Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A "Give me a Break" Moment Brought to you by...

I know that authors/journalists do not write titles/headlines. Normally a story covered, let's say a story out of Reuters or CP will be covered in both the G&M and NP, often with their own unique spin on the story.

Today, while perusing the NP website this headline intrigued me:

"Slow down on native rights bill, Tories told."

The same article is also in the Ottawa Citizen but while being the same source there is a different spin in the title.

"Native Women Slam Proposed Rights Bill"

A side note: I abhor when the word "slam" is used in sensationalist MSM

Anyway, that headline is certainly a different take on it, but that's not even what I wanted to talk about today.

Upon reading the article I found this paragraph:

"It really delights governments to picture First Nations as bullies who are oppressing their people," Ms. Eberts said. "There are some [Indian] bands that don't get it right, but in many, many cases they are doing what they can with insufficient resources."

This lawyer is not even making an argument here. First, I am certain that "governments" do not "delight" over this issue. Second, the lawyer makes the error of using a word like "governments" to over generalize and thus put a big fat hole in this crappy argument.

This is a common error but instead of using "governments" people usually use "society" in that "Society thinks...or Society believes..." But WE are society, and our government represents us through politicians. So is this lawyer saying that all Canadians delight to picturing this? That's probably not what she meant. Did she mean that some or all politicians delight over this issue? Did she mean that the current government or all governments in power delights to think this way?

Now that's just the first sentence.

Her second sentence is a bigger can of worms. "...doing what they can with insufficient resources." Now I can write a 30 page research paper on this or just offer you my opinion (without making sweeping generalizations I hope). First Nations are giving millions upon millions of dollars and are business savvy enough to make mucho dinero off governments (see James Bay agreements). I think another BT blogger once calculated the amount of money given to First Nations divided by their number rounded out to be about $30,000 (tax-free) per Aboriginal (anyone help with a link?). Clearly all of the money isn't being used properly.

So where is all of this money going? Last year I remember reading a BT blog post (can't find the link, can someone help me out?) about the mere suggestions of auditing First Nations' books was racist. But I still stand by supporting this notion, because as (1999) you can (2001) see, this (2005) remains an (2007) issue.

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