Reading the current issue of The Economist last night, I came across two Letters to the Editor which caught my attention. One angered me. And the other pleased me.
First the anger. Readers of this blog from Canada might like to respond to this letter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIR – The principal reason why Canada's aboriginal policy has failed is the unrealistic and unreasonable basis of aboriginal rights (“This land is my land”, September 16th). These are special rights ceded to native minorities simply for having arrived here earlier, but they are rights which are also incompatible with existing federal and provincial legislation on issues such as resource development. Moreover, natives have no moral claim to these rights. The group of First Nations are demanding rights that they denied each other historically. Elaborate warrior cultures attest that conflict and conquest were rampant in pre-Columbian times and there certainly was no conception of dominant newcomers respecting the rights of people who were already there. This does not imply that Canada's First Nations have no legitimate grievances, but settlements should be based on need, common sense and fairness to all Canadians, not on special rights for the few or to right historical wrongs.