No substantive post today. I’m in the middle of writing up a series of posts on military procurement which should be fairly interesting (predicting what I think will be the next, bigger scandal after the F-35), and I think I’ve said all that needs to be said with respect to the racist nonsense that is increasingly being spouted in the media in reaction to Theresa Spence’s hunger strike.
It’s a disastrous state of affairs. If Stephen Harper was going to meet with her, he would have done so over Christmas, while the hunger strike was still in its early stages and he could have been seen as being full of charitable feelings thanks to the holiday season. At this point, we’re down to brass tacks: whether Spence is actually willing to die here or not. It’s clear that Harper either thinks she is not, or simply doesn’t care. Which, judging by the media’s reaction to the affair, was a correct calculation on his part.
Pack up both Attawapiskat and Kashechewan, and raze both communities on the way out.
Yeah! That’ll do it!
Sixth Estate will continue to cover Spence’s hunger strike, and will continue to hope for a resolution that doesn’t end with her death, but at the same time we need to be realistic about this. If Spence means it when she says the choice is between death and a summit with Harper, right now I think the odds favour her death. This is an incredibly callous calculation on the part of the government, which could have dispensed with the matter a week ago by giving her an entirely unproductive but symbolic afternoon-long meeting with Harper and the Governor-General.
But it’s also a rational calculation on the part of the government. If Spence dies, it will be a serious problem for aboriginal affairs in Canada for the next 20 years. If more aboriginal leaders join her in her hunger strike, Harper might just concede, because if even more people die, that serious problem will become a catastrophe as well as a considerable embarrassment to the Conservatives on the international stage. But as long as Spence is alone, and as long as the Conservative base appears to be generally in favour of taking a hardline position, then Harper may feel he suffers very little from this, whatever the outcome. He’s learned that he only needs around 35% of the Canadian population to maintain power. If you’re not in that 35% and you’re very angry with his policies, well, that isn’t really a problem for him, is it?Tweet