Carving a new territory out of Canada’s Arctic in 1999 was done in the name of protecting the traditional ways of its majority Inuit population from the pernicious effects of modernism. Fifteen years on, is the so-called “Nunavut Project” a success? No, according to just about every measure of social and economic health, despite the territory’s tremendous potential. At the root of its problems is an enduring tension between the desire to uphold the Inuit traditional way of life and the reality of living in the modern world. And until this tension is resolved and modernity embraced as an advantage instead of a threat, writes Yule Schmidt, Nunavut’s promise will remain unfulfilled.
November 11 provides Canadians a sombre time to reflect on the sacrifices of our soldiers and to celebrate our victories in two world wars. But it also provides an occasion, writes Yule Schmidt, to ponder more generally the idea of a “good war” and to remind ourselves that some things are still worth fighting for.
The aboriginal rights provisions in the 1982 constitutional reforms profoundly changed the way Canada deals with First Nations land and treaty claims. Before then they were mostly resolved through negotiation with governments. Since 1982, the courts have taken a lead role. As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin has made “reconciliation” the guiding principle of decision-making related to aboriginal rights cases. But after 30 years of litigation, writes Yule Schmidt, reconciliation is still a long way off.
When lawyers recently launched a sexual harassment lawsuit against the RCMP, and which now numbers 300 female RCMP officers as claimants, the eventual verdict risks ignoring individual circumstances and painting with a very broad brush. It will also further erode the sphere of free speech between adults. Yule Schmidt explains…