Right in the centre - Look to the future, learn from the past


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

If the various blockades and protests being carried out across Canada are any indication, it’s time for Canada to move on. Most of the blockades and protests are illegal. Not only that, they are causing harm to everyone, including those protesting. If the blockades and protests were being carried out by non-Indigenous people, they would be over. They would all be removed and protesters possibly charged with various offences.

It is becoming more apparent as each day goes by that the laws of the land are not being applied equally in Canada and that is a sad thing.

I would be the first to defend Indigenous people when it comes to acknowledging that there have been many things go wrong for them in Canadian history.

The Indian Act is a bad piece of legislation. The home ownership problem on reserves is not a good situation. Many aspects of the residential school system were negative. The list goes on and on. In Manitoba’s history, the role played by Louis Riel has been misunderstood for 150 years. Riel had his pluses and minuses, but I have always been a Riel defender.

The blockades and protests going on these past few weeks should end. Protesting has become an art form and an industry in itself, but it is not advancing anybody’s well-being. Canada needs to develop its resources. The illegal protests, coupled with government inaction to bring them to an end, are standing in the way of that development. Ironically, the protested resource development has been agreed to by most of the communities involved. The development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) would actually reduce pollution, as it could be used in countries that currently burn a lot of coal.

What the protesting people need to understand is that, in spite of how much they may want to be compensated, no matter how much they object to resource development, or how much they want to revert to old traditional ways of life, resource development is a net benefit to their communities, to the rest of Canada and to the world.

The time has come for Canada to quit living in the past. The past is a great place to visit, but a poor place to dwell. It’s time to move on, time to acknowledge all the past mistakes and hurts and biases, yes, but move on.

Develop our resources, get clean water and proper sewage in every community in the nation. Educate our people, strengthen our health care and concentrate on what’s good for all Canadians. Let’s re-direct our efforts within our borders. Maybe it’s time to reduce our role in the United Nations, foreign aid and foreign wars. I know it’s time to stop subsidizing businesses.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.