Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Stepping up 

Following up on this story from two weeks ago about the terrible conditions at Pikangikum, I'm happy to note that the Guelph Tribune reports the Rotary Club of Wellington South has donated $12,000 to provide a reverse osmosis water purification system for the school.
At least its a start.
And I missed this at the time, but the federal Conservatives are acting to repeal a section of the Indian Act which prevents Aboriginal people from making discrimination complaints against band councils and the federal government. Some Aboriginal leaders are afraid of the potential impact on band councils. But it sounds to me like this change in long overdue and I applaud it:
Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a political group representing 49 First Nations across Ontario, hopes the bill may ultimately bring relief to people living in the kind of squalor most Canadians can only imagine.
His communities include Pikangikum, 250 kilometres north of Kenora, where most homes have no running water.
“In many areas there are minimum standards of what is acceptable and what isn't,” Mr. Beardy said. “And it's only recently that my young people have started to put pressure to make sure that those same rights are afforded to them.
“I think they'll demand that they have access to universal rights like everybody else.”
You know, whenever we are extenting human rights to a group that doesn't have them yet, we are told the same things -- that we can't do it, we mustn't rush, we need more time, society just isn't ready, and besides, we can't afford it.
Well, tough. We've got to do it anyway.
At least its a start.

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