Monday, April 11, 2005


Stop the insanity.

The David Ahenakew case in Saskatchewan is turning into a three-ring circus. First, this guy is nuts. That is not a racist statement, but rather a fact. One should care little about his race, but instead focus on this ludicrous comment.

Flashback - Ahenakew, 69, was charged after he made a speech as a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations senator in December 2002. During the speech, he complained about bigotry in Canadian society and accused the media of creating racial conflict. When asked by a Star Phoenix (local paper) reporter to clarify his comments, he said the Holocaust was justified.

"How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?" he said. "The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe.” That’s why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God damned world. And look what they're doing. They're killing people in Arab countries."

Now at his trial he has changed his tune more times than Michael Jackson. He has blamed his comments on, among other things: stress, medication, wine from the previous night (I have to remember that one - delayed booze - brilliant) and the reporter (who he claims instigated the comments). On top of all this he has the nerve to finally stand by his comments and say that he is just outspoken.

Ahenakew's comments provoked nationwide outrage and anger (not just from the Jewish community). Ahenakew apologized, but was stripped of his position with the federation (good for them). He does still hold his Order in Canada (although a committee began a review of his membership in the Order of Canada, but put that on hold when the criminal case began.).

Now comes these words of wisdom from Roseau River Reserve Chief Terrance Nelson. All the media coverage of David Ahenakew's hate trial will increase aboriginals' hatred of Jews and make the former leader of the Assembly of First Nations a martyr. What? But his brilliance didn't end there.

Nelson went on to say that "Jews control Canadian media and ignore First Nations issues." In the letter to the Winnipeg Free Press, Nelson singled out CanWest Global Communications; its owners, Winnipeg's Asper family; and their newspaper, the National Post as "the voice of Jews." Nelson concluded with this allegation. "Articles appear regularly in newspapers filled with hatred of natives." "Will there be a dramatic rise in hatred of Jews amongst native people? As a chief, I say 'yes there will be.'"

To be fair to Chief Nelson, he also indicated that he doesn’t agree with Ahenakew views. Nelson says he will not condemn Ahenakew but calls him a "frustrated [and] angry" old man looking for a scapegoat. Stop the insanity! Why keep the excuses rolling? Maybe somebody should have realized this before they kept this goon in a leadership role. For their part, the B'nai Brith League for Human Rights is not amused. They have demanded the Roseau River band fire Nelson.

The third ring in this circus belongs to Saskatchewan federation vice-chief Lawrence Joseph. When Joseph took the stand for the Ahenakew trial, he told the court Ahenakew is an "honest, committed person," whose life has been terribly affected by the charges. Larry, this is the understatement of the year!

Joseph went on to suggest that the reporter in the case was unprofessional and unwilling to respect the federation's media strategy." Ce Qui? I think something was lost in translation. Joseph concluded with this nugget. The reporter did not report our stories to the benefit of First Nations people. "As a vice-chief, I had no use for him."

The whole Ahenakew case is eerily similar to another black-eye in Saskatoon. I, of course, am referring to the Dr.Jim Pankiw circus. You will remember this piece of work as a former Reform MP (two-terms so he is getting full pension - send your thank-you cards to the fine folks of Saskatoon Humboldt) and former candidate for Saskatoon's Mayor (he finished higher than the former sitting mayor).

Flashback - A pamphlet is sent out by the (then) Saskatoon-Humboldt MP to constituents in 2002. Entitled "Stop Indian Crime," the pamphlet states that Native people are disproportionately represented in the justice system because Native people commit more crimes. Pankiw goes on to say that political correctness has prevented anyone from stating this "fact" and Natives, instead, are given a "get-out-of-jail-card" through section 718.2 (e) of the Criminal Code of Canada which allows judges to not sentence some Aboriginal offenders to periods of incarceration because of social circumstances they may be faced with.

The back cover of the pamphlet displayed the famous photo of a Mohawk Warrior face to face with a Canadian soldier. Pankiw's caption under that photo: "Indian terrorist confronts Canadian soldier at Oka, 1990." It is fair to say this was just one of the reasons this clown was not offered a spot in the Conservative caucus.

The pamphlet paid for with your tax dollars, prompted Canada Post employees to picket the MP's constituency office because they did not want to have deliver what they considered offensive material. Neither rain, nor snow.. nevermind.

Pankiw also went on to pick a fight with the President of the University of Saskatchewan over what he deemed to be racist admission policies (particularly in the college of law he claimed - ironic given his above beef) Finally he rested after locking horns with City of Saskatoon over their hiring policy. Oh ya, he claimed that was racist too.

Individuals like Ahenakew, Pankiw and Nelson are setting back race relations in the prairies about 20 years every time they open their mouth. I say let's throw them in a house together and film the next episode of the Surreal Life.

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