Wednesday, April 20, 2005

BC Liberals - Racist, or Not: What Does Their Record in Office Say?

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a
bunch of privileged, wealthy, White people, with a few token
MLA's of colour, thrown into the mix. The BC Liberals have
made many public policy decisions that reflect racist, oppressive
and dishonourable intentions and contempt towards First Nations
people, immigrants and marginalized people around BC.

The Liberal cuts to Aboriginal, immigrant and English as-a-
second language (ESL) services should be viewed as the direct
and intentional acts of a racist and oppressive regime. Across
the board, individuals, families and communities have been
impacted by cuts to culturally relevant community supports
and resources. I would like the BC Liberals to explain how their
agendas, policies and cuts are helping the economic, educational,
employment and social conditions for First Nations people,
newcomers to Canada and other citizens of B.C. What quality of life
do the Liberals envision for these citizens of B.C.? Considering the
cuts to things such as multicultural workers in the schools and
community, as well as ESL classes, I’d like to see a public
accounting of what the BC Liberal government is doing with the
federal funds it receives from Ottawa for immigration and
settlement services.

BC received the lowest failing grade in language services
in 2002& 2004 in all if Canada and a marginal mark for settlement
services funded in 2004. “All Provinces and Territories offer
higher-level government funded adult ESL classes than is found
in BC.”

On April 1st, 2004 the BC Liberal government, in their infinite
wisdom, short sightedness and racist sentiment cut the
Native Court Workers and Counselling Association
funding from $2.04 million to $1.3 million. As the Association
states the Liberals already cut $400,000 from the organization
in June, 2002. The actions of the Liberals demonstrate dishonour,
disrespect and a continuation of government abuse of the First
Nations people. This organization has provided important support,
advocacy and healing to many Aboriginal citizens of the Province.

From 2002 to 2003, the organization assisted 11,153 people,
which represents a doubling of the number of youth and adults
seeking their support through their involvement in the criminal
justice system. This continues the legacy of disproportionate
representation and incarceration by dominant forces provincially
and federally. And how about the funding for supports in the
school system for First Nations students. More cuts. Smells like
racism to me. Again, I'd like to know if all the federal funding is
making it to the people who need it most.

First Nations people of BC must be on guard against the BC

Liberals pillaging the natural resources that lie within ancestral
lands and off-shore. The treatment of Aboriginal people by this
government must speak loud and clear for what treatment can
be expected when the Liberals come to take the resources for
their American cohorts. And that is happening, while you read this.

Other acts of racism towards Aboriginal people of BC: how about
the ridiculous and mean-spirited Treaty Referendum? This
insane proposal (and waste of tax payers money) illustrates how
racist and
stupid this government is in understanding the
complexities of the treaty process, legally enshrined Aboriginal
federal rights and the profound importance of self-governence
to the First Nations people of BC. Their ensuing cuts to the budgets
of Treaty and Negotiations offices also speaks loudly about the
respect and value the Liberals hold for
First Nations people.

Women and men of colour and immigrants have also been attacked
by the BC Liberals, fundamentally in the health care sector.
Privatization of hospital services, wage rollbacks and layoffs is
what women and men received from the Liberals. These are
BC families who are now struggling to survive.

The question the BC Liberals need to answer is do you care about
the future of First Nations, immigrants and people of colour in
the Province of BC? What do you think their answer is and
how much worse will they make things if they are in power for
another 4 years. For those of us who truly value ethno-cultural
diversity, the important contributions and work of all of BC's
citizens, don't vote Liberal on May 17th, 2005.

BC Treaty Commission.

CBC News Online, (July 02, 2004).
Indepth: Aboriginal Canadians:
B.C. treaty referendum.

CBC News Online, (Apr 08, 2002). Critics call for boycott of
B.C. treaty referendum.

Canadian Centre for Police Alternatives. (April 21, 2004).
Health care privatization eliminates pay equity gains:

BC now has lowest hospital support wages in Canada.

Sean Condon, (April 22, 2005). Aboriginal Rights: The
Campaign’s Hidden Issue.
Only Magazine. p.6.

Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, (2004).
2004 Inter-Provincial Report Card on Language and
Settlement Services in Canada.
Department of Citizenship
and Immigration Canada(CIC).

Scott Deveau, (
April 8, 2004). A Spring Loss.
The Tyee: A Feisty One.

Bill Pikett,
(February 22 2005). Another New Era
achievement: We're worst in the country in
language instruction for our immigrants.

Have You Had Enough Yet.

Pilar Riano-Alcala & Irene Policzer, (March, 2005).
Process Fails to Meet Community
Needs: A report on the state of
Settlement Information
and Support Services for Northeast and
East Vancouver

Union of BC Indian Chiefs, (July 4, 2002). BC Voters Reject BC
Liberal Government Treaty Referendum.

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