The next issue I wish to discuss is one that many humans in Canada are aware of and one that is a result of the way Canada’s history has transpired over the last roughly 500 years. The issue is that of Canadian Aboriginal funding and if the Canadian government should continue to allocate funds to those humans who identify as such.
First of all we need a bit of background. Of course, before Europeans first major contact with the North American continent around the end of the 1400’s, the Aboriginals were the primary residents of what is now known as Canada. Most Canadians went through Canadian history in school, and therefore most are already aware of many details such as the brutal taking of land, spreading of disease and widespread genocide of the Aboriginal people over the next couple hundred years. There was also the major issue in the 1900’s of the government funded residential school system where many children were taken from their families and brutalized in these Christian church administered buildings whose clear goal was to integrate them into a more “white and proper” society and destroy their culture over time.
Statistics Canada says that as of 2011, almost 1.5 million humans in Canada identified as an Aboriginal, which was about 4% of the total population of Canada at the time. The Canadian government has attempted to correct the wrongs of history by supplying funding for those who identify as Aboriginals. I believe that those humans who identify as Aboriginal Canadians should not be given checks in the mail every month to do with as they see fit. They should be given assistance in many different forms by the Canadian government so that they can make a proper living for themselves.
The kinds of assistance that should be supplied could be in the form of lower tuition rates at post secondary schools such as universities and trade schools. Education is very important to everyone and it can help make aware more opportunities out in the world that could be of help to those who will work for them. Social programs and support groups such as those for depression, suicide, drug addictions, alcoholism would be extremely important to improve the quality of life for Aboriginals people. When compared to the rest of the Canadian population, suicide, drug addiction and incarceration rates are very lopsided and needs to be addressed. This can be avoided if the government spent more time and effort into real help and not just throwing a check at them every month.
Other forms of assistance could be in the form of being placed in a lower tax bracket, assistance in acquiring jobs, more funding for those who attend school and monetary assistance for those enrolled in programs and who show progress in their attempt to curb their drug addiction, alcoholism, etc.
Of course, I cannot hope to cover all the issues that could arise and those that are already out there. In the long run, the Canadian government should be able to eventually stop funding to this specific group of humans; this cannot go on forever and money could be better spent on programs helping Canadians as a whole have better opportunities in life. Ideally, a few generations should be all that it takes. Aboriginal culture is an important part of Canada’s heritage and should be preserved as well as possible. The languages, history and spirituality making up Aboriginal culture should not be simply phased out but integrated into the Canadian consciousness for the possibility of being enjoyed by all.
It would be fantastic to get to a place where it is not Aboriginals versus the rest of Canadians but to a place where all humans of Canada can coexist peacefully, move away from the harsh past, and move forward into a brighter and inclusive future.