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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:08 am
 


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MacDonald, Dan & Farber: John A. Macdonald was a near genocidal extremist even for his time

David B. MacDonald, Michael Dan and Bernie M. Farber, Special to National Post | January 11, 2015 | Last Updated: Jan 12 8:32 AM ET

In the lead up to Kingston’s Canada Day celebration last year, the Shadowland Theatre manufactured a number of gargantuan puppets — “The Giants of Canadian Confederation.” The highlight of the parade was a 15-foot likeness of Sir John A. Macdonald, his grotesquely oversized pinkish head and hands molded from papier-mache, held aloft with sticks and ropes by two members of the theatre company.

Puppetry is a useful image. We can and should understand the motivations and the actions of those who are supporting the puppet — promoting a certain type of commemoration of John A. Macdonald — a celebration of his positive works which ignores, or at least minimizes, his crimes against aboriginal peoples in the construction of Canadian nationhood.

Canadian historian Tim Stanley has stated that “… Macdonald’s were among the most extreme views of his era. He was the only politician in the parliamentary debates to refer to Canada as ‘Aryan’ and to justify legalized racism on the basis not of alleged cultural practices but on the grounds that ‘Chinese’ and ‘Aryans’ were separate species.” His racism was not of the garden variety — he went much further than others — he feared racial contamination. Asians, he seemed to say, were the Ebola of the late 19th century — against which the emerging Aryan dominated state had to protect itself.

The pre-Confederation era was not ideal by any means, but a partnership ethos was certainly more evident during the earlier process of treaty making which went back to the 18th century. A partnership ethos marked by the two row wampum (First Nations historical view of peaceful coexistence between themselves and colonial parties) represented an ideal of how the relationship could have been. The ideal was about brotherhood, a sharing of the river, a voyage together side by side but respectful of each other’s traditions and autonomy, laws and governance systems.



In his dismissal of the partnership ethos of previous treaties and a tradition of mutual respect, Macdonald must be seen as an aberration of aboriginal-settler relations to that point. His opportunistic administration changed the nature of how the pre-Confederation treaties were honoured.

The result were acts which today could be seen in hindsight as genocidal — the deliberate starvation of peoples to clear them from the land. This might be seen as part and parcel of a larger colonial project of the Victorian era which saw millions dead in Ireland and tens of millions in British India, where natural droughts were perverted by the hands of colonial administrators into famines. Macdonald repeated this pattern on the Canadian plains, starving his fellow humans into submission.

Why did he do it? Primarily because his national dream was a European settler dream — it was not an aboriginal dream.

Professor James Daschuk, in his seminal work Clearing the Plains, signals the “outright malevolence” of the Macdonald government in bringing about the starvation of Plains Indians, to “starve uncooperative Indians onto reserves and into submission.” In 1885, rebutting criticism by the Liberals, Macdonald stressed that food was refused “until the Indians were on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense.”

Why then are we choosing to celebrate the life of a man who did those terrible things to aboriginal peoples? Why do we not seek to offer a full narrative of the man; the good and the bad that he did?

Macdonald built Canada — but he built a particular type of country, one which in 1867 took over control of aboriginal affairs from the British crown.

Henceforth the partnership ideal between political communities was swept aside in favour of a wardship or “guardianship” relation which stripped aboriginal peoples of their political rights, granted them some civil rights but effectively set the institutional conditions by which many live today.


Rather than respect, Macdonald espoused assimilation, and all that went with it, including the suppression of languages and spirituality, the clearing of the plains and the Indian Residential Schools.

Macdonald helped inaugurate the system of numbered treaties which began in 1871 and ended in 1923, whereby aboriginal peoples were forced onto reserves. In between the Gradual Enfranchisement Act and the Indian Act further reduced aboriginal political rights, and much else.

The question then is not so much was Macdonald a racist by today’s standards or by the standards of his time but rather, why is there so much emotional investment in trying to deny that he was? Why are we today trying to deny or minimize his treatment of aboriginal peoples, which by any standard is indefensible?

The point also is that the federal government now is promoting a particular view of Macdonald based on a very partial reading of the historical record. A fuller, more balanced portrait is required, one which recognizes the extent of the crimes against aboriginal peoples that Macdonald committed in the process of constructing Canada.

National Post

David B. MacDonald is professor of political science at the University of Guelph, and the author of several books on national identity, genocide and comparative indigenous politics. Dr. Michael Dan is a philanthropist and First Nations advocate. Bernie M. Farber is a human rights activist, writer and CEO of Paloma Foundation.


http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/11 ... -his-time/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:42 am
 


Regardless of all that, he was the Man that got the job of Confederation done.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:50 am
 


He was a man of his times.

Judging him by our standards today is completely unfair and it does a disservice to both history and the present. The fact remains that absent this man's contributions Canada would not be the country that it is today.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:17 pm
 


In other news, except for Paul McCartney, at one time or another the other three Beatles (including Saint Lennon) were wife-beating drunks. And Abraham Lincoln, if he hadn't been assassinated, was most likely going to put a program in place to repatriate as many former Negro slaves as possible back to Africa instead of pushing for full legal equality for them. And MacKenzie King, just like everyone else in the pre-WW2 Canadian political structure, did fuck all to save any European Jews even though (like all the other world leaders at the time) he was quite well aware that the Nazis had something distinctly unpleasant planned for them.

Feet of clay. Everyone's got 'em. :|


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:38 pm
 


You know what I've been noticing lately? Is how "Progressive" the National Post has been steadily becoming under CanWest's ownership.

Yes, bad things happened to the Indians during the colonial period. Did John A Macdonald command a policy with the objective of genocidal mass murder? No.

Daschuk is a kinesiologist not a historian, but he doesn't matter. His book has come, recieved it's lefty of the year awards and gone. It's these National Post guys who have taken implications from his thesis to a new level that matter today.

You saw the name Bernie Farber listed as one of the writers, right?

Quote:
Question: If Bernie Farber Is Tapped To Be the Next Head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Will He Have to Give Up His Day Job of Trashing Canada's First Prime Minister?

Yesterday, the man said to be in the running to replace horrid old Babsy Hall as OHRC chief co-authored a screed in the NatPo in which he likened Sir John A. Macdonald to a quasi-Hitler. (In case you don't know the back story: Bernie and another of the screed's authors, Michael Dan, are looking to ingratiate themselves with Canadian Aboriginals, especially those who has resources on their reserves which are of interest to Dan's company. To that end, Dan 'n' Farber--sounds like an old Borscht Belt comedy team, no?--have been trying to persuade Canadians that what happened to Canada's First Nations peoples qualifies as an official holocaust just like, you know, the Holocaust.) If Bernie does indeed get to be Ontario numero uno "human rights" commissar, such antics will likely cease as he follows in Babsy's gawdawful buttinsky tradition of inserting the "human rights" body into as many aspects of Ontarians' lives as possible.

Update: You know why Bernie would be perfect for the job? Because he thinks Charlie Hebdo should have been prosecuted under France's "hate speech" laws. The inability to "get" the whole free speech thing is pretty much a pre-requisite for the chief commissar gig.


http://scaramouchee.blogspot.ca/2015/01 ... ed-as.html

Basically it goes like this. The buffalo herds of the plains were decimated during the colonial period - not just in Canada. Amongst some native tribes there was hunger. There was disease. Some migrated to the reserves.

Meanwhile in Ottawa John A Macdonald made some comment Bernie Farber will never give you the full context of where John A was answering to allegations he was misappropriating funds. This is when he claimed the Indians were starving. From this Bernie wants you to imply John A was operating some sort of death camps as part of a policy of genocide.

So Bernie is calling John A names. The implication of genocidal maniac is a name. Very well. Fair's fair. Here's what the blogger Blazing Cat Fur has to say about Bernie Farber and his current push to take over the human rights commission.

Quote:
Babba Hall is finally too fat to fit inside Ontario Human Rights Commission offices so the Liberals are looking to appoint a new Public Leach and Chief of the joint.

Bernie is highly qualified for the position.

1) He’s an idiot

2) He’s an idiot who believes in censorship

3) He’s an idiot with the PR skills of a slug

4) He’s an idiot guaranteed to have the public demanding the closure of the OHRC in record time.

5) He’s an idiot.


http://www.blazingcatfur.ca/2015/01/13/ ... -the-ohrc/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:57 pm
 


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Basically it goes like this. During the colonial period of the plains the buffalo herds were decimated - not just in Canada.

Actually the intentional decimation of the buffalo herds in Canada is a fabrication whined about by Natives which the lefties are only too happy to incorporate into their narrative. In fact, the animals were prized by area farmers because their leavings made for fantastic fertilizer as well as providing the other benefits the buffalo provided the Natives. The decimation of the herds in Canada was simply a by-product of the campaign in the US because they were by and large, the same herds.

What's interesting though, is the Liberal's history with the Natives is no goddam better than anyone else's. Seventy plus years of the residential school system of which the Liberals presided over for 50+ years. It's ridiculous that the last federally run residential school was finally shut down in 1996.

In Ontario it was the Liberals playing games with the nutritional experiments at St. Mary's and when all the evidence and interviews were done and the RCMP investigation was complete, the Liberals then buried it all, until it was recently uncovered.

This false narrative that the Liberals have made for themselves that they are the champions of Native rights is an awfully unfunny joke.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:26 pm
 


Of course the buffalo were wiped out when they migrated to the US.

As to the US policy of killing off the Indians #1 source of sustenance?

It was a war. Such things happen in war.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:46 pm
 


http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/11 ... er-he-was/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:50 pm
 


fifeboy wrote:
Regardless of all that, he was the Man that got the job of Confederation done.


R=UP

Yup and if we'd had some mincing panty waist, politically correct weenie like the historical revisionists want as our first Prime Minister we'd likely be speaking M'erican and watching the View instead of saying eh, drinking decent beer and embracing the culture of a bunch of grown men beating the crap out of each other on a large pool of frozen water.

Well, that and BC would still be a gold rich British Colony while walking across the continent with your oxen in tow would still be in vogue.

Thank You John A. for starting this country on the road to becoming the greatest place in the world, your idiotic successors notwithstanding.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:21 pm
 


There was pretty well no one else who could have achieved what John A. pulled off.

Sometimes,this endless historic revisionism REALLY bugs me. Only a blithering idiot would expect someone born 200 years ago to see the world in the same way as some 21st. Century Carlton grad. A ltlle more critical thought, for gawd sake.

By the way, did you know that there's a recipe for "kitten", passed down through the generations in the Tory Party that goes right back to MacDonald's law practice in Kingston?

There is even a special gin maranade ...


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Jabberwalker wrote:
There was pretty well no one else who could have achieved what John A. pulled off.

Sometimes,this endless historic revisionism REALLY bugs me. Only a blithering idiot would expect someone born 200 years ago to see the world in the same way as some 21st. Century Carlton grad. A ltlle more critical thought, for gawd sake.

By the way, did you know that there's a recipe for "kitten", passed down through the generations in the Tory Party that goes right back to MacDonald's law practice in Kingston?

There is even a special gin maranade ...


You want a much better, more insightful and more balanced look at what Sir John A. Macdonald was like?

Let's hear from Richard Gwyn, author of one of the definitive biographies on Macdonald...

Quote:

Canada’s First Scapegoat

The movement to cast John A. Macdonald as nothing more than a racist, colonialist, drunk is an insult to our history


BY RICHARD GWYN
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 16, 2014

Stephen Marche’s article about our first prime minister (“Old Macdonald,” January/February) may impress some readers with its sweeping, condemnatory tone. But look behind the attention-getting claims—the display copy tells us “Sir John A. was a racist, a colonialist, and a drunk”—and one finds gaping holes in Marche’s interpretation of Canadian history.

Marche’s first salvo is a yawn: Macdonald was “corrupt.” True—but so were almost all politicians in that era. Macdonald certainly was “a drunk,” too. So as not to spoil the story, though, Marche doesn’t add that Macdonald quit the bottle, an excruciatingly difficult accomplishment even today.

Then Marche gets nasty. Macdonald, he tells us, was a “racist” who implemented policies toward Aboriginal peoples that were “genocidal.” In fact, he argues that Macdonald irrevocably damaged not just First Nations, but the fabric of our entire country: “Our national vision is so compromised, so utterly lacking in any idea . . . that the mess our first prime minister left behind has spiralled into a series of crises that may never be resolved.” Among those crises, he cites “the spectre of Quebec separatism,” and concludes, “[Macdonald] was the father of the country, sure. But he was the father of the country we don’t want to be.”

Poor little us, so helpless before this devious, cynical, power-mad leader.

The charge that really matters, of course, is that Macdonald was a racist. His immigration policy, in particular, often is cited as evidence against him. It’s true that he doubted whether Chinese migrants would readily assimilate into such a different country, particularly one divided deeply by race and religion. It’s also true that he continued a head tax on Chinese temporary workers. But as I have written elsewhere, he preceded this with a Royal Commission that told the country’s racists what they least wanted to hear: that the Chinese were “not an inferior race” and were very good workers. Chinese migration was stopped not by Macdonald but by Wilfrid Laurier, who increased the head charge from $50 to a prohibitive $500.

In fact, despite the far superior attractions of the United States, Macdonald managed to attract non-Anglo immigrants (Mennonites, for instance) and was ecstatic when a group of Jews landed on Canadian shores.

Marche’s general condemnation of Macdonald as a racist simply doesn’t fit the man’s character. The term brings to mind the image of a grumpy misanthrope. Macdonald couldn’t have been less like that. He was very, very funny. He was well read—not just the political stuff, but also novels (Trollope was a favorite)—and could rattle off fine poetry by heart.

Getting on well with women doesn’t constitute proof of a man’s enlightened sensitivity, but it’s a good start. Women adored Macdonald, both because of his unflagging tenderness to his disabled daughter and because of his humour. The poor, too, loved him—enjoying jousts with him in pubs and being quite unbothered that he denied them the vote on the grounds that, lacking the steadiness of those who owned property, they might unleash “mob rule.”

Macdonald was capable of far-sighted, progressive thought. He was the first world leader—this was in 1885—to attempt to extend the vote to women. He got nowhere on that, but warned shocked MPs that women would anyway, sooner or later, “completely establish [their] equality as human beings.” He urged English Canadians to treat French Canadians “as a nation.” By doing so, he said, “They will act as a free people generally do, generously. Call them a faction, and they will become factious.” His was a capacity for generosity no prime minister could match for a century.

In the past few years, a cluster of commentators have charged Macdonald with deliberately starving Aboriginal peoples to get them out of the way, to make way for the railway. Or even with full-blown genocide. Hard questions do need to be asked about what he did when the Plains Indians’ food supply vanished with the disappearance of the buffalo. But conspicuously missing from many accounts of this story is how Macdonald did a great deal for Native communities—and did it far better than those before and, for a long time, after him.

His first direct encounter with the Plains Indians was in 1873. He sent to the West a new institution he had created, the North West Mounted Police, and gave it two mandates: One was to wipe out the US-based liquor trade that wreaked havoc among Native communities, often leading to deadly fights. The other was to impose the rule of law throughout the West. This contrasted with the brutal rule of the white man’s gun, which held sway south of the border. Both mandates were implemented; and, as long as they lasted, had no equal.
It didn’t last. After the buffalo had been extinguished, Macdonald did betray the trust of Indians by giving far less attention to their urgent needs than to his railway. But he had other challenges, the scale of which rarely is mentioned.

Canadians then were suffering an all-out economic depression. Huge numbers were leaving the country for better job prospects in the United States. The remaining residents, many depressed and struggling, were in no mood to be generous. Liberals seized the opening and incessantly criticized Macdonald for giving food to Indians, arguing that this would turn them into permanent dependents of the government.

A key complicating factor of the time is almost impossible to appreciate now: In the nineteenth century, and for decades afterwards, Canadian governments did nothing to help anyone without a job or a home, or who was sick or injured. Charity was the responsibility of the churches.

Many who read these exculpations of Macdonald’s actions will dismiss them as irrelevant to what we now regard as the key issue—the unconscionably impoverished state of many Aboriginal communities today. This attitude is wholly justified. But it highlights the fact that most of Macdonald’s critics aren’t concerned primarily with his long-ago era, but with our own.

In recent decades, Canadians have been making a great moral choice: As a society, we are increasingly united in the opinion that the status quo for many Aboriginal peoples is unacceptable. The relationship between First Nations and the federal government, activists declare, must be radically redone.

Here, Macdonald makes the perfect scapegoat. The man’s long dead; and while alive, really was corrupt and a drunk. This liberates us to transfer to him responsibility for the deep sense of guilt we feel about the treatment of First Nations, past and present.
This is self-delusion. While Macdonald did make mistakes, so did Canadians, collectively. From the end of the nineteenth century on, we became passive observers of what was happening to Native communities. We even managed to pretend that the “Indian Problem” had been solved by Aboriginal peoples themselves. They (by their own choices, we liked to imagine) were already vanishing from Canada by a combination of a decline in numbers, and assimilation. So they no longer needed to be talked about, even noticed.
After Macdonald, early Canadian prime ministers took little interest in Aboriginal issues. History books about that period scarcely mention the actions of Native peoples. We succeeded in making them invisible.

It wasn’t grassroots activism by ordinary Canadians that changed everything (although later on, this made a real difference). The critical changes were sparked from on high. In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Indian Affairs Minister, Jean Chrétien, tabled a White Paper that promised great advances for Native people: The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, which many Aboriginal peoples despised, would be shuttered. And then suddenly, the impossible happened. From coast to coast to coast, communities said no: They hadn’t been consulted. From nowhere came an eloquent, powerful voice of protest—that of Alberta-based Cree leader Harold Cardinal. Canadians actually started to listen.

Today, a different Canada now is being born, one in which Aboriginal concerns will be taken seriously, will be respected, will possess real power. It will take a long time to materialize: Macdonald’s guesstimate that his “great-grandchildren” would have to realize it was just about dead on. But it will happen, at last.

One side effect of this transformation is that, in the popular imagination, we may well lose Macdonald as a founding father. He really does make an excellent scapegoat.
We would be fools to lose him. He truly was the “Man Who Made Us” (to quote the subtitle of the first volume of my Macdonald biography). Stephen Marche’s claim that Macdonald reduced us to “the country we don’t want to be” is pure bunkum. Never in our 150 years have Canadians been more confident about, and proud of, their country. There’s a good reason for this. We are today one of the most successful nations on the globe. Virtually every comparative international survey puts us in—or knocking at the door of—the top ten in quality of life, of governance, and of living peaceably. Our immigration policy and multiculturalism programs are models for the rest of the world, or should be.
Rather than use Macdonald as a cover for our own failings, enjoy him. Without him, we almost certainly would now all be Americans. (They aren’t as bad as we often pretend they are. But they are not us.)

If Marche doesn’t appreciate any of this, he needs to start reading Canadian history.




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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:45 pm
 


N_Fiddledog wrote:
You know what I've been noticing lately? Is how "Progressive" the National Post has been steadily becoming under CanWest's ownership.



Eh?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:07 pm
 


I'd like it if we were able to speak of our "Founding Fathers" in a negative/realistic light now and then, something the Americans struggle to find the freedom to do without it being a scandal. The jingoist drum-banging patriotic Canadiana thing is just painful to take seriously.

ANyway, I agree with Thanos here. None of our heroes are pure.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:10 pm
 


... nore should they be. Real, flesh and blood humans ... warts and all ...built our world, not cartoon superheroes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:12 pm
 


Public_Domain wrote:
The jingoist drum-banging patriotic Canadiana thing is just painful to take seriously.


It's only going to get worse leading up to the election. You're either with us or the commie nation haters. Plus we gotta go out and kill those Moooslims, it's the patriotic thing to do.


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