MIDZAIN-GOBIN and SMITH: Not in the past: Colonialism is rooted in the present

Liam Midzain-Gobin, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brock University, and Heather Smith, Professor of Global and International Studies at University of Northern British Columbia, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about what they believe is an unwillingness by the Canadian government to move past a colonial relationship with Indigenous nations.

They write:

“At a press conference on March 9 after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about his commitment to the monarchy and, in particular, whether it sat uncomfortably beside his stated desire to “dismantle colonialism in this country.” 

 In response, Trudeau acknowledged:

“There are many institutions that we have in this country, including that big building right across the street from us, Parliament, that has, and is, built around a system of colonialism, of discrimination, of systemic racism.”

 During that same press conference however, when identifying solutions, Trudeau’s words changed. He began using the type of language we identify in a recent paper as “reconciliation lite.”

 In analyzing statements made by past Canadian leaders to the world, we found that their language promotes a myth of Canada as a non-colonial power. We use reconciliation lite to describe a narrative that recognizes the need to correct past harms, but sees this as a problem solved by multiculturalism or legal rights. This narrative continues to centre settlers and their interests, and is not a move to return land or authority, or rebuild meaningful relationships between the Crown, Canadians and Indigenous peoples.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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