Chrétien comments show that being out of touch is a feature of the Liberal Party

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Josh Kaye

Josh is the main author of Northern Currents – A Leftist perspective on Canadian politics. Josh is an electrician of 10 years and has been interested in radical politics for even longer. Follow on Twitter at @ncjoshkaye.

A recent Hill Times article had an illuminating claim in which Liberal Party MP’s are demanding “an explanation from the leadership and the party headquarters about why the party failed to win a majority for the second time in a row.”

The answer is becoming increasingly clear. The Liberal Party is out of touch with the needs of working-class and Indigenous people. More and more people are realizing this as time goes on.

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Photo: CBC

Never mind the fact that Justin Trudeau called an election during a pandemic. Or that there are still no plans to implement universal pharmacare or dental care. Reconciliation is nowhere to be found. The Liberals are uninspiring, elitist, and stagnant. They are not a progressive party. The younger generation in Canada is becoming increasingly attuned to this stagnation, turning to other parties for inspiration.

This is not new, either. Given the recent comments of former Prime Minister and Minister of the (previously named) Indian Affairs, Jean Chrétien, this out-of-touchness seems to be Liberal Party standard operating procedure.


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Chrétien made a series of horrific claims – horrific in most part because of the fact that he held both the office of PM and the ministry devoted to administering Canada’s apartheid system of the Indian Act – the first about being unaware of abuse in Canada’s residential schools. This is despite the CBC reporting:

A cursory look at the historical record reveals that while Chrétien was minister, his department received at least four reports outlining allegations of abuse and mistreatment of children at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, which operated in the Fort Albany First Nation, along Ontario’s James Bay coast.

This made the waves on social media. Chrétien then went on to compare his experience with a boarding school, to being in a residential school. Keep in mind that the entire point of the residential school system was the elimination of an entire race of people. Out of touch, much?

And it gets worse. The cherry on top of this debacle was his insistence that he had tried to improve the lives of Indigenous by adopting an Indigenous child himself. “I even adopted an Indigenous son, to lead by example,” he said. “This proves my investment in this issue.”


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Some on Twitter have likened this to the 60’s scoop, in which Indigenous children were removed from their communities and placed in the child welfare system, and then adopted into white families. This was described by the Truth and Reconciliation as being part of the harmful legacy of colonization. Indigenous activists such as Pam Palmater have been calling on the federal government to finally reform the child welfare system by putting child welfare in the hands of Indigenous communities themselves.

All this just goes to show that the Liberal Party has always been out of touch with many communities that reside within the borders of Canada. It’s time for some real, progressive change.

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