They Spent $8,000,000 Without Putting One Shovel In The Ground

That’s how much money the Kamloops Band spent on…..exactly what we have no idea. If you remember, that indigenous band claimed that the people running the local residential school had, […]

That’s how much money the Kamloops Band spent on…..exactly what we have no idea. If you remember, that indigenous band claimed that the people running the local residential school had, for unexplained reasons, secretly buried 215 of the students under their care. They had no evidence that would have stood up in any court in the western world to back up that highly unlikely claim. But the federal government immediately gave them $8,000,000 to……well, that’s the mystery. What did they spend that money on? They have not put one shovel in the ground, but apparently they have somehow spent the $8,000,000 of taxpayers’ hard earned money. It was claimed that the money would be used to uncover the “heartbreaking truth”. But the only heartbreaking truth seems to be the complete waste of tax dollars.But it gets worse. A whole lot worse.

Because the Trudeau government- in addition to lowering the flag for six months, and performing teddy bear pantomimes in community ceremonies – then went on to promise not just $8,000,000, but $320,000,000 – to any other indigenous community that wanted to make similar claims.

It should come as no surprise to any sentient being that dozens of poor indigenous communities immediately took the bait and claimed the prize.

So, the result is that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent somehow. But with no graves found. In fact, none have even put a spade in the ground.

Well, that’s not completely correct. The Pine Creek community in Manitoba was absolutely convinced that the stories about indigenous children dying under sinister circumstances, and being secretly buried under the local church, must be true. After all, they had all heard those stories.

The stories weren’t true. Excavations went ahead, and what was found? Stones.

The stories about priest murders and secret burials are just that. Stories. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars that should be spent on useful endeavours – like providing better health care for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians – are being wasted. Rural paramedic services are being constantly cut back, for example. How many rural residents- indigenous as well as non-indigenous- will die from heart attacks because the paramedics were simply too far away from them to get them to the hospital in time to save their lives.There’s no money to improve rural medical services because millions are being wasted searching for phantom “missing children” and “unmarked graves”?

Canadians are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been had. Somebody is getting rich on all of this government largesse. But it’s not poor indigenous Canadians. They remain stuck on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. And medical and other essential services go wanting, because of this complete waste.

So, are there people in “unmarked graves”?

Absolutely. Billions of them in fact. This planet is basically one huge graveyard. The number of marked graves, with headstones naming the person interred, is a tiny fraction of the billions of people who have died on this planet.

Are the remains of some of the children who died from disease while attending residential school in unmarked graves? Absolutely. For that matter, so are the remains of many of the children who attended day schools, or no school at all in unmarked graves. There is nothing sinister about this fact of life. It simply means that the families of those children did not keep up the graves and cemeteries where the children were interred. (The vast majority of children who died while enrolled in residential schools are buried on their home reserves). This is not a criticism of those families. In fact, some of those families might have died out, and cemetery upkeep became impossible. Others just had different priorities.

So, what we have is just a sad fact of life. Many children died of diseases a hundred plus years ago who would not have died today. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. And indigenous children died in much greater numbers, for many different reasons. Tuberculosis, in particular, was a major killer of indigenous people.

In fact, tuberculosis is still 290 times higher in the indigenous community than in the mainstream community.

But the fact that death from disease was so much higher in the indigenous community than in the non-indigenous community has nothing to do with residential schools. It has nothing to do with the people running the schools, many of whom devoted their lives to working with indigenous people.

So, we come around to the question – why is $320,000,000 being spent to find the long lost burial places of children, simply because their families decided – for reasons of their own – to not keep up their gravesites? Because it is not true that there are thousands of “missing children” as alleged. Rather, as Professor Tom Flanagan puts it, in “Grave Error”, there are thousands of “forgotten children”. And as the special interlocutor, Kimberley Murray puts it, “These children are not missing, they are buried in local cemeteries”.

Perhaps that’s the reason that Murray’s upcoming National Gathering on Unmarked Burials has been postponed. Because there is nothing to say. Her six figure salary, and those of all of her staff and associates – to say nothing of the $320,000,000 that has been spent – somehow – on searching for phantom graves and phantom “missing children” – could have been better spent on the real needs of living children.

We are approaching the three year anniversary of the Kamloops claim that 215 children from the local residential school had been somehow killed and secretly buried in the apple orchard on the school grounds. There was no good reason to believe that highly improbable claim in the first place. It was only the foolish and emotional reaction of the Trudeau government, and the incompetence of the media that persuaded Canadians that they should take that nonsensical claim seriously in the first place.

It is time to get back to sanity. Treat those who claim – with no real evidence – that priests murdered and secretly buried children – exactly the same way that we treat those who claim that the Martians have landed, or that aliens have abducted their mothers.

Be polite. But don’t finance their delusions.

 

Brian Giesbrecht, retired judge, is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

 

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