Canada, in many ways, is a much finer country than the US. After all, there is universal healthcare; Fox News doesn’t really exist there and thus doesn’t dominate political discussion; the NRA isn’t a thing; and people are fairly nice. Alas, there are areas where both countries act nasty. The treatment of indigenous populations is pretty bad in both lands. And Canada’s Conservative Party is also seeking to destroy the goodwill of the provinces like our own GOP. Mix them both together and we’ve got a toxic attitude about violence against indigenous women in Canada. It reminds me of the racist patriarchy our own GOP showed when the latest incarnation of the Violence Against Woman Act was brought before Congress. Remember a sticking point for Eric Cantor, etc, was in how much power Native Tribes had to pursue and take care of their own victims of sexual/domestic assault.
In other words, it’s both racism and sexism to the nth degree.
Because Canada is outside our usual US-focused jurisdiction and because the Aboriginal people of Canada are even moreso out of my zone of expertise, I think it necessary to do a bit of an overview. Aboriginals in Canada consist of Inuit, Indian, and Métis people and comprise roughly three percent of the entire Canadian populace. Like Indigenous populations in majority-white countries (particularly the US, but also Australia and even throughout much of Latin America), the Aboriginal people of Canada are marginalized, oppressed, and ignored.
Aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely than other Canadian women to be the victims of violence. Thirteen percent of Aboriginal women also reported being violently victimized within the last year – a rate three times higher than non-Aboriginal Canadians.
Between 1997 and 2004, while accounting for 3% of the entire Canadian population, Aboriginal people were 17% of homicide victims, with more than 7 times higher rates than non-Aboriginals. Aboriginal Canadians were also accused of homicide at rates 10 times higher than non-Aboriginals.
Numbers like these do not suggest that Aboriginal people are more prone to violence, but that they have been the targets of systemic ethnic, social, economic violence for generations. This is a constant thread throughout colonial history, whether the colonized/settled/enslaved people be Irish, Native American, Iraqi, South African, Indian, or West African. This means that there are larger systemic issues to be concerned about and doing business the same way will not help to reduce violence against indigenous women.
For several years, the amount of missing-and-murdered Aboriginal women was thought to be 824 over a period of around 60 years. However, partly due to pressure from Aboriginal groups, the Royal Canadian Mountie Police have recently completed a comprehensive study that puts the figure around 1200 over a period of only 30 years. With over 1,000 having been killed and almost two hundred have ended up missing. Again, if Aboriginals comprise only 3% of the entire Canadian population, then how can we they equal 16% of the homicide victims and 12% of the missing? In other words, indigenous women are four times as likely to be abducted or disappeared or taken than other Canadians. They are five times more likely to be murdered than other Canadians.
These are abysmal and terrifying figures. Imagine living in that kind of fear.
And the Conservative Party not only doesn’t care about violence against indigenous women, it highlights its lack of concern . When Public Safety Minister Blaney was asked to finally begin an inquiry into these homicides and missing persons, he belittled the study through partisanship and proudly noted his own counterproductive policies “As a father, I’m very proud to have supported more than 30 measures to keep our streets safer, including tougher sentencing for murder, sexual assault and kidnapping” Blaney sounds like a US conservative: F— studies and science; forget finding underlying reasons – lock them the hell up and pull the switch! Of course, Prison Culture not only doesn’t work to reduce crime, it keeps high-poverty areas in cycles of crime, violence, and poverty.*
Blaney then added that he would be happy to set aside pre-approved money for a study for this as long as the Liberal Party passes the Conservative Party’s crappy budget.
Gahd, they must be taking notes from our Congress.
Here’s to hoping that both Canada and the US cease treating our Native peoples so abysmally. And that our friends to the North don’t adopt more Fox Noise tactics. Because indigenous women of Canada are roughly five times more likely to end up missing and more than five times to end up murdered than their counterparts. And the Conservative government does a good job of appearing to not give two shakes.
Much like their counterparts to the South.
*If you need a study to confirm this, you probably need a study to confirm Global Climate Change.
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