Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 30, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
First Nation voice calls for Church lump sum payments
Re: Residential Schools Revisited (WCR, June 9).
These comments are provided to give readers additional information.
It is tiring to rehear a rewriting of history which claims that Europeans and their descendants created the "first hospitals and schools." Legal, social, educational, medical, pharmaceutical, economic, spiritual and other institutions existed prior to colonization. That immigrants could not identify and understand such does not mean they did not exist.
This bringing of institutionalized medicine and education is often used as justification for enforced enculturation. We had linguists before contact and such paper tools mentioned assisted to preserve languages beaten out of indigenous heritage language speakers.
Reported abuse, neglect, etc. is recorded in letters and reports prior to 1991. Individuals who put words to paper or verbally complained were threatened with a variety of benefits, including withdrawal of welfare.
Testimony regarding treatment provided to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and other agents/agencies of the Canadian government and Church authorities is numerous. If the "abuse" is merely "unsupported claims" then why did the Canadian federal government and various churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, bother to issue apologies for behaviour, attitude and treatment. Why apologize if there just isn't enough supportable testimony?
Why consider only physical and sexual abuse? These are criminally chargeable offences. In other compensations, for example, Japanese housed in internment camps no such demand for supportable claims was required. However, "Indians" are instructed that they can only proceed with criminal offences: which means lawyers.
Combatants include First Nations persons themselves where the plaintiff must prove a case, now too well documented in reports, recommendations, testimony, court documents, films and general media. The language here is anything but "alternative" or "conciliatory" when words like "battles" present pitched adversarial stances.
We ended up in courtrooms because no one wanted to listen, to heal, to reconcile or compensate before the legal system was seen as the wake-up call.
If so costly, why not just settle with lump sum payments? Why a need to "battle" to the financial detriment of the Roman Catholic Church? What is won by waiting for mandated settlement?
Why penalize this and future generations of Catholics to the point of having "to curtail" Roman Catholic "pastoral activities as the current process drags out?" Do Church authorities believe there will no Church if they settle and end up with empty bank accounts?
For nine months, with an Aboriginal Healing Foundation project, I facilitated a focus group and talking circle with three generations of Youville Indian Industrial School attendees, without funding from the Roman Catholic Church.
The Canadian government responded to "claims" with a funded aboriginal healing foundation.
If the Roman Catholic Church is concerned with wasted dollars which could be redirected to healing, then why did Church authorities not initiate and fund a healing foundation? Why the willingness to pay lawyers but not financially assist the claimants - unless through legal methods?
How can you assist? Ask your Church and state authorities to conclude this matter. Pay the incarcerated who deserve it more than the lawyers.
Our names and some of our pictures too are all in your files.
Dr. Sharilyn Calliou
Gov't did 'right thing' regarding gay marriage
I would like to take issue with the June 23 WCR editorial, "What about the Children?" The greatest fault I find with this editorial is that, like most editorial pieces against same-sex marriages, it doesn't back up its arguments with any rational substance. However, at least it doesn't resort to that all too commonly used religious argument of, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."
The editorial contends that to recognize same-sex unions as marriages will somehow make children less important in society and will hurt families. "To view marriage this way is to undermine society's future." To argue the point, the editorial brings up a litany of societal ills such as birth control, abortion, divorce and in vitro fertilization, as if they have anything to do with same-sex marriage. Is the author suggesting that they are all part of some big gay conspiracy?
In the 2001 census, Statistics Canada counted 34,200 "same-sex common-law" couples in Canada, or about 0.5 per cent of all couples (a number that is likely very low). Of these, over eight per cent reported raising children. These are couples who are making "family and children absolutely central" to their lives.
Are children raised by loving, nurturing and caring same-sex parents being irrevocably damaged? Are homosexuals less capable of loving their children?
Much more disturbing, the editorial implies that the only reason that gays and lesbians want to have their unions recognized as marriages is that they want to destroy the institution. "It will always be that most men and women will yearn to be married." "No court can stop that." This notion is beyond absurd and borders on hatred.
Many years ago, when I was coming out, a good friend of mine told me that he was deeply saddened to find out that I was gay. It was not because I was gay, but because he had always felt that, of all his friends, I was the one who would make the best parent. I told him not to worry, someday I will be a father. A few years later, I was the best man at my friend's wedding.
As the editorial states, "Marriage is . . . an institution natural to being human." What the author doesn't realize is that this holds true for homosexuals as well as heterosexuals.
Thankfully the federal government has finally found the courage to do the right thing. To demonstrate respect to same-sex couples and families. To stand up against fear and hatred. I would suggest that the author of this editorial should get over his or her fears and spend some time getting to know some gay and lesbian people. He or she would be much richer for it. He or she might even make some friends.
Dr. Tim Heaman
Kenney's defence of U.S.- Iraq war draws Catholic outrage
Given my Christian outlook, it is hard to address the misguided comments of an individual who purports to speak out on behalf of the Catholic faith, albeit in ignorance, with the loving forgiveness Jesus demands of us. However the comments of Jason Kenney, in the WCR of June 2, beg for comment.
On the one hand, this individual speaks out staunchly "on behalf of the promotion of the inviolable dignity of the human person." He then has the unmitigated gall, to stand on the public podium as a "responsible public authority" and defy the magisterial teaching of the Church and the pope's duty and authority to determine whether the was against Iraq was a just war.
He seems to claim the "divine right of kings," when as a backbench Opposition MP he tried to rally people to support an unlawful and immoral war on his "exclusive" authority "as the responsible authority" to make that decision."
He castigated six prime ministers for failing to stand for their own belief in the sanctity of life in the public arena by tacitly supporting the "deliberate destruction of human life" in the legalization of abortion. He then sanctioned the killing of tens of thousands of innocent lives by counselling people to support an illegal and immoral war in Iraq.
To the extent that his political calling takes him away from the Ten Commandments (thou shall not kill) and the sanctity of life teaching of Jesus, his call is not from God. Christian politicians are called to model the values of Jesus in their own lives. They are obliged to bring their values to the political debate on issues affecting the common good. Their values must not be simply set aside for the sake of party unanimity.
This "man of integrity" tells us that "as a Catholic legislator I cannot and do not seek to impose my Catholic faith on anybody." Thank God for that!
As a starter, I would suggest that he pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read it with the help of a Catholic priest, and then, like Zacchaeus, come down out of the tree to answer Jesus' call to conversion to his values. Call the pope and apologize!
Iraq war premise doubted
The letter by Ted Zdunich states in part that the money spent on the war on Iraq was well spent (WCR, June 23).
Here is the real story regarding this war. The war on Iraq was based on lies and fabrication. We were told that Iraq possessed big quantities of weapons of mass destruction and they had ties to the al-Qaida terrorist organization. Another reason given for the attack was to liberate the people from a cruel dictator and bring democracy to the people.
No weapons of mass destruction or connection to al-Qaida were found. The creation of a multinational oversight board to control Iraq's oil industry, and the choice of an American to head it, means that Iraqis will not have a free hand to run the industry. This board will reflect a distinctly American agenda.
Recent estimates show that 26,300 Iraqi civilians and soldiers have so far died in this unnecessary conflict. Many of the hospitals and other buildings were damaged and looted except the oil industry buildings, which were protected by the coalition forces. The economy has collapsed. There is a shortage of water, food and medical care.
In a true democracy there is freedom of speech including freedom of the press. American forces recently raided an Iraqi newspaper and arrested some of its workers.