WHAT READERS THINK
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Not just the chiefs
Re Canada, The AFN And The Duty To Consult (May 20): Karl Hele says that consulting individually with “hundreds of First Nations may appear daunting and perhaps time consuming.” The emphasis on “appear” and “perhaps” are mine.
What he fails to say is that First Nations must first take responsibility for creating their representative voice, not merely a lobby like the Assembly of First Nations, which is riven with internal dissent, unable to agree even on how to spend taxpayers’ funds to educate aboriginal youth.
It is time to create a structure enabling fruitful consultation for the benefit of First Nations citizens, not just their chiefs.
Michael Robinson, Toronto
To say sorry
As a descendant of a head-tax payee (my grandmother) and a railway worker (my grandfather), I feel there is an often-forgotten dimension to B.C.’s discriminatory legislation – and that is the good side of the Canadian judicial system (A Past To Regret, A Future To Embrace – editorial, May 20).
As early as 1885, Canadian courts struck down offensive provincial and municipal laws (e.g. a $10 licence fee for Chinese workers) as being unconstitutional. The courage of those plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ lawyers and judges must have been exemplary.
Japanese Canadians and aboriginals were often named in these laws as well, so Chinese Canadians should take pride that when we took action against anti-Chinese laws, we spoke on behalf of other affected groups, too.
We Chinese Canadians should not forget that although those early immigrants faced discriminatory laws, Canada gave them, and continues to give their descendants, and indeed all Canadians, a country free from civil war, governed by the rule of law and possessed of the conscience to apologize.
Ted Yao, Toronto