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Kashechewan Situation Shows Local Powerlessness

July 30, 2007

It seems that the Conservative government has chosen to rebuild the Kashechewan community in the same flood plain location, as oppose to relocate, contrary to the wishes of the locals.

Well, first of all, I must say that it is rather annoying that the Conservatives are still playing the “blame the Liberals for everything that goes wrong” game when, get this, they are in government:

Total relocation costs for the community were estimated at $500-million. The Conservatives said the Liberals never officially budgeted that cash, and that it’s too expensive to move the reserve.

But there is something more wrong here than simple partisan bickering. I think that the Kashechewan situation highlights the problems the result from current First Nation policy.

For instance, in the Kashechewan situation, one can clearly see how much power the federal government has over would should be local decision-making, via the Indian Act and reserve system.

So in the end, I’d say it’s high time to begin revamping First Nations policy by doing a major overhaul of the Indian Act, with the goal of improving power for First Nations at a local band level while reducing Ottawa’s power. But, that’s easier said that done, isn’t it?

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