movement lifted women to the top of the grievance and entitlement hierarchy. Over time, though, white females lost ground to competing victim groups. Now they’re just another oppressor lording their “white privilege” over real victims of social injustice. That’s why they dominate the teaching profession, according to a pair of University of Manitoba academics who led the charge for this year’s new minority entrance quotas at the faculty of education. U of M elder statesmen Hymie Rubenstein and Rodney Clifton fear this will make Manitoba’s already abysmal public education system even worse.