Sunday, February 3, 2013

Professor John Milloy of Trent University Speaks Back to Sun Media

Here's the latest from John Bird, Program Coordinator for Aboriginal Justice and Right Relations with the United Church of Canada.
-- Sheena

Sent to all on the national Living Into Right Relations email list. Please circulate widely wherever Sun-owned newspapers are distributed.

Hello Friends:

Here is a reply by Professor John Milloy of Trent University to a column on Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence by Peter Worthington that appeared in The Peterborough Examiner, and I imagine all or most of the Sun Media outlets.

Thanks to John Milloy for writing it, and to Jean Koning for bringing it to our attention.


John Bird, Program Coordinator
Aboriginal Justice and Right Relations
United Church of Canada
3250 Bloor St. W., Suite 300, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4
416-231-7680 or 800-268-3781, Ext. 4045
Cell: 416-988-5310


From the Jan. 31, 2013 e-edition of The Peterborough Examiner:

Re "Spence gets attention but that's all" ( Column, Jan. 28) -

Peter Worthington's column is simply grotesque: from its cruel comment on Bobby Sands - "it was a self-liquidating problem" - to its abysmal ignorance of the history and the current state of First Nations affairs.

For example, we have 600 or so chiefs because those chiefs were created by the Indian Act passed by the government of our founding Prime Minister, Sir John A., and forced on communities ever after. Yes, those tribes Mr. Worthington denigrates are nations. The British Imperial government declared that in the Proclamation of 1763, which became part of our new constitution in 1982. Clearly, according to Mr. Worthington, who as far as I know does not have a law degree, a series of Supreme Court justices, who have confirmed that idea, have got it wrong.

And, as former Prime Minister Paul Martin pointed out recently, First Nations asked for help managing their funds and the Kelowna Accord provided for a special auditor general for First Nations. Prime Minister Harper refused to help, has refused to make that appointment. Is it not blaming the victim to complain about Chief Spence's accounting given that fact and the fact that the Department of Indian Affairs, in providing a third rate education (currently the subject of an inquiry by the Human Rights Commission in Ottawa) to communities, has not equipped First Nations governments to cope with such responsibilities.
Finally, may I remind The Examiner and its readers that one of the leading educational programs the department conducted from 1883 to 1996, in service to Worthington's much vaunted integration, was residential schools and that their deplorable legacy of cultural destruction and personal dysfunction caused the Prime Minister to stand in Parliament and deliver an historic apology, if only to escape the pain of the financial penalties of thousands of court cases launched by abused exstudents.

I am not surprised by Mr. Worthington's baseless opinion; he is who he is. I am disappointed that The Examiner, published just down the road from Trent's Department of Indigenous Studies, where the facts of the situation can be had, did not care to ask for a more informed column. I think that would have served the interests of your readers more than the ideological diatribe of Mr. Worthington you decided (or were told?) you had to print.

PROF. JOHN S. MILLOY Department of Canadian Studies Trent University


P.S. - And while it irks me to do anything to promote the writings of people for the Sun media group, here is a url for Peter Worthington's original column:

And in case you think it doesn't matter what the Sun publishes, here's what its own website says about its reach. It's probably a pretty safe bet that Worthington's column appeared in at least one Sun-Media-owned newspaper near you. No wonder Canadians are confused about Aboriginal issues:

"Sun Media Corporation, a subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is Canada's largest newspaper publisher, based on the circulation of paid and free newspapers, publishing over 15.1 million copies each week.

With 36 paid-circulation daily newspapers and 6 free dailies in 9 of the 10 largest urban markets in Canada, each with its own dedicated website, and almost 200 community newspapers, shopping guides and other specialty publications, Sun Media Corporation's English and French language newspapers and websites make it a leading provider of local news and information.

Sun Media Corporation includes the activities of Osprey Media and, an integrated enterprise offering e-commerce, information and communication services that operates a network of Internet portals that attracts over 10.5 million unique visitors per month in Canada, including 5.7 million in Qu├ębec."

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