Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received recognition as a liberal and forward thinking leader after his contribution to social movements such as raising the rainbow and transgender flags above Parliament Hill during Pride Month as well as having praised and congratulated those who partook in the Women’s March across Canada, an almost serendipitous series of events recognised by the Prime Minister, fitting of the Canadian peace-keeping-apologetic caricature subscribed to the nation.
Unfortunately for the First Nations of Canada, the supposed humanitarian image of Trudeau cannot be truly endorsed by Canadian First Nations when they are forced to live in what can be deemed as ‘developing world’ conditions despite living in what is arguably an economically, politically and socially progressive leading state. The Flint crisis sparked a huge wave of unrest amongst the public with GoFundMe pages rising and pages advocating for the American government to step in and take action, a similar incident occurred in Ontario in which the water was tainted and unsafe to drink, however action was taken in 2001 in order to clean the water supply system with promises made to the public that this would never again become an issue.
The average Canadian citizen has access to drinkable tap water, the possibility that their water may be contaminated not being a passing thought in the process of filling their glass, however for indigenous peoples of Canada living in reserves subject to boil water advisory for over 20 years. First Nations living in Canadian reserves are forced to boil their drinking water in order to clear up the contaminated water system.
“This country has become rich on the backs of our resources, Canada is not paying their bills to us, they’re not paying the rent that is owed to us.” – Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana First Nation
Canada’s relationship with its indigenous population has been nothing short of what can be described as ‘problematic’ for lack of a better word, for example let’s take a look at the horrendous segregated hospitals for indigenous peoples used for testing experimental operating in Canada, including in residential schools, in fact a settlement case as recent as 2016 was won against the Newfoundland Federal Government however Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is yet to apologise to the 800+ survivors of the residential experiments who fought to win the case. Furthermore, Justin’s inability to respond to the pleas of the indigenous population in taking action on finding the hundreds of indigenous women that have disappeared under unclear circumstances only goes further to demonstrate the dense societal gap between Canada and First Nations.