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Commentary: The finest compliment you can pay

For such a genocidal country we’re a remarkably decent sort, here in Canada.
Nelson Chris web
Chris Nelson is a syndicated columnist.

For such a genocidal country we’re a remarkably decent sort, here in Canada.

Oh, you might have forgotten that we’re globally tagged as such? And by none other than this country’s own garrulous and gung-ho prime minister, who agreed a while back that Canada’s practicing on-going genocide in regards to its Indigenous population.

Now most of us are used to Justin Trudeau’s virtue signaling at every opportunity, even if, by doing so, he glibly besmirches the hard-earned, global reputation of the very country he’s supposed to lead and defend. 

But while some of us just rolled our tired eyes on initially hearing this simplistic gutting of the very name Canada - following the exhaustive inquiry and subsequent report into murdered and missing Indigenous women - others across the world likely didn’t understand the true motives behind such a damning accusation: that being to polish Trudeau’s woke image. 

So, as to these apparent genocidal tendencies: if that description was even remotely accurate then it would be strange indeed that nobody has raised much of a fuss about the relatively generous distribution of COVID vaccines to the various northern regions of our country or indeed, closer to home in Alberta, the preferential treatment Indigenous folk have received when it comes to a lower age bar to qualify for a jab?

The current rate of vaccination in the Yukon now stands at 117 jabs delivered per 100 people (it takes two doses, remember), 107 in the Northwest Territories, and 74 in Nunavut. The comparative rate in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, hovers close to the 45 mark.

That large difference arises because those predominantly indigenously populated territories were given a relatively large delivery of vaccines as soon as this national immunization program kicked off. 

So, if you actually were daft enough to believe this genocide slur, then ask yourself why a country guilty of such an odious practice would be allowing those very people it supposedly wants to eliminate to get a life-saving jab quicker than other Canadians? 

And has this preferential treatment caused any grim gnashing of teeth, any furious furrowing of badly bothered brows or heartfelt cries of reverse discrimination? Or merely even suggestions to curb this northward flow of life-saving vaccines, so some other area can catch up a tad?

Nope. People have accepted this as the right thing to do. Living North of 60 or on a reserve in Alberta comes with some harsh challenges and, having a pandemic sweep through, would multiple those problems tenfold.

So, despite people fearing their own lives could be in jeopardy they nevertheless quietly accepted that the folk in the North should get preferential treatment. Perhaps they realize that great wild expanse is, at its core, what makes this country different: the bitter winter cold, the amazing Arctic summers and the very people who, for generations have lived and survived there.

We also remember that those people paid a heavy price with the initial arrival of Europeans who brought with them diseases previously unknown on this continent for which no vaccines were available. 

Today’s reaction in providing early vaccines doesn’t change history but it does show that the rest of Canada isn’t filled with insensitive blowhards or, heaven help us, genocidal lunatics. 

So perhaps those who are so keen to think the worst of regular people across this great land, might stop their endless hectoring for a moment and consider this: that we gladly stood aside and said: You first. Your need is greater.

That is the sign of a decent country and while decency isn’t in vogue so much these days it nevertheless remains about the finest compliment you can pay to a nation.

Chris Nelson is a syndicated columnist.