A response to Chris Foulds

The Kamloops This Week ran a political cartoon last week, it looked like this:

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My good friend Duncan took exception to the picture and let his disdain be known via Twitter and the editor of the Kamloops This Week, Chris Folds responded using his editorial column Tuesday.

It was also on Tuesday that I saw Israel’s reluctance to the Iranian-American brokered nuclear deal that will, in the USA’s eyes, take Iran away from the red line. Israel was the only major hurdle against this deal.

I found this political cartoon from The Guardian newspaper and I thought it would be interesting to simply change a few words of what Foulds himself wrote and apply it to caricatures of other people, in other papers around the world.

This is purely satire folks.

You can find the original article at this link: http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/foulds-if-you-find-this-cartoon-racist-the-problem-lies-in-your-mind/

Here we go:

Image

******
IF YOU FIND THIS CARTOON RACIST, YOU LIKE JEWS

If you wanted to study racism in editorial cartoons, you could do a Google search online and encounter a rich treasure trove of offensive artistry.

Some are recent (like every depiction of Muslims, have you seen how they portrayed the Prohphet, peace be upon Him) and some stretch back more than a century.

Or, you could pick up a the Nov. 25 edition of Pars Times, look at page A8, completely misinterpret the illustration by artist Mahmoud Adeli, call the editor and rail in a most nonsensical manner, then wander down to the Mosque to ask Imam to do something about a perfectly fine artistic political statement that you created as racist in a mind not quite ready for prime time.

A problematic byproduct of our ultra-sensitive society today is the ease by which serious charges, such as racism, are tossed around.

In the Nov 25 edition of PT, I ran the editorial cartoon that appears above this column.

It depicts a Jew (or Rabbi, for those who consider “infidel” to be derogatory, though I certainly do not, and I am part-infidel “which I shouldn’t even be admitting”) as being a serious hurdle standing in the way of The Great Satans proposed nuclear deal with Iran, despite the recent framework agreements reached between the foreign ministers of Iran and The Great Satan.

A reader, Shlomo Cohen, called to claim the cartoon was racist.

When I asked how he came to that conclusion, Cohen said he took issue with the fact the cartoon made it appear as though only Jews are opposed to the nuclear deal.

An odd view, to be sure.

So, I asked, the cartoon is racist in its treatment of gentiles and their objection to the Nuclear proposal?

Cohen replied that, if I could not see how it was racist, there was no point in discussing the matter.

He then proceeded to attend Mosque that day and denigrate in public this newspaper with his completely misinformed interpretation.

Cohen’s visit to mosque was tweeted on social media and, sure enough, I received via Twitter one other admonishment for publishing the editorial cartoon, this from Faisul Ebrahimi, a co-host of a university radio-station program.

We went back and forth in that 140-character universe and agreed to disagree.

At one point, Ebrahimi  asked how many Jews are employed in PT newsrooms, to which I responded: Who cares?

I hire blindly, by virtue of talent on paper, not ethnicity in blood.

When I emailed Adeli, the artist behind the editorial cartoon, he responded to his critics.

“Really? Racist towards whom?” he asked. “It’s said that to ratify the nuclear deal with The Great Satan, there will still be hurdles to get over, even though [President Barack] Obama has ‘okayed’ the deal. I’m saying there sure will be hurdles and their name is Jews.”

Hence his cartoon.

Adeli is correct. There are many others besides the Jews opposed to nuclear deal but, as Adeli noted, no other group has equal the power to stop the deal.

If there was objection to the manner in which Adeli portrayed the Jews in her cartoon, he is not buying it.

“The Jews were portrayed as some having long hair with beards — some do wear beards — and wear hats,” Adeli said.

“As an artist, I reserve the right to illustrate Jews in such a way that will make them recognizable to the casual viewer while still being respectful.

“They will not allow the nuclear deal as they say it will embolden Iran to create nukes over time! Seems a traditional depiction makes more sense than Jews in business suits.”

“The facial features are exactly the same as all the facial features in my cartoon characters —  big noses. I depicted Jews demonstrating their power by controlling all the media in the United States — a hurdle that will be difficult, if not impossible, to get over.”

In fact, Adeli added, he named the character “Stereotypical Jew” in honour of Adeli’s Jew friend, whom he always introduces as “my Jew friend.”

There are many instances of actual racist articles or cartoons being published and resulting in an apology from those who made the grievous error in judgment. Look at Dennmark?

When Cohen called last week, he demanded an apology from me for publishing the cartoon.

This week, I will be waiting for an apology, on behalf of PT, from Cohen et al for sullying the name and reputation of this newspaper based on a classic knee-jerk reaction tied to a lack of critical thinking on their behalf.

And I will pass on the mea culpa to Adeli.

****

I suppose I should share my thoughts.

It seemed like the editorial wanted to just point out that there are far more racist things out there to be seen aside from this innocent portrayal of Indian people. Also the inclusion of the artists perspective seemed like a strange parsing of words, “some Indians DO wear feathers, it’s not like I portrayed them as savages!!” *quotes are made up*

Then the final “one of my good friends is a Native” was enough for me.

I’m not saying the cartoon is racist, pictures speak a 1000 words.

A reponse pt 2.

I wanted to take a moment, again, respond to former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone when he says he’s “correcting” my previous assessment of his work.

First I want to be clear that when you’re appointed the Minister of a Ministry in this country, you’re ultimately responsible for what happens.

He starts by correctly stating that on December 14, 2015 the BC Liberal Government announced a shuttle services after a  Nov. 24, 2015, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the First Nations Health Authority co-hosted a transportation symposium in Smithers to engage with First Nations leadership, community members and local government representatives to help identify safe, practical and sustainable transportation options for communities along the Highway 16 corridor. (source)

What former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Liberal Todd Stone ignores, quite conveniently, is what happened in the years before.

I am going to use YouTube, news reports and ACCESS DENIED: RECORD RETENTION AND DISPOSAL PRACTICES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

I’m going to provide readers with every link and they can come to their own conclusions.

Quick timeline:
June 16, 2006: The Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendation Report cites as it’s first recommendation:


Recommendation #1: That a shuttle bus transportation system be established between each
town and city located along the entire length of Highway 16, defined as the Highway of Tears.

Governing BC Liberals do not heed the call.

November 15, 2012 2344 days later: Former Attorney General Wally Opal releases : FORSAKEN: The Report on Missing Women. In the summary of recommendations, Mr Opal states:

B. Summary of Recommendations
I urge the Provincial Government to commit to these two measures

immediately upon receipt of this report:
1) To provide funding to existing centres that provide emergency
services to women engaged in the sex trade to enable them to
remain open 24 hours per day.
2) To develop and implement an enhanced public transit system
to provide a safer travel option connecting the Northern
communities, particularly along Highway 16.

Governing BC Liberals do not heed the call.

May 14, 2013: The BC General Election Happens and Todd Stone is elected in Kamloops South Thompson.

June 10th 2013: Todd Stone is appointed as Minister of Transportation and Infrastucture.

July 13, 2013:
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice asks Minister of Justice Susan Anton about the recommendations put forward to create a shuttle bus. At 1:15, the Minister punts the ball to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Governing BC Liberals do not heed the call.

May 11, 2014 Vernon Morning Star story Still no plan for B.C.’s Highway of Tears, states in part:
Internal briefing notes also indicate a team of bureaucrats assigned to hold consultations with communities along Highway 16, where women have been disappearing or turning up dead for decades, have put that work on hold for much of the past year. What emerges is a picture of slow progress that appears to contradict the province’s claims that it has been busy holding a “tremendous number” of meetings about the issue with local governments.

May 30th, 2014 North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice again asks for a shuttlebus along the Highway of Tears. Again, the Attorney General rebuffs the request.

June – July 2014: The following is cut and paste from Access Denied pages 18 and 19.
Representatives from MOTI engaged in face-to-face meetings with over 80 community and First Nation leaders. Their goal was to garner a first-hand understanding of existing transportation services and challenges along the Highway 16 corridor from Prince George to Prince Rupert and to provide practical and affordable solutions to these challenges.

The “Highway of Tears” is approximately 720 kilometres along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. Over past decades, a significant number of women have tragically disappeared along this stretch of highway. Many of these women were presumed to be hitchhiking at the time of their disappearance, due to a perceived lack of transportation options. Two senior officials from MOTI, including an Assistant Deputy Minister (“ADM”), conducted the meetings, accompanied by four other MOTI employees. On one day, meetings also included one employee of the Office of the Premier.

November 17, 2014: Parliamentary Secretary Darryl Plecas stated the following in the Legislative Assembly:
“… I’m therefore certain the member will welcome the news that in June and July of this year, staff at the Transportation Ministry travelled along Highway 16 corridor and held face-to-face discussions with over 80 communities. They met with 12 First Nations. They spoke with 13 different municipalities and regional districts.”

November 19, 2014: An applicant submitted an access to information request to
IAO on behalf of MOTI stating: “Pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, I request all government records that make reference to the issue of missing women along Highway 16/the Highway of Tears and specifically including records related to meetings held by the ministry on this issue. The time frame for my request is May 15 to November 19, 2014.”

November – December 2014: MOTI located 36 pages of documents that were potentially responsive to the access request. Among these records were briefing notes, various handwritten pages and a document created by the Ministry of Justice. None are released.

December 2014- February 2015 after requesting two time extensions to complete the FOI request on February 20th, 2015: IAO sent a letter to the applicant stating that “no records were located in response to your request.” The applicant responded by email to IAO asking how the request did not produce any records after MOTI took two time extensions.

February 25, 2015: The Official Opposition raised questions in the Legislative Assembly about MOTI producing no documents in response to this access request. On the same date, emails were sent within MOTI about re-processing
the access request.

February 26, 2015, a Prince George Citizen Article with the headline: Opposition crying coverup over Highway of Tears consultation. In the story it says:”NDP MLAs Maureen Karagianis and Jennifer Rice raised the issue Tuesday during question period in the legislature saying they had filed a freedom of information request for the records after Minister Tood Stone had said he had met with about 80 organizations, local governments, First Nations and others to discuss safer transportation options. They filed the request in December [of 2014] when Stone had told a radio talk show host the ministry has heard from First Nations and other local government that a publicly-run bus service along Highway 16 is “probably not practical.”

MLA Jennifer Rice again asks for a shuttlebus along the Highway of Tears and Todd Stone says the government has, among other things, created a portal where people can find transportation options. Rice responds by pointing out the portal offers LIMOSINE services.


March 3, 2015: The applicant made a complaint to my office that MOTI had not fulfilled its duty to “openly, accurately and completely respond” under s. 6(1) of FIPPA. Later that day, IAO released three severed briefing notes to the applicant, most of which were not part of the 36 pages originally identified as responsive.


May 27, 2015: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner received a letter from the former Executive Assistant of Todd Stone dated May 18, 2015 setting out his that Todd Stone’s Ministerial Assistant triple deleted emails related to the Highway of Tears (allegations.)


May 28, 2015: The Official Opposition raised the former Executive Assistant’s allegations in the Legislative Assembly during Question Period.

May 29, 2015: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner writes the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
announcing that we were investigating the allegations regarding the November 19, 2014 access request to MOTI regarding Highway 16/the Highway of Tears.

May 29, 2015 National Post Story with headline: B.C. government destroyed records on Highway of Tears after request to access them, former staffer says “the deleted emails and documents related to how the B.C. government consulted with northern communities and First Nations leaders last year to try to improve safety along the Highway of Tears.”

November 4, 2015 CBC News story with headline New Highway of Tears documents uncover residents’ deep concerns which says, in part: “The minister has continued to tell us for a year there wasn’t a big desire for a bus, that it wasn’t a practical solution,” said Karagianis.” Certainly, looking at the FOI documents on the consultation that we have recently read, that is not true.”

In releasing the 36 pages the Office of the Privacy Commissioner stated:
I believe MOTI took an unreasonably narrow view of the applicant’s request. The
applicant requested records related to a series of meetings that took place in
June and July 2014 along Highway 16. While noting that the meetings were
about “missing women”, the applicant provides a great deal of context to enable
MOTI to identify the meetings referred to by the applicant.


In processing the request, it appears that MOTI fully understood what meetings
the applicant was referring to. Despite the narrow interpretation applied by the
ADM and MOTI’s access to information coordinator, 36 pages of records were
produced. Some of those records referenced “missing women”. In addition,
government’s own internal discussions make the connection between “missing
women” and the lack of “transportation options” regarding the highway. In the
circumstances, the wording of the applicant’s access request should have been
sufficient to consider these 36 pages as responsive.


It is difficult to understand how MOTI could have doubted that the applicant
would be interested in any records relating to these meetings. Nonetheless,
before MOTI made any distinction between the meetings being about
“transportation options” or “missing women”, IAO should have contacted the
applicant to clarify the request. The duty to assist an applicant under s. 6(1) of
FIPPA requires such clarification where appropriate.


Further, prior to MOTI’s ADM making a determination that the 36 pages of
records were not responsive, IAO had informed the applicant that responsive
records existed. MOTI had taken two time extensions in the processing of this
request, including one where IAO told the applicant that handwritten notes
existed.

MLA Jennifer Rice asks Todd Stone about his lies.

After being caught, suddenly action happens.


Nov. 24, 2015, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the First Nations Health Authority co-hosted a transportation symposium in Smithers to engage with First Nations leadership, community members and local government representatives to help identify safe, practical and sustainable transportation options for communities along the Highway 16 corridor.

December 14, 2015: B.C. unveils five point action plan for safe transportation options along Highway 16.

March 2016: A CBC News story with the title: Triple delete: Former BC Liberal ministry staffer George Gretes charged in scandal.

January 30, 2017: The first Highway 16 Inter-Community Transit Service starts.  New bus services will run six days per week, linking the communities of Smithers and Moricetown, which are about 30 kilometres apart. 

3881 days passed from when the original request came through until the first bus made a trip. 1330 days from the date Todd Stone was appointed the Minister responsible.

The buck stops with the minister. He’s right at the top. A lot of obfuscations, delays and bullshit happened and I call again on Todd Stone to apologize to the families and communities along the Highway of Tears for his role as Minister responsible.

A response.

Responding to two columns featured on CFJC Today Kamloops

First, in response to Mel Rothenburger’s ArmchairMayor column published the day after the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

In the fifth paragraph, Rothenburger claims, without evidence that the children all died accidentally of diseases. How does he know that?

*edit* I’ve included Mel’s response at the bottom. I feel I captured the essence of his Trivial Pursuit assessment of the most disgusting part of our nation’s history. *edit*

In many of our communities, we have heard stories of priests and nuns who never spared the rod, or even the fist in the face of defiant “savages.”

Let me ask you Mel, if a Jewish person died of disease in a concentration camp, was it an accident?

Then Mel, parrots Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’toole when he says, “the schools were seen by the governments of the day as a way to provide Indigenous children with an education and to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Some Indigenous leaders agreed with those goals but things worked out much differently than they’d hoped.”

The context Mel fails to give was the actual intention of the schools, as described by the man who created them, John A MacDonald.

Does he think that “some” Indigenous leaders agreed with John A, when he said, “When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.

Does he think that some Indigenous leaders agreed with Duncan Campbell Scott, the man in charge of Indian policy in Canada when he said, “It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is being geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem.”

The next people in history called a problem, who needed a final solution were Jewish people.

Instead, we’re fed the Mayor’s pablum about how accidental these deaths were and the purpose of the schools.

The fact his column was posted the next day, as opposed to the words of an Indigenous person or a person of colour are just part of the problem facing our society.

I’m getting tired of Old Stock Canadian perspectives given top priority across the country, whether if be Mel, Rex Murphy, Conrad Black, Brian Lilley or Jonathan Kay. CFJC can and should do better at elevating voices other than the constant buzz of WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants.)

Yeah, I understand Mel can claim he’s metis, but this isn’t the point, one of us isn’t followed around a grocery store.

Second to Todd Stone, MLA for South Kamloops.

In 2006 the Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendations Report, recommended, as it’s number 1 priority: That a shuttle bus transportation system be established between each town and city located along the entire length of Highway 16, defined as the Highway of Tears.

The BC Liberals, who were in government, sat on their hands.

In 2012, former Attorney General Wally Opal, in his report on Murdered and Missing Women, urged the BC Liberal government to move ahead with the creation of a shuttle bus.

Again, the BC Liberals sat on it.

Enter Todd Stone.

When Stone was Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, his Ministerial Assistant George Gretes deleted emails related to a Freedom of Information Request regarding the Highway of Tears, a stretch of road from Prince George to Prince Rupert notorious for the number of women who’ve gone missing on it.

His assistant not only deleted them, he triple deleted them:

– triple deleting means first moving an email to the computer system’s “deleted” folder, expunging the email from the folder itself, and then manually overriding a backup that allows the system to recover deleted items for up to 14 days.

While Minister of Transportation, Stone deflected calls for a shuttlebus along Highway 16, claiming, after consultation, a shuttle wasn’t practical. Then, after 36 pages of consultation with communities were released, Stone and his government were shamed into doing the right thing and create a shuttlebus system – which has now been expanded.

I guess what I’m trying to say here, Todd Stone doesn’t have any credibility on this file and before he shares his thoughts on 215 children found in Kamloops, he should apologize to the families and communities he lied to when he told them they didn’t want a safe shuttlebus as a form of transportation.

*Mel’s Response*

Joey Jack, since you’ve criticized my column at length, I must reply at some length as well.

The column said, “They died accidentally, or from tuberculosis, pneumonia or influenza, from malnutrition or suicide.”

You read it as saying, in your words, that “the children all died accidentally of diseases.” If I’d written, “They died accidentally, from tuberculosis, pneumonia or influenza, from malnutrition or suicide,” I could understand how you could misconstrue. But the word “or” after “accidentally,” distinguishes accidental deaths from other causes.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report speaks in detail of the high death rate among residential school children (far higher than for the general school-aged population) and of the causes.

By far the biggest cause of death was tuberculosis, with almost 900 deaths, based on available records. Pneumonia and influenza were also major causes, as I also said in the column.

With respect to suicides and accidental causes, the report identified six suicides, 57 drownings, 40 deaths in school fires, 20 due to exposure, and 38 who died in other accidents such as vehicle accidents and falls. It further states that 33 children died while running away — “they would have died from a variety of causes, the most common being exposure and drowning.”

The commission acknowledged that statistics are incomplete because, in just under half of deaths, the cause wasn’t recorded. Nowhere does it classify diseases as “accidents,” and neither did I.

In your criticism of how I phrased the purpose of residential schools you quote Sir John A. MacDonald’s statement that the schools would assure that indigenous children “will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.” But you ignore the part of my column in which I commented on the motive “to convert them to the Christian religion, to reduce the costs to government, and to aggressively assimilate them into Canadian culture, that is, to make them ‘white’” (my words).

You have chosen to call me “a white dude” and you now add that “I understand Mel can claim he’s Metis.” Claim? Surely I’m allowed to be proud of my many Indigenous ancestors and the Indigenous blood in my veins, but that was not part of the column.

One last point. You erroneously state my column was posted the day after the discovery of the children’s remains was announced. It was actually posted two days later, after I had already posted the full statement from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir.

I’m always willing to accept criticism of, and disagreement with, positions I take on issues but it’s not acceptable to turn my opinions on their heads and claim they’re something they are not. I’m sure you feel the same about your own views.

It’s impossible to capture the full history and impact of residential schools and the trauma caused by the discovery of the remains of 215 children in a column of a few hundred words, and my column was imperfect. But we can deal with this issue by misinterpreting and misrepresenting the words of others or we can, as MLA Stone said, commit to “remembering, honouring, healing and learning.”

My Note: I don’t need two guys like Todd or Mel telling me how to get thru this.

CANADA AIRSTRIKES HIT THE WESTBANK.

Canada strikes Westbank home of Syilx leader, destroys AP office.

Westbank City, Westbank (AP) — Canada slammed the Medicine Creek Reserve with airstrikes, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Syilx leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp — most of them children — and pulverizing a high-rise that housed The Associated Press and other media.

The Syilx militant group continued a stream of rocket volleys into Kelowna, including a late-night barrage on Pandosy. One man was killed Saturday when a rocket hit his home in a suburb of the lakeside metropolis.

With a U.S. envoy on the ground, calls increased for a cease-fire after five days of mayhem that have left at least 145 Syilx dead in Westbank — including 41 children and 23 women — and eight dead on the Kelowna side, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old. President Joe Biden, who has called for a de-escalation but has backed Canada’s campaign, spoke separately by phone with Canadian Prime Minister and Likud leader Justin Trudeau and Syilx Grand Chief Stuart Philip.

Still, Canada stepped up its assault, vowing to shatter the capabilities of Westbank’s Syilx rulers. The week of deadly violence, set off by a Syilx rocket Monday, came after weeks of mounting tensions and heavy-handed Canadian measures in contested Westbank, including the continued destruction of Syilx homes, expropriation of Syilx land and mineral rights and refusal to negotiate a cessation of activies.

Canada contends, Manifest Destiny gives them the Devine right to the land.

“It was promised to us,” said PM Justin Trudeau. “Also, the holocaust.”

“The Syilx have called for the destruction of Canada.”

Chief Stuart Philip responded, “If you look at the charter of the likud, it clearly states they will never accept a Syilx state west of the Rockies, isn’t that ALL of the land?”

Early Sunday, Canadian warplanes struck several buildings and roads in a vital part of Westbank City. Photos circulated by residents and journalists showed the airstrikes created a crater that blocked one of the main roads leading to Medicine Hill, the largest hospital in the strip.

The Health Ministry said the latest airstrikes left at least two dead and 25 wounded, including children and women. There has been no immediate comment from the Canadian military.

On Saturday, Canada bombed the home of Ernest Monias, a senior figure in the Syilx political branch, saying the building served as part of the group’s “terrorist infrastructure.” There was no immediate report on Monias’ or on any casualties.

The bombing of Monias’ home showed Canada was expanding its campaign beyond just the group’s military commanders. Canada says it has killed dozens in Syilx military branch, though the Syilx and the smaller group Westbank Warriors have only acknowledged 20 dead members.

Since the conflict began, Canada has leveled a number of Westbank ‘s tallest office and residential buildings, alleging they house elements of the Syilx military infrastructure.

On Saturday, it turned to the 12-story Skimhist Building, where the offices of the AP, the TV network APTN and other media outlets are located, along with several floors of apartments.

“The campaign will continue as long as it is required,” Trudeau said in a televised speech on Saturday evening. He alleged that Syilx military intelligence was operating inside the building. Canada routinely cites a Syilx presence as a reason for targeting certain locations in airstrikes, including residential buildings.

In 2009, Canada targeted a UN run school killing 40, claiming Syilx militants used the school as a hiding spot. In the same instance, chicken farms were targeted by Canada’s military.

The AP has operated from the building for 15 years, including through three previous wars between Canada and the Syilx, without being targeted directly.

During those conflicts as well as the current one, the news agency’s cameras from its top floor office and roof terrace offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Canada and Canadian airstrikes hammered the city and its surroundings.

UN president António Guterres, in a hot mic moment, gave his frank assessment of the situation.

“To think this is just a religious war, with one side supported by the most powerful force in the world and the other viewed as the perpetrators, even though they live under military occupation under an apartheid style system is just so fucked up.”

Indeed.

Just change a couple of words.

Linda Larson, MLA for Boundary for Similkameen asked aloud questions and wonders why people may find offence.

I’ve changed a couple of words in the story so she may better understand why it’s just slightly offensive:

The original story is here: http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/170511/Politician-won-t-say-sorry

Politician won’t say sorry

larson_2_p3141344.jpg

An Okanagan politician is refusing to apologize for musing about when the legacy of Holocaust will “burn itself out.”

During a health parliamentary committee hearing late last week, Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson wondered: “How long do you think before the legacy of the Holocaust finally burns itself out of the Jewish people?”

Later in the meeting she added: “How many generations is it going to take before the words ‘Holocaust’ no longer play a part in how people feel?”

The NDP demanded she apologize to Jewish people. Instead, Larson pushed back.

“At that committee meeting we were talking to the health authority about how we can help people. I’m surprised and disappointed that (B.C. NDP leader John) Horgan would try and use my comments for partisan purposes,” she said in a statement.

Horgan says Premier Christy Clark should demand Larson apologize for her “insensitive” remarks.

“A question like that reveals remarkable insensitivity on the part of an elected representative toward the tragic experiences suffered by Jewish people during the Holocaust,” Horgan said.

“We should never forget what happened, so that we can ensure nothing like that ever happens again.”

Horgan also noted Larson is the premier’s parliamentary secretary for rural education, and saying these comments is particularly troubling coming from an MLA with responsibilities for Jewish children in the school system.

Larson did acknowledge the tragedy of the Holocaust.

“What happened with the Holocaust was an absolute tragedy. There was and continues to be horrible consequences to peoples’ lives because of the Holocaust. I know too many people in our community who have suffered,” she said.

I wrote this to the Penticton Herald:

My response to the paper:
 
A response to Linda Larson
I was shocked to read BC Liberal MLA for Boundary Similkameen, Linda Larson’s comments and her lack of understanding why First Nations people and others with a developed sense of decency would find them to be insensitive and ignorant.
Like if she had said, and I’ve just changed a couple of words to her original quote, “How long do you think before the legacy of the Holocaust finally burns itself out of the Jewish people?”
or
“How many generations is it going to take before the words ‘Holocaust’ no longer play a part in how people feel?”
Are people’s feelings about a subject related to body count?
In 1948, the UN definition of genocide was determined to mean:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
When your own government holds ceremonies to respect and honour the needless genocide against the Jewish people of Europe in the 1940s, you, Linda Larson, should consider the genocide committed against First Nations, right in our own back yards, up until the very last day, the very last residential school closed its doors.
Shame on you Linda Larson.
 
Joey Jack

There Goes My Hero

MARCHAND2
Not everyone gets to talk to their heroes. Not everyone has the chance to sit next to the living embodiment of what can be accomplished, when you set your mind to it.

The first time I spoke to my hero was in October of 2008. I was sitting in my living room and my phone rang. A scratchy voice on the other side of the line asked if I was “Joey Jack who writes all those letters to the editor?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Who is this please?” I said, expecting someone was preparing to tell me off.

“Well, my name is Len Marchand Sr and I grew up just down the road from your family on the reserve in Vernon.”

I was shocked.

He refused to allow me to call him Mr Marchand, or senator or any other sort of honourific.

“Just Len,” he said.

Len had called me to let me know that he had been following me in the paper over the years and felt I had greater things ahead of me.

My hero made me cry.

We kept in touch over the years and would talk politics and whatever else we could think of. Laughing about Pierre Trudeau while his beautiful wife Donna served coffee and muffins. Len always corrected the way I said kilometre. Who was I to argue with the man who brought the metric system to Canada?

By the way, reporters on CBC says kilometre correctly.

Over the years, Len and I kept in touch over the telephone and I secretly adopted him as my grandpa. I would call him to brag about good news in my life and for advice. He always gave me sound advice and always told me he was proud of me.
We spoke after the last federal election for an article I was writing for a publication. He was beaming while talking about the election results.

“I look back to the mid and late 50s when we were just trying to get the vote,” he said, “Now 54 First Nations people were candidates.”

When I asked him about Stephen Harper he said, “The only thing I like about Stephen Harper is that my second name is Stephen and his second name is Joseph, which was my dad’s name.”

We laughed.
Over the past 6-8 months I’ve been dealing with depression and the last time Len called me was just this past March. I called him the previous day and he could hear the sadness in my voice as I tried to be strong and put on a brave face when he asked how I was doing.

The next day he called me back and told me he cared for me and that I should keep my eyes on the prize of better things tomorrow.

Now, that I’m feeling better about things, I had meant to call him and thank him for always being in my corner.

So, while many people will read the tributes and recaps about The Hon. Leonard Marchand Sr PC CM, I just wanted to tell you about my hero, fellow Okanagan Indian, friend and secret adopted grandpa Len.

Thank you Len.

Thank you for showing every Indian person in Canada that determination, hard work and kindness can help you achieve what you set out to do.

A Response to Chris Kempling

Dear Editor,

The Kamloops PennySaver recently printed a column by known religious-zealot-homo-focused-former-teacher-bus-driver Chris Kempling titled, “And Such Were Some Of You..” which was basically about who famous people have sex with.

Kempling jumps around the Bible, picking some tidbits of info from the Old and New Testament to get to his point that people choose their sexuality. How does he attempt to prove that people choose their sexuality? Because a gay guy who can write songs is now married and has nine kids and Anne Heche used Ellen Degeneres to try and advance her career.

I wish that people like Kempling would just stop with their fascination with homosexuals and who and how we have sex. I get that people should be able to express themselves, but there are far more interesting subjects to discuss which, more than how many children an “ex gay” man has, will really make you scratch your head.

It’s the concept of “ex-straight.”

Take a look at some of the more famous ex-straight people in the world. A man like George Rekers, a psychologist, minister, co-founder of the Family Research Council and scientific advisor to the North Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH.) In 2010, Mr Rekers was photographed with a male prostitute from the rentboy website returning from a trip to Europe. When questioned about the incident Mr Rekers stated he needed a travel companion to help with luggage, even though he was seen photographed picking up a suitcase, and also stated he liked to “spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.”

yikes

What did the prostitute say? That he gave him daily nude massages for his sore body, including his sore genitals.

Isn’t that CRAZY!? That’s far more an interesting story than someone being sexually repressed by religion.

Take a look at ex-straight pastor Ted Haggard. He was the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and founder of the 10,000 follower strong New Life Church in Colorado. Haggard was even captured on film for a documentary called “Jesus Camp” quite plainly condemning homosexuality. In 2006, it came to light that Mr Haggard was engaged in a meth fueled sexual relationship with a gay prostitute. He later admitted to masturbating infront of a 20-year-old male church member. To quote Grant Haas, “..he grabbed a bottle of lotion and started masturbating.” Haas also said that Haggard told him that even men of God can have a little fun on the side.

fabbulouthhhh

Isn’t that WILD?! Far far more interesting than promoting shaming and pressuring individuals to conform to archaic stereotypes and gender roles.

I also wish that people like Kempling would discuss more serious issues raised in the Bible. Sins we’re all guilty of on a daily basis. Did you know that there are more damning statements about lending money for profit in the old and new testament that any discussion about homosexuality.

Infact, Ezekiel 18:13 says “He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.”

Pretty scary stuff eh? There goes our entire economic system. I wonder if the person who borrows the money should also be put to death? I mean, like when a man layeth with a man as a woman (Lev 18:22,) both parties go into it with their eyes open so shouldn’t everyone who’s reading this with a mortgage, credit card or student loan be put to death?

Even Jesus spoke out against usury more than homosexuality. That’s because Jesus NEVER spoke about homosexuality. It was the apostle Paul who, only after he cut the schmuck (foreskin) off of Timothy’s teenaged schmekel (penis) (Acts 16:3,) said people didn’t need to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2,) who spoke out against the gays (Corinthians 6:9-10.)

The most annoying part of Kempling’s unlettered rant was where he said that “some people aren’t happy with their sexuality.”

Yeah Chris..for a long time a lot of people hid that they were of mixed race on account of the ignorance which is rampant in society. My great grandmother went to her grave saying she was Dutch because people hated Germans after WW1.

Gay kids are 14 times more likely to kill themselves than kids who are not gay and people in society who support and promote the continued shaming, abandoning and pressuring of people to conform, need to give their heads a serious shaking.

Albert Camus said that it’s the responsibility of the thinking person to not be on the side of the executioners and the same concept applies here.

If Chris Kempling lined up the gays and prostitutes, like the ones I mentioned above for a good old bronze age stoning on one side of the street, which side of the street do you think his Lord and Saviour would be standing?

?

That’s what I thought.

Joey Jack

Human Rights Tribunal Affirms Well Known Truths

The recent decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal regarding the unfair treatment of Aboriginal children and their families by under funding of programs by the Federal government affirms what us in the Aboriginal world have known all of our lives.

We’ve been and continue to be treated like dirt by the Canadian government and our fellow Canadians.

Quick history lesson:
-Indians were rounded up and placed on plots of land, all other lands were taken from them
– Permission required to leave the reserve
– Children taken away and robbed of everything that made them people
– Having religion forced on them
– Being barred from hiring legal council
– Being barred from selling and buying goods from non-aboriginals
– Being banned from poolhalls
– Not having the right to vote federally until 1960
– Not having the right to a representative jury (the first Aboriginal juror served in 1972.)
– Sexist status policies robbed thousands of Aboriginal women of status whilst granting non-Aboriginal women “Indian” status
– Unfair funding cap put in place 20 years ago (looking at you Jean Chretien!)
– Over represented in prison populations, violent crimes and soup kitchens
– The findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission showing that non-Aboriginals were taught the same slanted and hurtful lessons about Aboriginal peoples

And now the Human Rights Tribunal has found that the previous HARPER government (feels good to write that) underfunded Aboriginal child welfare programs in the range of 22-34 per cent compared to non-Aboriginal children in care. These are innocent children remember.

Chip on my shoulder? No. The few items I mentioned above are just the superficial wrongs which most Canadians know, or at least should know, before they collectively shrug their shoulders while saying to themselves “meh, happened along time ago…” I’m not even going to get into the deeper racism which exists in our world and in my opinion played out very well during the OKIB/CN rail line debacle of 2015, but that’s another letter for another day. Let’s just say that the leaders of the Okanagan Valley can look to the coast for how to build meaningful relationships with Aboriginals.

What next?

I am holding out for the implementation of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to following through on.

I’m also holding out for Aboriginal leaders to show up to the table ready to do some of the heavy lifting. The capacity to provide the necessary services has to come from our own communities, from our own people.

It’s time for Canadians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror.

I’m often told, “I didn’t do anything to you, it was someone else.” Yes, you’re right, and when you ask aloud why some Aboriginals get their post secondary education paid for (also underfunded,) my response to you will be “Well we didn’t do anything..it was someone else.” I bet the majority of Aboriginals would’ve given up the free education part…had we known that it meant generations of our children would be subject to sexual abuse and systemic murder at the hands of the Canadians responsible for the Residential Schools.

Apology not accepted by the way, still in the cooling off period.

We’re stuck in this hostile holding pattern because since Confederation, Canada has treated Aboriginals as the junior partner. Our education system relegated us to the margins of history books, our governments deny our colonial history and if internet comment boards are any indication, at least 31.9 per cent of Canadians don’t think there’s a problem at all and if there is one, it’s not Canada’s.

Well I’m here to tell you it is Canada’s problem and until we air out this 150-year-old dirty laundry, reconciliation will never happen and the stink of racism will never go away.

Indians

When I was 21 years old a Kamloops grocery store denied my ability to purchase mouthwash.  “Some people drink it,” said the young lady, as she avoided eye contact. Naturally, I lost it and received a written apology from the manager of the store and the corporate office for what happened to me.

I get that many Okanagan people are subject to this example and far worse examples of racism from the wider society and after reading an article in the February Maclean’s magazine outlining just how racist our society is towards First Nations people, I agree that something must be done about it.

Another issue relating to racism and First Nations people is the issue of “brown on brown” racism or lateral violence amongst our own people. What purpose does it serve to put down your fellow First Nations person for not being “indian enough?” Sure, some of us don’t hunt or fish regularly, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how. Perhaps some of us are just as comfortable in the non-First Nations world as we are within the First Nation world.

What’s wrong with that?

What makes a person Okanagan? Is it being able to speak the language? Is it being able to recount the stories of our ancestors? When I was a boy, I asked my mom what it meant to be First Nations and she didn’t even pause for a moment when she said, “Proud.”

That was good enough for me.

So I guess I’m throwing a lifeline to all of the folks reading this who have felt they have been judged by other First Nations people. Things can and will get better for First Nations people when we figure out that we have common goals and the only way to reach those goals is to work together and not keep attacking each other.

It’s strange to  say, but I can almost accept Ignorant comments from non-First Nations people. I know the education system doesn’t serve them well when it comes to our issues.

What I find increasingly hard to do is to accept the racism from my fellow First Nations people. We should know better. Sure, I have a white grandma and I love her with all my heart. The lessons about love and reconciliation she has taught me will go with me to my grave.

I’m going to make a promise to be as accepting and open to the lives and viewpoints of my fellow humans, First Nations and Okanagans. I challenge anyone who is reading this to do the same. How can we demand honour and respect from the non-Okanagan world when we have a difficult time showing honour and respect for each other?

The Ballad of Geoff Ballard

Dear Editor,

I was troubled while reading your recent story about pigeons, or as I like to call it Curmudgeon: The Ballad of Geoff Ballard. When will the city of Kamloops stop creating bylaws based off of complaints? With all the hoopla of charging people exorbitant fines for minor offences I don’t want to end up having to pay $500.00 simply because I thought the left over buns from dinner might make a good snack for some birds. THEY’RE BIRDS! If what was said by the bylaw officer is true (that lots of complaints may prompt city council to enact a bylaw,) then please accept this as another complaint about useless bylaws. If you play music and are visited by a bylaw officer at 11AM on a Sunday afternoon because one of your neighbors complained about it, write the city a letter. If you have been fined for roasting marshmallows in your yard, write a letter. If you’ve been erroneously charged a high fine for a minor offence, write a letter. Let’s do better than that, let’s go to council ourselves in person and say, “hey, relax! We don’t need a bylaw to control every damn aspect of our lives, or the lives of birds!” Sheesh! I feel like Kamloops needs a tea party movement. It would be a bit more fun than the current w(h)ine and cheese party we’ve been subject to.

Joey Jack

Teachers

I wrote this years ago and I hope you’ll pardon the poor grammar/punctuation.

 

*******

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with three graduating students of the TRU education program. They will be certified teachers by the end of the school year.. which you know may have already happened. The reason they wanted to meet with me was so that I could discuss my experience in elementary school/highschool as an aboriginal student.

 

When I was first asked last week I wasn’t sure what kind of help I could be as I never felt my experience growing up as a student was anything exceptional from those who went to school with me.. to be honest I hadn’t given it any thought.

 

After a nice ice breaking easy going conversation we got into the heart of the matter. I talked about my little boy crush on my grade 1 teacher Mrs. Porter because she would write on my school work things like “HOORAY!” and “YOU MAKE ME :)” My desire for attention and affection began then. I talked about having both strict and easy going teachers but I always had teachers who were willing to push me to do better work. I really appreciated them.

 

Teachers like Mr. Paul Kipp, he was my 5th grade teacher and vice principal. He was the first teacher who ever said to his class “if you ever need to talk to anyone please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.”

Very early in my 5th grade year my brother tried to hang himself in our basement, he was only 13 years old and you know only recently have I realized how impactful that event was on my young life. I waited around after school and after much self pep talk I started walking back to the class room and he was walking out of the class. I stopped and asked him if I could talk to him for a few minutes.. and right away I started to well up with tears. I told him that I needed to talk to someone.. and I told him what happened and he was kind of shocked.. I missed a day of school.. and I remember him saying “what!? WHAT!? what happened?”

 

I really loved having him as a teacher and he pushed me to be better at my work and take my time and stop rushing my way through it just for the sake of being done. He taught me that sometimes the journey is half the fun. I was really glad to know him beyond an academic realm when I became friends with his daughter. Last year when I was taking this lame “coaching” class.. we were asked, as an icebreaker, to draw who was our best life coach and yep.. you guessed it.. at 27 I could only draw Mr. Kipp cept.. I suck at drawing and screwed up the eye so I had to give him glasses and I don’t remember him wearing glasses.

 

The second teacher I talked about was Mrs. Hyde. She was my third grade teacher and I remember how supportive she was of me growing up, she wanted me to not only be a good student, but also she was very keen on pushing the idea of being a good citizen. She was an older woman and she treated all of us very well. I know she had hard times with some of my classmates and she would let her frustration show but I always wanted her to like me. In 3rd Grade I received from our principal a citizenship award during an assembly. I was in the bathroom and as I walked into the gymnasium everyone was looking at me and I didn’t know why and then he called my name again “Joey Jack, grade 3 Mrs. Hyde”

My name was written in his “book” and I received a silver dollar from him.

 

How proud was I?!!?!?

 

At the end of the school year Mrs. Hyde called my house and asked my mom to send me back to school and she had something for me.

 

I arrived in the school and went to our class room and she handed me a little ziplock bag and asked me to open it. When I did I saw a hand made snowflake with her very distinct writing. She wrote on it that I was special and God Bless me always .

Love From Mrs. Hyde.

 

She included another silver dollar for me.

 

When I was telling these girls this story it brought back such a flood of memories. I started to cry. My word I was so upset hahah I don’t even know why. I suppose it was at that moment that I really liked school so much because it was always a good way to escape what was going on at home. I have nothing but respect for every teacher I have ever had. Each one of them treated me with dignity and respect and many of them took the extra time to give me extra support. They could see I was teased by my school mates and would make sure that I was smiling and knew that I was indeed very special.

 

This diatribe was more for me.. than for you.

Yeah I am a NERD I kept it all these years. I still have the silver dollars too!