They Won't Question Liberals

July 1st, 2021 | RR

Update July 15, 2021: the term "mass grave" or "mass graves" has been replaced by "unmarked graves" following revelations that "mass graves" were never mentioned in preliminary reports or by First Nation chiefs. The term "mass graves" was a concoction by corporate media and journalists.


Between the 1970s and early 1990s, the infamous residential school system in Canada was fully run by the federal government. Strangely, you aren't hearing much from the corporate news media about the government's involvement. You definitely haven't been hearing anything from the current Liberal government. That's probably because the Liberal Party ran the federal government for a majority of the time that the government was responsible for running the residential school system.

Between 1969 and 1996 (when the last residential school was finally closed), the Liberal Party was in charge for 19 of those 27 years. In the beginning, when the federal government started taking full control of the residential schools, Pierre Trudeau was the prime minister. In total, Trudeau was prime minister for 9 years during the time that the residential school system was being run by Canada's Minister Of Indian Affairs.

Jean Chretien was Trudeau's Minister Of Indian Affairs between 1968 and 1974. He eventually went on to become prime minister in 1993, while Canada's federal government was still operating a handful of residential schools in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

In a hypothetical bet, it's likely that the corporate media and Liberals would have something to say if Conservatives ran the federal government for a majority of the time that residential schools were in operation. Justin Trudeau has had an ongoing habit of blaming everyone from Stephen Harper to Brian Mulroney for his government's own failings, so it should be expected that the narrative would be entirely different had Conservatives been in charge for 19 of the 27 years that residential schools were under full federal control.


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Had Justin's daddy not been prime minister at the time, we would probably be hearing a lot more demands for the government to release documents, letters, memos and correspondences from every involved ministry at the time. But, because history played out differently, we are only hearing about the Catholic Church and how terrible it was for doing what it did and for keeping its records tightly sealed.

To their credit, the last residential school was finally closed under a Liberal government. However, we still don't know what the governments of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien knew and when they knew it. Were these residential schools still burying dead kids in unmarked graves while Pierre Trudeau was prime minister? We know that indigenous children were still being taken from their homes and forced to attend these residential schools well into the 1970s.

Eventually, the truth will come out, whether Liberals want it to or not. Forensic analysis is sure to produce some answers about when some of the children were buried and how they might have died. If any of them died and were buried between 1969 and 1996, we should expect a shit storm to ensue. It's bad enough that all of this happened on Canadian soil, but if it happened while these schools were under full control of the federal government, we're dealing with a whole different can of worms.


It Looks More Like Genocide Now

When Justin Trudeau likened Canada's treatment of indigenous people to genocide a couple of years ago, most of us scoffed. At the time, there were no unmarked graves discovered. Genocide is when an entire group of people are killed or allowed to die in large numbers, or systemically over time. There had always been rumours and conspiracy theories, but never any real evidence. Now, we have some preliminary evidence.

Unlike the Americans, we never slaughtered swaths of natives. Instead, we screwed them out of land using deceit and lies. Instead, thousands of children were neglected and allowed to die. Very Canadian. 

Justin could have believed the stories from some indigenous elders all along, which were not yet backed by evidence, or he could have known something that was passed along from his father. Some will believe the latter, some won't. It's easy to say that it's a conspiracy theory, but so was the idea of "mass graves" of dead children, piled on top of each other, in a country like Canada. What we do know is that mistreating children and indoctrinating them in a cruel fashion is not genocide—but letting them die in mass numbers, or killing them, is.

All of this happened in Canada. Several Canadian governments let it happen over a century, but it should have stopped when the federal government took over in 1969. If it didn't, this scandal will take on a whole new personality. Canada wasn't a perfect country in 1969, but it should have been far beyond the primitive and barbaric practices of genocide and neglect. If it wasn't, a lot of people will have a lot to answer for.

Some of those people are dead, but some aren't.


What Did They Know?

Knowing about genocide and unmarked graves is one thing. Covering it up and hiding the evidence is another. Rumours about large, unmarked grave sites have permeated throughout several indigenous communities since residential schools were a thing, so when the Canadian government took over the operations, some information must have been passed along. Worse yet, it's possible the government may have been aware of the graves and kept them a secret.

Even worse than that, Indian Affairs could have extended the practices of the Catholic Church for a time after taking full control. All of this is conjecture and theory at the moment, but it seems unlikely that the federal government would not have had any knowledge of what went on at these schools when the transition of control took place. When a child died during this transition, or in the early years of federal control, what happened and how was it managed?

What did Jean Chretien know and when did he know it?

"Eventually, the truth will come out, whether Liberals want it to or not."

Unless the government immediately made drastic changes to practices and procedures, it's unlikely that things changed overnight—including the health and treatment of some of the children. Somewhere, there must be records of what happened and when. There must be government memos and correspondences between ministries and the prime minister's office. If so, where are those records?


The Trudeau Legacy

Under Pierre Trudeau, ideas about abolishing treaties and assimilating indigenous Canadians were taken very seriously. The infamous 1969 White Paper sought to eliminate all legal documents, treaties and status for Canadian First Nations, much in the same way residential schools were designed to do over time. The paper was issued by the Trudeau government in 1969, namely Jean Chretien.

Justin Trudeau's father proposed doing quickly what the residential school system failed to do gradually: assimilate.

The White Paper made a radical proposal to assimilate First Nations by eliminating the reserve system, abolishing the Indian Act and making every indigenous Canadian an equal citizen. At the time, the paper was met with wide condemnation from everyone, including First Nations, historians, academics and civil rights groups. It eventually ended up in the trash, but the intentions and legacy of the Trudeau government were permanently etched into Canadian history.

Essentially, Trudeau's White Paper aimed to dissolve native culture and to permanently erase First Nations and to instill and ingrain a white, Catholic way of life. As the residential school system was being handed over to the federal government, the Liberals were trying to speed up the process and to achieve the original goals of the system. Trudeau's government planned to expedite the assimilation and destruction of First Nations culture as it became clear that residential schools had failed.

Chew on those facts for a while.

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