He mentioned the unmentionable. Jean Chrétien—the former prime minister and former minister of what was once called “Indian Affairs”—suggested that one solution the tragic situation in Attawapiskat might be to move the community. He argued that isolated communities might never be economically viable. “There is no economic base there for having jobs and so on,” he said on Tuesday, “and sometimes they have to move, like anybody else.”
It is an explosive suggestion that some see as a legacy of the thinking that led to the residential school policy. Others see it as simply the hard truth we can’t ignore. Does it make sense to ask or is it an antagonistic idea?