Check your white male privilege Andrew Scheer - 2020-02-16
On February 14, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made the shocking statement that protesters and activists need to "check their privilege" and let people whose jobs depend on the railway systems get to work. In this case, it is Scheer who needs to check his own privilege. His comments appear to be racially motivated as the people occupying the rails in Ontario are very obviously Indigenous peoples. Scheer's comments reflect worn out stereotypes about Indigenous peoples that are not worth repeating, but are not based on facts. These kinds of comments serve only to promote societal division and manufacture hatred towards a specific group -- Indigenous peoples.
Scheer's white male privilege as a top 1 per cent income earner (according to Statistics Canada) stands in stark contrast to the staggering socio-economic conditions of the majority of First Nations peoples in Canada. First Nations have the highest rates of poverty in the country, the lowest health indicators and the highest rates of suicide in the world. Far from "privilege," their under-privilege is a direct result of the violent colonization of their territories and the continued oppression of their peoples.
In 2019, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls found, as a matter of fact and law, that Canada is guilty of both historic and ongoing genocide. Both the Organization of American States and the United Nations expressed deep concern about this finding and officials have offered to assist Canada address this. So far there has been no urgent action to address ongoing acts of genocide against Indigenous peoples. The rates of Indigenous overincarceration continue to skyrocket with Indigenous women (less than 2.5 per cent of the population) making up 42 per cent of those in federal prisons. Why? Aside from noting many areas of discrimination within the justice system, the Office of the Correctional Investigator expressed concern that the federal corrections system seems "impervious to change."