Third World Canada Essay

Submitted By frank313131
Words: 849
Pages: 4

There is considerable evidence, both quantitatively and qualitatively illuminating that, “The living situations, health conditions and social deprivation of many Canadian Natives are abysmal even by Third World standards” (Mate, 2008, p. 263) prompting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, Professor James Anaya, to articulate:

From all I have learned, I can only conclude that Canada faces a crisis when it comes to the situation of Indigenous peoples of the country. The well-being gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada has not narrowed over the last several years, treaty and Aboriginals claims remain persistently unresolved, and overall there appear to be high levels of distrust among aboriginal peoples toward government at both the federal and provincial levels (para. 5),

following his October 2013, 9 day visit to Canada. As such, the crisis and conditions depicted in Cazabon’s documentary, 3rd World Canada, can be considered an accurate portrayal of life on many First Nation Reservations in Canada.

In Canada, “Housing quality varies widely from reserve-to-reserve and even within reserves” (Jones & Sprague, 2014). However, as Cazabon’s documentary illustrated, on Northern Ontario’s Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, there was a reported waiting list of 200 names with a reported budget supporting the construction of a maximum of 3 to 4 homes per year. Anaya (2013), reported “at least one in five Aboriginal Canadians live in homes in need of serious repair, which are often also overcrowded and contaminated with mould” (para. 6). The overcrowding and multiple individuals sharing the same room depicted in Cazabon’s film and reported by Anaya is consistent with this writer’s personal experiences working on and visiting a number of reservations in Southern and Central Alberta, in the past 10 years. During this same time period, funding disparities between services available to other Canadians and those living on reservations, have been consistently noted by Canada’s Auditor General (Anaya, 2013). Canada’s Human Rights Commission has repeatedly identified the conditions of the country’s Aboriginal peoples as its greatest human rights problem. The list of problems faced by Aboriginal people in Canada is exhaustive. In 2012, Health Canada reported that 112 First Nations communities were under boil water advisories leaving them with little or no access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. At the same time, 20% of First Nation adults reported a lack of access to a doctor or nurse where they lived. Additional problems, less exclusive to the quality of life on reservations are equally well documented and equally catastrophic. Nearly 40% of Aboriginal children, not living on reservations live in poverty and only one in four of all aboriginal children graduate high school. Part of this latter statistic can be explained by the fact that many of these children will not live to graduation age. Suicide rates among First Nation youth are five to six times higher compared to non-First Nation youth. Compared to Non-First Nations, Canada’s First Nations have a higher frequency of numerous physical health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc. In addition, Aboriginal Canadian’s are significantly overrepresented in the country’s prisons. Jones & Sprague (2014) reported that despite making up only 4% of Canada’s entire population, Aboriginals make up nearly 20% of those in the country’s federal prisons. Higher rates of