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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Many of us might be reduced to such hopelessness if we lived the way these people live.

There are no good prospects for jobs.

There is little opportunity for education.

There are limited opportunities for recreation.

There is isolation.

There is rapid population growth, quickly reducing the housing stock to utter inadequacy.

Canada desperately needs an enlightened policy to encourage and assist remote young people to leave the reserves for an opportunity at real life.

Only a relatively small population can be sustained by hunting and fishing, and only a relatively small population is even interested in it.

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Poor parenting only contributes greatly to the problems.

I’m not blaming the parents but just stating an unpleasant fact.

Parents who already are demoralized and hopeless cannot possibly provide sound parenting.

Even in places like Toronto we see the effects of this. Our buck-passing teaching establishment constantly plays the nasty game of stressing the parents’ responsibility, Instead of rolling up their own sleeves to make sure kids are better than their poor parents.

But the ugly truth is many people are parents only by accident and themselves have no skills, no education, and no great hope. The kids may have been conceived in drunkenness, and there may be a number of fathers, each of whom takes no responsibility.

This certainly describes the root problem of Toronto’s poor urban areas experiencing mindless violence, areas like Jane and Finch.

For all the chest-thumping stuff we’ve heard recently about residential schools – and there were ugly abuses – we miss the fact that likely most of the people involved meant genuinely to help, and likely did in many cases. The idea behind the schools had merit, but the execution was flawed and poorly overseen.

We need a 21st century, enlightened program to offer hope and progress. There really is no other logical answer.

No country can afford to equip hundreds of remote communities with all the modern advantages, communities moreover where the facilities will be outgrown in one generation with explosive population growth.

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