Alberta First Nations members from Treaty Six are calling for the resignation of Premier Jason Kenney’s speechwriter for his 2013 column dismissing what he referred to as the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential college system.
“Any authorities with an curiosity in constructing belief with Indigenous communities should maintain their staff accountable for blatantly discriminating in opposition to Indigenous peoples, particularly when working to realize reconciliation,” reads a assertion launched by the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations on Friday.
Kenney speechwriter Paul Bunner has been underneath fireplace this week after a sequence of columns and articles he wrote from the late 1990s to 2016 resurfaced.
Within the articles, Bunner dismissed the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential college system and mentioned Indigenous youth could possibly be “ripe recruits” for violent insurgencies.
In subsequent articles launched by Alberta’s Opposition NDP, Bunner additionally referred to an Alberta First Nation as an “oppressive, collectivist regime.”
Within the assertion, Treaty Six mentioned it was the “highest shame” for a authorities official to disparage one of many best tragedies in the neighborhood’s historical past.
The assertion goes on to criticize Bunner’s competition that Indigenous youth may be “ripe recruits” for insurgencies, calling that assertion dehumanizing.
“Paul Bunner’s article was revealed after the Indian Residential College apology in 2008, and it’s clear that he doesn’t have the power to see previous his personal privilege and prejudice to apologize for insulting our Indian residential college survivors and their kids,” the assertion reads.
“Upholding the honour of the Crown ought to imply instantly firing the federal government staffer Paul Bunner.”
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CBC Information has reached out to a spokesperson within the premier’s workplace for remark. On Friday, a spokesperson mentioned that Bunner’s views had developed over time.
‘I am simply appalled’
Marlene Poitras, regional chief in Alberta for the Meeting of First Nations, referred to as Bunner’s statements “disgusting” and mentioned he ought to resign.
Bunner’s articles, she mentioned, talk about First Nations, homosexuality, ladies’s rights, “and the checklist goes on and on.”
“The premier ought to take heed of the requires his resignation and launch him instantly,” Poitras mentioned.
Cora Voyageur, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and a professor specializing in Indigenous sociology on the College of Calgary, is herself a residential college survivor.
She mentioned she was shocked to learn Bunner’s feedback concerning residential faculties, particularly given the headway she feels the Kenney authorities has made with Indigenous communities in Alberta.
“I consider that the previous authorities, the Rachel Notley authorities, made numerous headway with the Indigenous neighborhood, and there was momentum there. I believe that Kenney is making an attempt,” Voyageur mentioned. “However I assume that Paul Bunner must be let go…. What the information have proven is that these articles have come out over various years, and his stance has remained the identical.
“They’re simply unhelpful to a regime that’s making an attempt to succeed in out to the Indigenous neighborhood.”