Canada’s dealings with First Nations unfair: former INAC deputy minister

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APTN National News
The Idle No More movement has led Scott Serson to rethink his time as deputy minister of Indian Affairs.

“This has shaken my faith in our system. Our dealings with First Nations because I feel fundamentally it is not fair,” said Serson.

Serson served as deputy minister of Indian Affairs from 1995 to 1999.

Now watching from the sidelines, he’s appalled by the coverage of Idle No More movement, particularly the way politicians are handling it and the way Canadians are reacting.

“Not the government, opposition MPs; nobody seems to be willing to look at the basic unfairness of the current situation,” he said.

Serson said the unfairness is rooted in money.

In 1996, as a way to address the deficit, the Liberal government at the time imposed a 2 per cent cap on money transfers to First Nations.

Despite reaching a surplus, that in some years reached $12 billion dollars, that cap was never lifted.

APTN National News reporter Nigel Newlove has the complete story.

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  • helen

    Whats he talking about he’s part of this oppression ; he worked for the Government and knew how terrible First Nations are treated Oppressed for 150 years; Silence is a War Crime. Why didn’t it shake his faith in the system while he was collecting money. All are guilty for this we have no human rights.

    • http://www.facebook.com/teresa.littlejohn.3 Teresa Littlejohn

      yes i agree with you but at least hes speaking up now but i think when these ministers are in the govt they choose to tow the line for the govt and not say anything afterall they dont have to live like that

  • Reid Gilker

    50% of Canadians don’t approve of IdleNoMore, which also translates to 50% Do Approve of IdleNoMore. So in reality there is a larger approval rate for IdleNoMore than the mere 38% of voter support that Stephen Harper claimed a majority government with.


  • Marie Lloyd

    This man who was at the heart of government policy has come clean with a statement that dealings with First Nations have been fundamentally not fair. And people are surprised by Idle No More!??

  • http://www.facebook.com/Creewoman2011 Michelle Sanderson

    Another Paul Martin, well why didn’t you do something when you had the power to do it, was the money so good? Bullying is only as effective as the silence of the audience.

  • jill0122

    The only way to correct this is to move/integrate the FN back into society. Throwing money back into a society where drugs, alcohol and suicide prevail, and corrupt Chief and councils and crooked Indian Affairs “consultants” steal the bulk; is not the solution. I do not support the INM movement as it seems to support everything dysfunctional about the FN’s people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cindyanne.roberts CindyAnne Roberts

      you mean assimilate and it didn’t work…do you remember residentisl schools? jill122

      • http://www.facebook.com/teresa.littlejohn.3 Teresa Littlejohn

        exactally they have no clue and alot of them dont care about our chldren who were tortured and murdered in those “schools” i dont think of them as schools more like extermination camps. They dont care their children were safe the luxury of being born white in canada and that sounds harsh but thats the truth.

      • jill0122

        Were other children pulled away from their families to go to a school where they never saw them for months? That is not assimilation, that was an even more corrupt mini reserve. My mom was a “Bohunk” (Czech) , and she went to school with Ukrainians, Italians, Scottish and English. Even though she was at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole, the kids learned to get along. By grade 10, race rarely raised its ugly head. If that had been done with the FN’s 100 years ago, they would be like the Japanese; accepted by most. Those who are still racist are shunned by most of the rest of us. The FN’s may be starting late, but racist attitudes are vastly improving. Time for change.

    • http://twitter.com/Shannondd66 Shannon

      But your making the assumption that ALL Chiefs and FN societies, meaning FN peoples are addicts and kill themselves. That is not fair nor it is right. I know there are just as corrupt Mayors and Premiers and PMs that are just as corrupt or worse and those societies have addicts and suicide as well so under your assumption we the Prov Gov’t should stop funding the towns/cities and the Fed Gov’t should stop funding the provinces, now does that make any sense at all? Because that is what you are saying by painting an entire ethnic group with one brush.

      Please research what you are not supporting and you’ll see that this movement is the most important movement Canada has ever seen and it is just not about FN its about you and yours too.

      • jill0122

        I’m absolutely NOT saying All Chiefs and FN are addicts; I know some FN’s that have been able to come out of a reserve who is plagued by drugs, alcohol, monetary corruption and suicide, and are very successful. And yes, I’m definitely saying that throwing MORE money into a broken reserve, will do no good. The Chief from Osoyoos took a bankrupt reserve and made it prosper. Obviously the geography made it possible to rectify things easier, but the entire mindset of the people was critical as well. I’m not saying funding should stop, but this model is broken and is breaking many FN people. See, I don’t see FN’s differently than “you and yours”; we are all Canadian. The travesty that segregation on reserves has rendered has to end, it is too destructive in sooo many ways.I haven’t a clue what INM really supports, as it is different every time someone speaks. btw, corrupt Mayors, Premiers and MP’s, often lose their jobs when exposed, and when the corruption is illegal; they’re criminally charged and have even gone to jail. The funding is not for the politicians, it’s for the people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelly-Masterson/568392465 Kelly Masterson

      Ummmm… How many First Nations people do you actually know? You’re basing your assumptions on rhetoric. Did a little deeper jill… LOL

    • http://www.facebook.com/teresa.littlejohn.3 Teresa Littlejohn

      why dont yoy assimilate back to europe you think thats the answer to always destroy anything and everything different from the settler society

    • http://www.facebook.com/teresa.littlejohn.3 Teresa Littlejohn

      And i dont support the dominant settler society who thinks they are superior and the need they have to destroy cultures. Is it becausethey have a lack of culture? talk about corrupt this country was built on stealing and genocide and this idea of assimilation as never changed since settlers thought they were superior.

  • Dean0101

    Shannon, I would even begin to interpret jill0122’s comment as “lumping” or “generalizing” all FN with these issues. What she’s getting at is that idle No More seems to only point the finger in pone direction and that’s at the Canadian government. Where is INM’s criticism of corrupt band councils and chiefs? When if ever have they admitted that there are problems with drugs and alcohol on many native reserves? What proposals have they brought forward to deal with gross mismanagement of funds given to FN’s?

    FN’s need to step up and admit there are problems on their end and attempt to be part of the solution before they will ever be able elicit enough support from average Canadians to make a difference. To date the only message many Canadians are hearing is that FN’s want more money, is that what INM stands for? I don’t believe it is but INM is not being effective in getting any other message across. Many people do not know what INM stands including me. What are the goals of INM? What do you want changed? What are your demands? Most average Canadians like myself would agree that the members INM don’t even know themselves.

  • Alice Wuttunee

    I read a post a couple of weeks ago about the Revenue collected by the Feds from First Nations resources. It also said that the interest on the Revenue collected has reached in the billions. This revenue is what First Nations have made from their lands and resources and its given back to First Nations in terms of Capital dollars and other funding such as Education, Health to name a few areas. Now what are Canadians crying about when they say its their tax dollars being(that Ottawa has mandatory collected) used to fund First Nations government and its infrastructure. As it stands now what the Indian Act has implemented that First Nations cannot develop their own resources, all revenue needs to go to Ottawa where the money is kept for them, Can someone expand on this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelly-Masterson/568392465 Kelly Masterson

    The poll was done by IsposReid… a rather right-leaning company… Tells harper what he wants to hear… I would take the 50/50 with a huge grain of salt… Sun Media also counts on them for their opinions… Nuff Said… hehehehehe

  • grandmommy10

    Scott Serson was as good a Deputy Minister as there was/is. He was beloved by staff, throughout INAC. As well, he was respected and highly regarded and, – most importantly – TRUSTED by First Nations. There has never been another Scott Serson in the senior ranks. He was a unique, principled and dedicated senior public servant. I was privileged to work with him.