Michael Harris writes this morning that his support for native issues is meeting some strong resistance:
Consider this response to my last column on aboriginal issues, which predicted that unless the federal government abandons the status quo, there will be big trouble in the land of peace, order and good government — and sooner rather than later:
“What you fail to grasp Michael is the widespread support Harper has amongst the white majority in Canada regarding the natives. The vast majority of Canadian whites are fed up with the natives. The natives may be fed up with us as well. However, that doesn’t matter, we have the population, the money and the guns.”
Recent polls suggest that the commenter isn't alone:
A recent Ipsos-Reid poll found that 81 per cent of Canadians were against more funding for aboriginals unless the monies were strictly audited; 66 per cent believed that natives already receive enough funding; and 60 per cent thought that aboriginals have brought their problems down on themselves.
So, if Stephen Harper continues to treat Canada's First Nations with disdain, he would appear to have white Canadians on his side.
But, as I read the reaction to Harris' last column, I was reminded of a meeting I attended forty-five years ago. I was a young student teacher, a rube from Canada, preparing to enter the public schools of North Carolina. We neophytes met with a group of young black activists. For three summers American cities like Los Angeles, Detroit and Washington had burned. One of our number suggested the African Americans were hopelessly out numbered. "There are 280 million of us," he said, "and only 22 million of you. And we have the guns."
I have always remembered her response. "Shit," she said. "I'd rather die standing up than on my knees." You could see the storm coming before it broke.